There are many very cool things about the world wide web. One of my favorites is that a plain old nobody who's got nothing to offer but opinions can find himself getting lots of unsolicited free stuff (not just offers to enlarge my penis, but actual goods and services worth money, like CDs). Los Niños de Sara were kind enough to send me their latest disc, Gipsyolé, in return for spending a few minutes writing about it.
   Despite my utter ignorance of Caribbean music (my main exposure has been via Kirsty MacColl records), if Los Niños de Sara want my opinion, I'm glad to give it out. Gipsyolé (all these diacritical marks make me acutely aware of how unfriendly HTML is to people who write in languages other than English) is an utter delight. The four cousins who constitute Los Niños de Sara build an impressive blend of various rhythms, Spanish flamenco guitar, and passionate singing. Highlights are "La Cubanita" with a witty horn line that establishes the main theme, countered by a striding piano that fills that cracks between a thumping disco-esque bass drum, "Mizai Mizai" with a mournful melody that sounds vaguely Arabian, and a subtle guitar accompaniment, "Somos Gitanos" which swings gently but has a heck of a melody, and "Una Muchacha" which has another great horn line. I don't understand a word they're singing, but the rhythms are so infectious I can't avoid tapping my toes. Other tracks, especially the ballads, don't grab me quite as much, but they're all well-done with fine production that does a great job of capturing the subtleties of the percussion and a bright, clear horn sound.
   I don't know where Los Niños de Sara stand in the world of Caribbean music, whether they're traditionalists or in the vanguard of Caribbean-disco fusion. But this is a very enjoyable record and it has piqued my interest in Caribbean music. I'll be heading down to the library this weekend to see what else I can find.
   If you're interested in Los Niños de Sara, please check out their website.

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