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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Siembra

Willie Colón & Rubén Blades

1978

Wikipedia

Siembra

Rating

3.27

Votes

3229

Reviews

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5

9/10. I like salsa music, but not usually enough that I can sit through 42 minutes of listening to it fairly actively. This had a lot more variety of sound than I am used to hearing in salsa, which is no doubt biased by me listening more closely to this, but still a very enjoyable album.

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5

I've never really listened to salsa before, but holy fuck. Throw me a bag of tortilla chips because this was delicious.

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5

Je ne vous cache pas que je ne m'attendais pas, en lançant cet album, à accorder la note maximale, vous connaissez ma réputation. Trêves de plaisanteries, aujourd'hui je vous propose un petit quizz. Pour jouer c'est très simple, il vous suffit de répondre à la question suivante. Où ai-je rencontré le père de robpellemèle? Reponse A: Il est venu chercher rob à l'école après notre cours de Krautrock pour l'ammener à son cours de salsa. Reponse B: Nous nous sommes rencontrés lors d'un concert de Jethro Tull, après avoir apprécie ensemble le solo d'Aqualung. Réponse C: Le père de rob était en fait notre professeur de rock psychédèlique en classe de 4ème world. Pour jouer rien de plus simple, je vous invite à poster votre réponse sous la review de l'album de votre choix.

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4

There are many excellent things about this album. The musicianship and production are clean and tight and the vocal delivery is energetic. I'm not terribly knowledgeable about salsa, but I was struck by the complexity of the harmonies and arrangement. Some of the bass work in particular was incredible. Overall, a great album that makes me want to learn about the various styles of Latin American music

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4

I enjoyed this far more than I thought I would. Couldn't help but dance while listening. The songs flowed really nicely and the music itself was punchy yet not too in your face. Hasn't won my heart yet but definitely a good album

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4

It’s a samba party and everyone’s invited!

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5

sooo good, stellar musicianship and the brass section is fantastic. Some of the songs are really long but I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing given that it’s meant to be danced to. Lyrics were poetic and beautiful and even funny at times, and they’re sung with so much flair. 10/10, need to dance to this sometime

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5

oooh salsa baby. yeah this was great. impeccable vibes and each song was different from the last. mwah

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5

This was a surprisingly incredible album with ballads, bops, and even a banger or two.

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5

I was really surprised by liking this album as much as I did. I have never cared about Salsa in any sort of way, but this just sounded really good. It seems like it mus have been a blueprint for pretty much anything that was good about any Salsa album ever released after this one. It was a joy to listen to and sort of half-dance around in my chair while working (maybe this one is better for remote work than at the office though).

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5

Fantastic Salsa. Really enjoyable. Makes me realize I need to seek out more of this style.

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5

Thanks for this. What a magnificent album.

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5

I love Hector Lavoe so this was right up my alley. That's mainly why I like it, not necessarily because of specific songs (though the first one is a banger), but because of the overall sound. It's the kind my mom will let me play out loud in the house lol.

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5

I like to hear more of this music but rock n roll of some bands that were rubbish.

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5

Excelente

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5

Lush and beautiful

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5

PR

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5

Fun to listen to, great for cooking to!

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5

Me encanta.

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5

What a great album. Great vocals, lush instrumentation, catchy little rifts throughout. Each song feels so warm and sends me right back to a beach in Mexico. 9/10

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5

plástico é um dos pontos altos do álbum, amei a fusão salsa/disco e realmente, "salsa intelectual" 💯

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5

meu paiero virou um charuto ayyyyyyyyy

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5

I love a good horn section, and the horns here are INCREDIBLE. The musicianship is off the charts all the way around, and the storytelling is rich and clever to boot. I enjoyed the sarcastic West Side Story reference. Best track: Pedro Navaja

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5

Great! Lots of uptempo jazz and Latin fusion, hard to listen to and not want to dance!

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5

Yeeeeeees, this is my jam. 9.5/10.

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5

Latin music is God-sent!

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5

Cuban dance vibes

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5

Solid album

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4

Really funky and interesting, my main issue is that each song is really long and it’s a little samey. 8

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4

This was a perfectly pleasant listen. I'll freely admit I'm not at all knowledgable about salsa music, so this struck me as being kinda generic salsa, but after seeing on wikipedia that this is the best selling salsa record in history, I guess it's genre founding rather than generic! Fave track - "Pedro Navaja" - I like the slow build up and shout outs to other tunes!

