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Amaral, Rita Indiana y Los Misterios, New York, NY, July 9, 2011

Ernest Barteldes By

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Amaral, Rita Indiana y Los Misterios
Latin Alternative Music Conference
Central Park Summerstage
New York, NY

July 9, 2011

As part of the program for the 12th edition of the Latin Alternative Music Conference, Spain-based Amaral took to the stage with just principals Eva Amaral (vocals) and Juan Aguirre (guitar). Though unbilled for the evening on the official program, they were very well received, playing a short set that included some of the best-known hits from their career, which began with 1998's self-titled album Amaral (EMI/Virgin Europe).

After a very short break, Dominican Republic's merengue pop fusion vocalist Rita Indiana hit the stage with her eight-piece band Los Misterios, which is formed mostly by percussionists (congas, drums and other instruments), electric guitar and bass. She was also accompanied by two male dancers who seemed to borrow from the Brazilian pagode groups—highly choreographed, seductive moves planned to entice the audience as well as to complement the music itself.

Indiana's sound is a mix of her native merengue with pop, rock and dance elements. This was evidenced by her Spanish-language remake of Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)." At first the song was almost unrecognizable, but the band slowly stripped it from the Latin elements, leaving just the drums, guitar and bass to play the tune's familiar melodic line that culminated with Indiana singing the original English lyrics. She also incorporated elements of funk and soul in "Jardinera (Semilla)," a tune that featured audience participation during the chorus.

In spite of almost 90 degree weather, Indiana kept turning up the heat, and towards the end of the set she performed a tune that bordered on punk rock (the audience roaring with approval) and finally closed with a more traditional sounding number.

Rita Indiana is yet to be discovered by mainstream audiences, but considering the quality of the performance, it is a only matter of time until she crosses over to the position of World pop bands like Aterciopelados or Los Amigos Invisibles, who both have an audience outside the expat Latin communities.

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