President Alien

President Alien

4.0 1
by Yerba Buena
Satisfying the hunger for Latin dance music that's neither mired in the past nor emasculated by slick pop fashion, New York's Yerba Buena are nothing less than the blueprint for post-salsa. The collective, helmed by producer Andres Levin (Los Amigos Invisibles, Arto Lindsay,


Satisfying the hunger for Latin dance music that's neither mired in the past nor emasculated by slick pop fashion, New York's Yerba Buena are nothing less than the blueprint for post-salsa. The collective, helmed by producer Andres Levin (Los Amigos Invisibles, Arto Lindsay, Red Hot + Riot) has enough secret weapons to worry the U.N. Security Council. Start with lead vocalist Xiomara Laugart, who combines the fire of a house diva with fierce Afro-Cuban authenticity; factor in brawny saxophonist Ron Blake; Levin's production smarts; and a raft of guests, including guitarist Marc Ribot, drummer Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez, percussionist Carlinhos Brown, Meshell Ndegeocello, and many others. Punching up the Afro-Cuban root of hard-charging salsa (lots of chants to the orishas and ferocious rumba percussion) adding rapid-fire rap plus the occasional dancehall reggae riddim, Levin's band is a New York answer to the explosive sound of Cuba's contemporary dance music, timba. But unlike Bamboleo or Los Van Van, Yerba Buena don't waste time with drippy salsa monga intros -- bilingual tracks like "La Gringa," "Wassamatter Baby?," and "Definition of a Warrior" cut to the chase. The beyond-credible soloing and singing will captivate fans of salsa's glory days, especially those open-minded enough to appreciate Yerba Buena's mix of Colombian rhythms, Afro-beat, and reggae. That challenge -- to push the music forward without watering it down -- is forcefully answered on President Alien. When the best thing going in salsa dura in years has been music that hearkens to the past, the arrival of a new musical vision couldn't be more welcome.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - John Bush
Yerba Buena, a Latin/urban fusion project spearheaded by Andres Levin (who's worked with crossover artists ranging from Arto Lindsay to Tia Carrere), isn't too much more than the sum of its parts. Fortunately, however, those parts are certainly astonishing enough to create a breathtaking record capable of hooking fans from some wide-ranging styles: hip-hop, trance, R&B, and of course, Latin music. Comprised mostly of Cubans or natives of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Yerba Buena has a command over Latin forms that erases national boundaries and pulverizes time constraints -- moving deftly from guajira to salsa to son, they're also perfectly adept at incorporating the music of the American street circa 2003 into forms more familiar to farmers in Cuban fields circa 1939. The open-ended character of the jam "Guajira" permits vocals from a traditional Latin chorus as well as nods to urban radio. Lead diva Xiomara Laugart melds house music and salsa with all the power and energy of la India, while rapper el Chino fills in with some solid rhymes and a few party-vocal asides. The band is perfectly fluent and a powerhouse unit, while the roster of guests is startling in its variety -- Carlinhos Brown, Bobby Valentin, Me'Shell NdegéOcello, Money Mark, Marc Ribot, and Roy Hargrove, among many others. In essence, Yerba Buena is simply pulling the same trick that boogaloo popsters and salsafied funksters did during the '60s and '70s (respectively), updating Latin music with touches to intrigue listeners who wouldn't normally be listening to it. In that, they're tremendously successful.
Village Voice
Yerba Buena prescribes massive doses of Afro-Cuban beatdowns that massage the soul and blister the feet.

Product Details

Release Date:
Razor & Tie


Album Credits

Performance Credits

Yerba Buena   Primary Artist
Roy Hargrove   Trumpet
Brian Lynch   Trumpet
Marc Ribot   Tres
Dave Valentin   Flute
Ron Blake   Baritone Saxophone,Soprano Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Carlinhos Brown   Timbales,Vocals
David Fiuczynski   Electric Guitar,Cumbus
Horacio "El Negro" Hernández   Drums,Vocals,cowbell
Andres Levin   Guitar,Keyboards,Vocals,Background Vocals,Slide Guitar,farfisa organ,Synthesizer Bass
Money Mark   Wah Wah Clavinet
Sebastian Steinberg   Banjo,Bass,Guitar,Vocals
Ahmed Barroso   Acoustic Guitar,Background Vocals,Tres,wah wah guitar
Andy Gonzales   Ampeg Baby Bass
Pedro Martinez   Percussion,Conga,Drums,Vocals,Background Vocals,Bells,Bata,Rattle
Dafnis Prieto   Drums,Timbales
Yosvany Terry   Organ,Alto Saxophone
Avi Lebovich   Trombone
John Schmersal   Background Vocals
Tosin Aribisala   Drums
Xiomara Laugart   Vocals,Chant
Terreon Gully   Drums
Descemer Bueno   Guitar,Background Vocals,Tres
Rashawn Ross   Trumpet,Vocals,Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Ron Blake   Horn Arrangements
John Carlin   Executive Producer
Andres Levin   Composer,Programming,Producer,Engineer,Executive Producer,Horn Arrangements
E.J. Rodriguez   Composer
Sebastian Steinberg   Noise Reduction
Ahmed Barroso   Arranger
Matt Wells   Radio Sound Effects
Rafael Torres   Composer
Alex Mosquera   Composer
Soul Fingers   drum programming
Yosvany Terry   Horn Arrangements
Descemer Bueno   Arranger,Composer,Horn Arrangements
Rashawn Ross   Horn Arrangements
Kevin Scott   Engineer

Customer Reviews

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President Alien 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just had the opportunity of seeing this band live in S.F. having no idea who or what they were. This is a tour de force group whose musical boundaries are non existent and incorporate all kinds of influence into their Latin based dance rythms. I even heard Klezmer over the pounding,insistent, percussion that is non stop in your ears down to your feet, great. This is no fly by night group of kids raving up a storm. These are accomplished musicians and singers putting forth a very complex set of sounds guaranteed to get your mother's mother out of the wheelchair grinding her hips and waving her arms. This one belongs in any musical collection.