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4

bell'album di salsa

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4

Mellow and happy.

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4

I don't speak any Spanish, so I can't comment on the lyrics, but the music is fun and full of energy. Had me moving in my work chair.

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4

A really invigorating salsa album!! This is probably one of the best salsa albums I've heard in general, it's really great!

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4

Great salsa album

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4

Good for background music at a restaurant or something, but not something I'd ever go out of my way to listen to

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4

We've had a handful of Latin jazz-y albums by now, enough where it can be difficult to differentiate. But this one is probably my favorite so far. Very vibrant, very danceable. A good time start to finish. I guess that's to be expected from a salsa album; I can hear the difference, but I'm not very knowledgeable. Regardless, this was a great listen. Fantastic instrument work, especially the percussion. I can see why this was such a smash hit. Favorite tracks: Buscando Guayaba, Pedro Navaja, Siembra, Plastico. Album art: The flowery border is cool, but the baby pictures just feel out of place. Doesn't seem '70s at all, let alone salsa music. Seems more like an Anne Geddes throwaway. Confusing, but I don't hate it. 4.5/5

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4

Boy was this a fun album to listen to! I love any Musica Tropical (according to apple music) that gets me on my feet to dance. Maria Lionza was particularly interesting to me because I swear I remember some cartoon movie where a character was listening or humming to some music saying "bing bing bing bing" (not crazy frog) that was very similar to them doing that in the song (This morning I thought more and I think its the chiwawa in Oliver and Company) . Not sure what those babies are doing on the cover and kind of surprised that none of them seem to be having a good time. Maybe they are seeds that were siembra'd in the field of flowers on the cover. Very strange but adds to the mystique of this album. This might be one of the best weeks of the year so far in terms of banger albums. FYI my Frank Sinatra yesterday was meant to be a 5.

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4

Fun album! Not my go-to, but fun to listen to salsa every once and a while.

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4

Great latin jazz tracks with a real drive to them.

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4

Cool South American salsa vibess..

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4

This was a nice groovy salsa album. I liked the disco vibes at the very beginning and was a little bit let down that it didn't continue through the rest of it. Still, a very solid album and one that I think I'm going to come back and listen to again.

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4

This was an unexpected joy. Plenty of variation across the piece. Rhythm for the dancing.

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4

Was listening to this spicy Spanish music in the car with Alexa!

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4

i'm dancing over here

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4

Enjoyable throughout

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4

Good fun. A little disco in the mix too. Muy bueno!

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4

Siembra by Rubén Blades and Willie Colón (1978) Este es un álbum verdaderamente fascinante. Uno normalmente no asocia la música salsa con profundas advertencias filosóficas contra la pobreza del materialismo, pero observe esto (“Plastico”): Que fallo Era una ciudad de plástico de esas que no quiero ver De edificios cancerosos y un corazón de oropel Donde en vez de un sol amanece un dólar Donde nadie ríe, donde nadie llora Con gente de rostros de poliéster Que escuchan sin oír y miran sin ver Gente que vendió por comodidad Su razón de ser y su libertad Así que si valoras tu libertad y tu « raison d’être », deja de perseguir cosas elegantes. Y este tema se hace eco en la última canción del álbum, "Siembra". Es una maravillosa homilía sobre la virtud de sembrar, plantar y la plenitud de la vida. Acompañado por el simbolismo en la portada del álbum, solo un imbécil perdería el punto. Dios es pro-vida. Así es como nos creó. "Pedro Navaja" es un latín "Mack the Knife", sin los matices socialistas de Berthold Brecht. Es una adaptación muy exitosa de una canción de la "Beggar’s Opera" original de John Gay del siglo XVIII al alemán de la era de Weimar "Die Moritat von Mackie Messer" al español. Qué bien. Agregaré esto a mi colección "Mack the Knife". ¡El antihéroe vive! Y además de letras fascinantes, escuchamos música espléndida. El álbum comienza con un estilo disco deliberadamente irritante, luego se instala rápidamente en salsa de calidad. Hay buenas actuaciones en cuernos, con trombones pesados en la mezcla. Y ritmos de percusión maravillosamente cómodos. No puedes escuchar esto mientras haces algo que requiere que te quedes quieto. 4/5

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4

Probably the first salsa album Iv fully listened too, really enjoyed it, an album I’ll come back to again and again I think. Random comment but the babies on the album cover reminds me of ready to die by Biggie Smalls.

