La Semilla Escondida

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Mark Schwartz
When his band of border-crossing hooligans burst onto the Parisian music scene in the mid-'90s, Bruno "Sergent" Garcia was little more than a poor man's Mano Negra: Latin breaks, speed-freak ska, nasal ragamuffin rhymes in Spanish and French, vaguely revolutionary agitprop. But in the intervening years, two things happened: Mano Negra broke up, and Garcia's band got really, really good. Their fourth album only one other has been released in the U.S., 1999's Un Poquito Quema'o, La Semilla Escondida takes the gang to the two poles of the Sergent Garcia sound, Jamaica and Cuba, to record with some veterans and soak up the local flavor. The Jamaican sojourn doesn't add ...
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March 9, 2004 CD Very good in very good packaging. Originally released: 2004.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Mark Schwartz
When his band of border-crossing hooligans burst onto the Parisian music scene in the mid-'90s, Bruno "Sergent" Garcia was little more than a poor man's Mano Negra: Latin breaks, speed-freak ska, nasal ragamuffin rhymes in Spanish and French, vaguely revolutionary agitprop. But in the intervening years, two things happened: Mano Negra broke up, and Garcia's band got really, really good. Their fourth album only one other has been released in the U.S., 1999's Un Poquito Quema'o, La Semilla Escondida takes the gang to the two poles of the Sergent Garcia sound, Jamaica and Cuba, to record with some veterans and soak up the local flavor. The Jamaican sojourn doesn't add anything particularly novel to the Sarge's '80s-style dub -- neither keyboardist Tyrone Downey of the Wailers nor the Fire House Crew seem to have challenged Garcia's vision with anything contemporary -- but the music recorded in Cuba shows real maturity. The album kicks in with the burbling funk of timba, the most contemporary Cuban rhythm, betraying the influence on these Frenchmen of Los Van Van and Bamboleo. "El Regreso" is a muscular cha-cha-chá, while "Herencia Africana," obviously enough, begins with sacred batá drumming and settles into a brassy rumba, all the while extolling the African roots of Latin music. Here Garcia's cry "La clave soy yo" I'm the Latin beat rings a little hollow, because musically, he's the weakest link in his band, being merely adequate as singer, rapper, and lyricist. But of course, as visionary and fan, Garcia's energy powers this entire globe-trotting, genre-busting enterprise; like the Beastie Boys, he's a living advertisement for his musical vision. Maybe that enthusiasm is what makes La Semilla such a great party album -- it's hard to resist a pitchman this committed, especially when the grooves are this infectious.
All Music Guide - Adam Greenberg
La Semilla Escondida is the third album from French fusionist Sergent Garcia, the title referring to the "hidden seed" of reggae that infuses the whole of the work. Garcia's style of choice is what he's termed "salsamuffin," a melding of Cuban and Jamaican forms primarily salsa and ragamuffin, but including aspects of hip-hop, jazz, son, ska, and more. Underlying nearly all of the pieces is a bouncing reggae guitar loop of sorts, often with a loping beat to boot. Garcia and his band perform some quite worthwhile salsa and reggae both, switching flawlessly from Spanish to English to French as the tone calls for. More interesting, though, is the intermixing of the Cuban and Jamaican idioms. The reggae beat is always present, but Cuban percussion motifs are common as well. The large brass section capably plays ska riffs and hot Cuban concepts equally well, but often within the countering style ska riffs in what's otherwise a piece of son, Cuban flamboyance in an otherwise subdued bit of reggae dub. The album opens musically with some basic raga, moving then into a mix of Cuban and Jamaican, followed in turn by some Latin jazz complete with a flute loop in "El Asalto." "Mi Ultima Voluntad" moves between a salsa singing style, Spanish hip-hop, and a laid-back reggae keyboard. Moving through some more straightforward reggae, the band eventually makes their way into a mix of classic cha cha and Latin rap in "El Regreso," and to some degree in "Nada Tiene Final," as well. More straightforward ska follows closely on the heels of this, followed soon itself by some percussion and chanting in "Tu No Sabes Na'" that sounds reminiscent of the nyabinghi drumming tradition pre-Rasta. Some more ska infusion can be heard in "Poetas," and "Viva la Felicidad" takes a stab at encompassing all of the component sounds as it closes out the album. From end to end, the album makes an impressive attempt at fusing some only slightly-related musical traditions, and does so with surprisingly good results. For anyone getting tired of the same basic reggae structures, or curious about how Cuban music could be added to other idioms, this album is the way to go. For those just looking for an enjoyable listen, it's a pretty good choice too.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/9/2004
  • Label: Narada
  • UPC: 724359835624
  • Catalog Number: 98356

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Que Me Pongan Donde Hay (Intro) (1:47)
  2. 2 Long Time - The Bionik Men (4:00)
  3. 3 Revolucion (3:50)
  4. 4 El Asalto (6:55)
  5. 5 Mi Ultima Voluntad (Tonite) (4:25)
  6. 6 L' Equilibre Est Fragile (5:07)
  7. 7 El Regreso (8:56)
  8. 8 Nada Tiene Final (5:02)
  9. 9 Que Corra la Voz (4:16)
  10. 10 Herencia Africana (3:28)
  11. 11 Yo Se Que Te Gusta! (4:37)
  12. 12 Tu No Sabes Na' (3:56)
  13. 13 Poetas (3:29)
  14. 14 Viva la Felicidad (2:56)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Sergent Garcia Primary Artist
Paul Crosdale Guitar
Donald Dennis Bass
Tyrone Downie Keyboards, Musician
Balbino Guitar, Background Vocals
Rohan Dwyer Musician
Tanya Stephens Vocals
Alphanso Craig Percussion, Musician
Bruno Garcia Musician
Sylvain Taillet Musician
David Aubaile Flute
Julien "El Presi" Charlet Drums
Juan Francisco Darroman Castellano Tres
François Coplin Percussion
Alexander Ferrer DelValle Piano, Keyboards
Dorelgis Renes Despaignes Trombone
Ivan Cribe Ferrer Bass
Alberto Castellanos Figueroa Conga
Kemmuel "Rahorne" Foster Vocals
Arnaldo Gonzalez Garcia Trombone
Pedro Enrique Montero Lopez Drums
Juan Bauste Gramda Percussion, Quinto
Hector "Mr Caramelo" Guilbeaux Background Vocals
Roberto Gomez "El Duende" Guilbeaux Background Vocals
Magda Rafaela Garcia Guzman Background Vocals
Silvio Bell Hechavarria Percussion
Technical Credits
Tyrone Downie Producer
Tanya Stephens Composer
Bruno Garcia Composer, Producer
Sylvain Taillet Executive Producer
Lionel Green Jr. Mastering
Hector Gomez Guilbeaux Composer
Ivan Cribe Arranger, Brass Arrangment
Marco Damble Engineer
Alexander Ferrer Arranger
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