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The songs are still mostly of romantic themes, all delivered with a nice contemporary swing of the traditional Salsa sound of a “sonora”.
Concept of “En Buena Compañía”
Gilberto uses a good concept in this album. By teaming with the Sonora Sanjuanera, he gets a fresh sounds that breaths classic Salsa. And yet, the Sanjuanera can deliver the classic Salsa sound with contemporary arrangements of both instruments and voices.
This combination suits Santa Rosa perfectly. Already a master of blending the old with the new, Gilberto delivers romantic themes with flavor and drive.
But in his 40 years in the music business, Gilberto learned how to mix things up in an album to keep it interesting from beginning to end. Many Salsa singers, newer and even older ones, haven’t learnt this yet.
The title “En Buena Compañía” is emphasized by the addition of four duets in the generous 14-song album. Gilberto shares singing duties with guests Andy Montañez, Rodrigo Mendoza (ex-singer of Dimension Latina and Oscar D’Leon’s Salsa Mayor), Roberto “Robertón” Hernandez (singer of Los Van Van), and Yenny Valdez (ex-singer of Los Van Van).
I like very much the remake of the Familia Andre hit “Donde Es Que Es?”. This is a romantic theme that has Salsa flavor but departs from the traditional “son-montuno”, and goes into a fusion with a “guaracha”. The lyrics are first class and Gilberto delivers a version of it with the Sonora that is remarkable.
The Sonora Sanjuanera
Victor García founded the Sonora Sanjuanera back in 1999. A long time pianist and vocalist, he was inspired by the trumpet brass sound of the Sonora Poncena and the Sonora Matancera.
Their debut album was titled “Pa’ Que Baile Como Quiera” (2005) a catchy phrase that rhymes with the band’s name.
Throughout “En Buena Compañía” you can hear to Gilberto Santa Rosa, and some of the guest singers as well use the phrase during the mambos.
In La Sanjuanera, Victor García has infused a classic lineup to play the Cuban son, with a contemporary harmonies. He also likes to venture out into other genres like bolero, Jazz, and even Merengue.
Garcia gets to sing a couple of songs in “En Buena Compañía”. However, this album stays within the confines of good danceable Salsa. Victor gets to sing in “Rosa Guerrera” and in the last song of the album, a rumba titled “Donde Esta?” with Gilberto Santa Rosa.
Summary of “En Buena Compañía”
I found “En Buena Compañía” another excellent production by Salsa maestro Gilberto Santa Rosa. Although he’s been in the music business 40 years and counting, he continues to deliver albums with great attention to detail and quality.
To finish, I bring you the song “Quiereme”. This nice tune is a good example of the mix of classic with contemporary. It has a nice mambo (reminds me of La Sonora Ponceña) and has two different chorus. Besides that, it has a nice “estribillo” that give the song a festive sound.