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4

Un dels grans discos històrics del que a nivell global podríem anomenar world music. No només és el lloc on trobar la peça original de 'Pedro Navaja'; altres temes com 'Plástico' o 'Maria Lionza' no difereixen gaire en el seu aroma a clàssics instantanis. De fet, cada un dels set temes és una història en si mateixa, cap d'elles sobra en el disc, que parteix de la salsa per donar-li un contingut més evolucionat del génere, apte per tots els melòmans. Molt a prop de les 5*

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4

Loved it.

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4

sassy fun latino.

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4

salsa

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4

Ces personnes parlent un espagnol absolument impeccable. Je pense qu'on peut le dire à ce stade, c'est du très très grand Baltard récompensé par un bleu de ma part.

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4

Rating: 7/10 Best songs: Maria Lionza

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4

Can't say no to this!

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4

This was super fun! Love salsa music and this didn't disappoint! Great music for working to as it didn't distract me and helped me to be productive and focus. It put me in a great mood and some of the sounds are really cool/unusual.

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4

really fun latin music 4.5

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4

Nice

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4

Great Salsa music that makes you want to dance.

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4

Very cool! I enjoyed it a lot. A hidden gem.

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4

Me llamo Siembra, esta fuego

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4

So fun! Very fresh sound. Interesting chord progressions and rhythm. Great intro into salsa music.

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4

Yea! Wish I had someone to dance with do this album.

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4

Great album. Enjoyed this one

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4

It was about time we had some salsa

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4

but was actually really funky, I really enjoyed that 8/10

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4

This album is a mix of salsa percussion and piano at its finest. The songs build up beautifully and "Pedro Navaja" is a masterpiece.

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4

Mieltä kohentavia rytmejä ja teki mieli tanssia. Mitään hajua mistä lauloivat, mut nautin kovasti

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4

I really enjoyed this. I know nothing about Salsa. I'll have to learn more. Interesting reading about Mack The Knife in various translations too.

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4

Nú er ég enginn salsa maður, og eiginlega alls enginn, en þessi discósalsa rennur mjög ljúflega í mig. Gæti alveg haft þetta í bakgrunni á góðum stundum og jafnvel til að dansa við. Mikið vildi ég samt að fyrsta lagið hefði haldið áfram með byrjunagrúvið í stað þess að fara í sölsuna.

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4

Prefs: Pedro Navaja, Maria Lionza, Ojos, Dime Moins pref: Siembra

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4

2/11/2022 Today's Album: "Siembra" by Willie Colón and Rubén Blades - This is a fantastic Latin album that covers an incredible amount of traditional Latin melodies with great production and excellent performances. Many moments on this record sound so fun, energetic, or eargasmic that it makes me wish I knew how to speak Spanish. The vocals are incredible, many basslines are groovy and danceable, and the chorus melodies are catchy and pleasant to listen to. Lots of exotic percussion and bright trumpets join the rest of the elements to create a really warm and welcoming soundscape. There isn't much else for me to cover as I don't speak Spanish, but suffice it to say this album is a great listen and I enjoyed it from top to bottom. Score: 8 Groovy Highlights: Plastico, Pedro Navaja

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4

Não conhecia nenhum dos artistas deste álbum; ótima introdução! Ao ouvir, me deu vontade de tomar um mojito na praia, com os pés enterrados na areia.

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4

This is what this list is for. I'd never heard of this before and I'd probably have never listened to it otherwise. This is great. I've done only a minimal amount of salsa dancing in my life, but this music makes me want to get up and dance. This is great stuff.

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4

Super album, blijft goed die latin muziek

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4

Funky!

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4

Klasse salsa, rytmisk, opmuntrende, catchy, stemningsfyldt

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4

Perhaps the most danceable album I've come across on this list. Forget language barriers, this transcends all. If this won't get you moving, what will? Favorites: Plástico, Buscando Guayaba, Dime, Siembra.

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4

Didn't listen to all of it but it was very nice.

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4

💃🏼🕺🏾

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4

Banger salsa album

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4

Rubén Blades? The actor? What a fun ride, I don't speak Spanish, so I can't comment on the social commentary aspect of this collaboration. But I do dig salsa music and this spans a range. This Afro-cuban-disco-jazz centric album is a fun listen and I'll definitely revisit. 4/5.

