“Ciclos” is the latest recording by Luis Enrique, and in my opinion it’s a serious contender for Luis Enrique’s best work yet.
“El Principe de la Salsa” (Salsa’s Prince) delivers an album with a mix of romantic songs along with songs which carry a positive message. On the technical side, the recording’s music is fresh, with exciting and varied arrangements, of excellent sound quality, and Luis Enrique’s voice and delivery is as good as ever. It’s no surprise that “Ciclos” was just nominated for a Latin Grammy for Best Album.
Luis Enrique recently performed the songs from “Ciclos” in the “Festival de la Salsa Chim Pum Callao” in Peru, where the Peruvian salseros gave him a warm welcome. In Peru he shared the stage with the Puerto Rican maestro Luis “Perico” Ortiz and other greats. In the following paragraphs I’ll describe in detail what I like most and least about this recording, and my recommendation.
What I Like Most of Luis Enrique “Ciclos”
The combination of the positive messages delivered through songs of both romantic and social content, and the excellent quality of the music and the recording, makes “Ciclos” a refreshing album to listen. The music remains lively through arrangements filled with high energy, and variations of rhythms and choruses which keep every song interesting. The 11-member band provides Luis Enrique a versatile and high quality music.
Elements of Luis Enrique’s trademark style, as well as those of main arranger and album producer Sergio George, are evident throughout the recording. Sergio George puts emphasis on the electric bass in combination with the piano, and adds some aggressive wind section cuts to give his music a robust sound.
This sound which Sergio George patented into one of Salsa Romantica’s most aggressive and commercial styles, is successfully exemplified in the music of Salsa stars Marc Anthony and Tito Nieves. You can’t help drawing some similarities between “Ciclos” and past work from Marc and Tito, but George did a great job of also preserving some of Luis Enrique’s signature musical elements.
My favorite hard energy and positive cuts are “Sonrie” and “Cambia”, both of which have a very motivating positive message. Also along those lines are the songs “Abre Tus Ojos”, “Inocencia”, and “Autobiografia” which is a narration of his life, again, with a positive spin.
Single Mega-Hit “Yo No Se Mañana”
On the Salsa Romantica side, Luis Enrique delivers with the album hit single “Yo No Se Mañana” of the pen of Jorge Luis Piloto, recorded on both Salsa and Pop-Ballad formats, and a more classic Luis Enrique style song “Como Volver a Ser Feliz”. Also the Salsa Romantica tunes “Parte de Este Juego” and “No Me Des la Espalda” are nicely arranged and performed songs, which leave a good “after-taste” for their creative musicality and positive romantic spin.
Suggestions for Luis Enrique on “Ciclos”
I don’t have much to write regarding what I didn’t like about this recording. The one song that I only heard once and will not try again is the classic bolero “Sombras Nada Mas” which was popularized by the great late Venezuelan singer Felipe Pirela in the 1960’s, and more recently by Salsa immortal Hector Lavoe with his 1979 album “Recordando a Felipe Pirela” (Remembering Felipe Pirela). The comparison with either muscial giant is unfair for Luis Enrique, besides the fact that I’ve never quite liked the song despite its popularity.
“Ciclos” is a great recording which has a lot to offer for fans reminiscing the Luis Enrique music of the past, and for those that like a fresh Salsa sound with a positive message. Great album for those depressed with the current economy, as most songs have a positive message. Good music, excellent quality recording, and Luis Enrique delivers one of his best efforts.
It’s no surprise it just received a Latin Grammy nomination for Best Album. As an added bonus, the CD comes with a DVD of all songs. All this makes “Ciclos” a refreshing album you’ll want to listen over and over. If you’re looking for something new to add to your music collection, you will not go wrong with “Ciclos”.