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4

Legoh na kauč i uistinu uživah u albumu, malo koji nepoznati do sad je to uspio.

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4

Ne znam zasto toliko volim tu slasu al ju jednostavno jako volim.

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4

Very fun album

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4

This was dope.

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4

Superb. Continuingly interesting and a joy to listen to.

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4

Excellent!

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4

Really enjoyable Latin salsa. Usually I find this style of music gets pretty same but there was some really nice variations going on. Something to play again when the weather gets hot and it is time to party on the sand

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4

This is one of the best Salsa albums I've ever heard. Now I don't know much about it, but the complexity and musicality are on par with the best I've heard. Great album!

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4

Buen ritmo. Buenas voces. Muy melódico y caribeño.

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4

Very latin, wanted to go swinging

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4

Excellent, not heard of the artists before but it's a beautiful and enjoyable listen.

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4

On this rainy, cold gloomy day, this a much needed ray of sunshine and warmth! Now, I gotta get up and dance, well maybe. Enjoyable!

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4

That was a nice salsa album that I want to check out again. The album cover is good a note giving a hint as to what is about to come & it felt ominous in the first notes this was going to be a heavy disco album…thankfully (for me at least) it wasn’t!

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4

Babies? En español ? Alrighty. The cover is very 70's. Diving in there is an immediate energy and urgency to the music. I tell you what, these guys can play! Unlike the last album I listened to, which was pointlessly complicated, these songs are layered in the best way, with all the different rhythmic and musical and lyrical elements building into a brilliant unified whole. Sometimes funny, sometimes emotional, but always in motion. I want to put on something sexy and dance the night away.

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3

it was alright. not my thing

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3

good if you like this type of thing

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3

Probably the best salsa music I’ve ever heard but I’m not really a fan of salsa

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3

I liked that it was different!

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3

I have never heard of Willie Colón & Rubén Blades before, and all of the music from Siembra was new to me. The album was okay. There wasn't anything in particular that I really liked or disliked. I may not have enough exposure to latinoamerican music to appreciate what is on this album. "Pedro Navaja" was the track that I liked the most, but none of the tracks really caught my attention.

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3

the whole album sounds like it could have been made 5 years ago in terms of sound quality, altough im not into latin music it is alright

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3

Siembra is an example of the most mainstream salsa imaginable, which utterly dominated Latin music in the 70s. A casual search from the period would turn up literally hundreds of similar recordings. The good news is Siembra is a very competent example of the genre. The musicianship is impeccable. The arrangements are sophisticated and marginally more imaginative than the bog standard salsa of the period. One of the shortcoming of this album for me is that it emphasizes songs, dancing, and arrangements at the expense of virtuosity. Much of the fun of salsa, for me, is the instrumental breaks, usually played over an ostinato. As you might expect, Latin music of the period was overflowing with talented percussionists. There were also a number of great pianists. But it's a little unfair to criticize Siembra for what it's not. In addition, unfortunately for me, mainstream salsa is probably my least favorite type of Latin music. Still, competence is competence, even if it's in a genre I don't happen to like. Here's my real complaint. Once again, the makers of this list have made the least imaginative possible choice in international music to put on their list. There is nothing groundbreaking about this music. It's not even the best possible example of it. There is nothing especially innovative about it. What it is is achingly mainstream. I strongly suspect that the makers of this list don't really like Latin music or African music or Brazilian music or French music any other kind of non-Anglo music. They just put a token example of it on their list so that they don't look like the pig-ignorant parochial anglophiles they are. Here's an idea. If you want to put examples of international music on a list, why not learn something about the music culture of the countries that will be represented first? But the makers of this list are too smug and lazy for that.

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3

Not really by preferred genre at all but was a pleasant enough listen. I don't know much Spanish so the lyrics all lost on me.

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3

4.5

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3

I appreciated the Latin music.

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3

Fun 5/10

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3

Guess it's OK background music? Giving it a bit of a credit on account it's not my usual music diet.

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3

First song is like they switched on the salsa machine and it got stuck. When is each line going to end? Later songs are much more listenable. Solid background music you could also dance to.

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3

Interesting latin music with a funky edge.

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3

The opening disco-funk beat which segued into salsa got me hooked, but I was a bit disappointed that there was no further crossover in this Latin set.

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3

6/10

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3

Sinds ik heb geklaagd over een gebrek aan diversiteit in deze lijst, word ik op m'n wenken bediend. Leuk om eens te horen. Vrolijk.

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3

Don't mind listening to some salsa every now and again, and they've added some creative elements to it on this album, but overall it just did not grab me. It was just ok. Just.

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3

Ok salsa, not one for me

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3

A festive and playful salsa album. I don't listen to salsa music and I wasn't disappointed with the album. It's easy listening and I unfortunately found myself skipping to the meat of songs near the end of the album. It might be because I don't speak Spanish or have no previous exposure to the genre, but I didn't have the patience for some tracks to play out all the way. Not a bad album though. I might return to it.

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3

ok

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3

dude I dont even salsa

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3

Very nice groove. Pretty much exactly what I expected from a salsa album. Enjoyable record.

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3

Pleasant enough, but not knock out for me

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3

Yeah I quite enjoyed how upbeat and fun this was - but did get a little samey after a while!

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3

Zuid Amerikaanse muziek met dito instrumenten. Ik wordt daar wel vrolijk van. Meestal gaat dit soort muziek mij irriteren, maar dat was bij dit album niet het geval. ***

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3

Léttleikandi latin tónlist

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3

I’m not a salsa aficionado but it was a pretty good record. I have little context to understand the novelty or popularity of this one so I’m going with enjoyment level on this rating

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3

Ding ding ding

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3

Love the West Side Story reference in Pedro Navaja. The songs are long and get the hips moving. This album doesn't stand out to me, as an outsider to the salsa genre.

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3

It's good, not exactly my thing, but I enjoyed it overall. 3 stars.

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3

Latin hip swinging rhythm, calm horn section and some great congas.

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3

Good, but not great. Good background music, but another where I don't speak the same language. I enjoyed it a lot, but will probably not come back to it

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3

Cool latin vibes

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3

Ihan hauskaa rallatusta vaikka ei kyllä nyt sieluun asti iskenyt. Kolmonen yläkanttiin.

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3

Very danceable. Love the horns (surprise, surprise) as well as the supple vocals. Makes you want to move your hips and do a little two step, even when you have two left feet like me. Perfect for that salsa night you’ve wanted to hit up as well as that living room dance party you’ve been wanting to have.

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3

I liked it, reminds me of Colombia <3

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3

si, pero que si

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3

This was good for what it is, but not a style of music that really resonates with me

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3

3 - It is refreshing and I liked it but wouldn't listen to it daily hahah

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3

Really outstanding musicianship but I didn't find it a really compelling listen.

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3

Enjoyed it. Like being back in Cuba.

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3

I didn’t enjoy this as much as I thought I would. Would’ve been good if I could have danced to it ! Low 3*

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3

-I like the "doo doo bing bong ping ding bong" part in "Buscando Guayaba" -Holy crap Lois they referenced "Despacito" in "Pedro Navajo" -I like the big old bass that comes in in "Maria Lionza" -It would probably be a 4 if it was in my genre of music, it just isn't really my jam, but it is all quality

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3

Lots of fun but little variety 3 🌟

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3

Not my thing

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3

Apparently this is the GOAT of salsa albums and features rousing social commentary and an unconventional sound. I've never listened to salsa music before and I don't speak Spanish, so that goes over my head. However it has a fun energy and is an enjoyable listen. Also, the weird cover art deserves a mention. 3/5

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3

i expect this to be played on repeat in tapas restaurants the world over

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3

Didnt finish it, but it was nice :)

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3

Never heard of this before. Really enjoyed it. Notice a few tracks have been used as samples too. Fantastic work.

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3

Yeah okay, very sapnish

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3

cover bi bio taman, sam da nema djece. vidim si ovo puštat u ljetne dane, definitivno. dosta ritmičan i zabavan album prije svega, no nekako mi se oduži, moram priznat, ali za pozadinu pustiti nek svira, paše.

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3

Good lively background music

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3

New one on me, pretty good

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3

A pleasant listen. Highlights were "Plastico" and "Siembra" Interesting to hear "Maria Lionza" which was sampled by Major Lazer on "Watch Out For This"

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3

In all my ignorance, I've never heard of Willie Colon and Ruben Blade's collaborative album "Siembra". I'm only aware of Colon through his collaborations with David Byrne on the latter's "Rei Momo". But this is the real deal: a quick Google has told me "Siembra" is the biggest selling salsa album of all time, and it's jam-packed with ornate arrangements and feelgood vibes. It's a great party, but for me it became a little repetitive after a while. There are only seven tracks here, averaging over six minutes each: while each one didn't quite do enough to have me gripped, they certainly proved pleasant to enjoy in the background or to brighten up a long work day. The language barrier has stopped me getting the full lyrical impact, but there are some interesting concepts at play (particularly the narrative about the killer "Pedro Navaja"). Musically, it's consistently tight, accomplished and catchy. "Plastico" begins, somewhat unexpectedly, with a slapped bass funk-disco figure, before settling into a more familiar salsa rhythm about one minute in. From there it's syncopated piano, a vast roster of percussion including bongos, congas, cowbell, plenty of horn arrangements gliding over the top, and all the other characteristics of Latin music I can remember from GCSEs. Favourite parts included the chanting in "Maria Lionza", giving a great sense of momentum; the call-and-response vocals in "Ojos" and some of the percussion fills in between verses; any time horns appeared. I may not be actively seeking "Siembra" out in future, but whenever I hear it I'll burst into an uncontrollable salsa.

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3

Salsa

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3

3/5 nice but salsa is not really music I listen.

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3

A personal commitment to this platform is maintaining an open-mind. That said, most non-English language music is going to have difficulty maintaining interest outside of the music and a bit of referencing to the why of this album becomes necessary. Key points: this album is the highest selling salsa album in history, the prerequisite of that being that it transcended its own sub-genre and called upon Latin music/people together. With this in mind, one can listen to this album knowing that while it is very much for Spanish-speaking nations, that it is indeed for nations, rather than its particular Spanish speaking country. Take this a little bit further, the 1978 release of this album seemingly coincides with the barrio experience within the United States, and in a way that makes the music relevant for this review too. Musically, the energy of salsa is distinctly of cultural significance that may escape a lot of listeners. However, for the adventurous or academic intentioned listener, the rhythm and horns demonstrate a certain professionalism that is easy to admire. Vocally, the singer is actually quite good and while the instruments certainly stand on their own, the lyrically melodic symbiotic relationship is a pleasure to pay attention to. While salsa is not the usual fare that would score high for this reviewer, the academic approach to understanding this album is a worthy time expenditure.

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2

It was okay for what it was. Not for me personally

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2

It’s ok, nandos/Mexican restaurant vibes

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2

Colon and Blades sounds like the name of a bitchin' death metal act. But they're not. It's salsa. I'm sure it's pleasant enough if you're on some beach but I'm not. And I don't like the beach much anyway. Best Tracks: Plastico; Buscando Guayaba; Pedro Navaja

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2

not bad but gave up

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2

Didn’t enjoy

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2

Mwah, not so great. But I don’t like Spanish music that much

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2

Hard to rate these one, like their from the same rib. That slapping bass in the first track needed to endure a bit more throughout

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2

Good

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2

Salsa, lots of salsa. Apparently the best selling salsa album ever. Ok.

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2

Not my kind of music, it all sort of blurred together. I'm sure I would have liked it more if I understood Spanish. Favorite Track: Plastico

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2

Not for me but some grooves. 2

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2

חמוד מאוד ספרדי לי מידי

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2

Sorry samba people… I just don’t like it!

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2

Good music but not my style.

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2

Was ok

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2

I don't want to be that guy but literally all salsa sounds the same.

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2

Azteca background music. I'm sorry

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2

Too wild

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2

Found boring. Nuf said. D+

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2

Loving listening to different musical styles. This one just wasn’t for me.

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1

Chujnia

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1

Didn’t like this one

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1

Not my genre

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1

Interesting. Not only did I not like the music, it actually managed to make me... Kind of angry? The visualizer for the song "Buscando Guayaba" might have an influence on this, except there's nothing explicitely infuriating about that one either...? I think the kind of harmonies and chord progressions used also played a part. Doesn't look like anyone else here had the same experience.... Either way, I had to force myself to keep listening.

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1

Samba is really not my thing

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1

Not my kind of music at all. It may be a genre masterpiece, but my listening enjoyment says 1/5.

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1

Not my type of music. Being in Spanish also made it harder for me to follow. Might be good if I’m drunk.

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1

Well.......This sucks. We should start a site "1001 Albums You Should Pass On Before You Die"

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