Prezident Markon’s New Singles Round-Up (La Yegros, Flavia Coelho, Céu, New Regency Orchestra, Nosostros and many, many more)

By 05 April, 2024

Good grief! This job doesn’t get any easier. There’s so much to choose from and only one pair of ears to listen and two hands to bang out words on the keyboard. But I’m not complaining. I could be mining cobalt in the Congo.

Antidoping: “Road to Zion”

It’s appropriate, I’m persuaded, to start with the letter “A” in the form of this Mexican reggae band. They’re a new name for me, but this is the second single from their promised eighth album, so clearly they’ve been skanking and such like for some time. It’s fairly standard stuff in so far as the lyrics speak of the Rastafarian road to the promised land, but it’s rather good and the idea of a Mexican reggae outfit appeals to my sense of universality.

Joe Bataan: “Chick-a-Boom”/”Cycles of You”

And now for the “B”s (humour me). Joe Bataan, the King of Latin soul, has long been a favourite in this household. It’s 20 years ago since Vampisoul released the A-side “Chick-a-Boom” as a single to hail the return of the King. It’s been a dance-floor banger ever since, but here’s the B-side of the limited release red vinyl reissue. In my ‘umble, it spotlights more sharply the singer’s warm, smoky vocals. A double delight.

Balthvs: “Sun & Moon”

Might as well carry on alphabetically… I featured this Colombian psych-rock band last month, but here’s the new single to mark the Bogotá trio’s first North American tour. I imagine they’ll go down well in places like Portland, Oregon. Lyrically, it may not be the most profound (“When the sun go down/When the moon rise up” repeat), but I love the guitar sound married to the funky back beat.

BNegão: “Canto da Sereia”

Starting with a funky trumpet lick by Pedro Selector that rings distant bells of Touch and Go’s “Would you…”, the Brazilian rapper, singer and songwriter’s single is a preview of his forthcoming album, Metamorfoses, Riddims e Afins. Here he metamorphoses Osvaldo Nunes and The Pops’ golden oldie from 1969, creating something infectious and rather irresistible.  

Haroldo Bontempo: “Um Novo Começo”

Fresh from his recent triumphant video on Sounds and Colours, here’s our man in Belo Horizonte. I was a bit premature last time, but now the full five-track EP is out there in the public domain, so here’s another track from Indie Hippie Retrô Brasileiro to cool down the pace and remind you of its quality. Samba-licius stuff.

Céu featuring anaiis: “Gerando na Alta”

Any new release from one of Brazil’s foremost female singers is very welcome – especially when it features the London-based Franco-Senegalese vocalist, anaiis. Together they cook up something very nice and sultry, taking me back to Céu’s marvellous eponymous debut from 2005. This is the first single from her sixth studio album, Novela, which comes out at the end of this month. It’s produced by Adrian Younge, one half of the Jazz is Dead team, and features LadyBug from the cherished Digable Planets. I want! he says, stamping his little foot with impatience.

Cheo: “Mango Cool”

From Céu to Cheo. Anyone would think I’d planned it. As a founding member of that fine Venezuelan group, Los Amigos Invisibles, the name Cheo should make us sit up and pay attention. Which is exactly what he does on this high-octane song he wrote on the same day as hearing Wes Montgomery’s version of “Caravan” (he tells us). Cheo has “been in love with mambo for [his] whole life,” as the first single from the upcoming EP, Refresco Vol. 1: Cheo Goes Latin, certainly validates. 

Flavia Coelho: “Mama Santa”

The Paris-based Brazilian Queen of Bossa Muffin has come up with something very slinky and catchy in her first single from a new album due at the end of May. She was interviewed by Will Tullis on this site in March 2017. Well worth a (re-)read.

Indus: “Alfa Indi”

Some EDM with a twist now from the Caribbean coast of Colombia. On this single from the June-scheduled album Negra, Indus fuse the relentless drive of their synthesised chalupa rhythms with the haunting voice of Nelda Piña, a traditional folklore singer who recorded prolifically in the 1980s and ’90s. The beguiling video – in case you can’t figure it out – portrays four astral beings who meet up on planet earth and set off on a quest to understand life and humanity. Good luck with that venture, even with the Great Spirit as guide.

Kinky: “Fuentes de Ortiz”

With its disco strings and rhythms, the five-piece outfit from Mexico by way of Monterrey have transformed Ed Maverick’s emotional heart-jerker into something to tempt diehard wallflowers onto the floor. They did something equally iconoclastic to Grupo Soñador’s “El Paso del Gigante” and the coming EP, 5 Disparos, could be one to watch.

La Yegros: “Veo feat. K.O.G”

Talking of ones to watch – and I don’t just mean this excellent video – the Argentinean artist, the so-called “Queen of Nu Cumbia”, has just released her fourth album, HAZ. On it, she worked with Eblis Alvarez of Meridian Brothers and the Ghanaian artist K.O.G, featured here on this very fine single. Another Latin artist who makes her home in France, the album was recorded partly in La Yegros’s private studio in Montpelier and partly in her native Buenos Aires.

Arrthur Melo: “Saídas”

I last spotlighted this Brazilian singer-songwriter back in January. Here’s the latest single before the release of Mirantes Emocionais, the album slated for later this month. It’s a genuine double-A side that first saw the light of day as a 7″ single last year and is out now on digital. It’s very hard to choose between this side and the more up-tempo “Do Colostro Ao Osso”. In the end, I plumped for “Saídas” because I love the way it gently and wistfully evokes early Caetano Veloso. Apparently, it’s the only track on the album where the acoustic guitar plays a lead role, and it certainly exudes the “emotional viewpoints” of the album’s title. Can’t wait!

MNTH: “Inclinação ao Silêncio”

Just in case you missed the sneak preview on this site, here’s musician and producer Luciano Valério’s memorable taster from the new album, Lume Púrpuro.

New Regency Orchestra: “Labasta Llego”

London’s finest skilfully evoke the spirit of 1950s Cuba and New York. Close your eyes and the sheer brio of this 18-piece orchestra is enough to summon up Machito & his Afro-Cubans on this first single from their coming eponymous debut. The album seems to have been promised for ages. Perhaps I should write a begging letter to Mr. Bongo, because if this remake of Rafael Labasta’s 1972 original is anything to go by…

Nosostros: “Mentiras ft. Daniel French”

As chance would have it, we can hop alphabetically from one Latin behemoth to another. The North American ten-piece is renowned for its hefty Latin grooves hitched to politically conscious lyrics. You probably don’t have to be a Spanish speaker to get the fact that the title translates as “lies”, and the song was inspired – if that’s the apposite word – by the fact that this is the year in which the American electorate gets to vote for a new ancient president and the knowledge that, as the band puts it, “Washington is bought and paid for by big corporate money, and the wealthy.” Featuring a rap by Daniel French, the single comes from a longer work in progress.

¿Quiensave?: “Tumbando Caña (El Alarcán)/Al Gato y Al Ratón/Yo No Bailo Con Juana”

It’s not the snappiest title in the world, and little wonder that the band refers to it as “Popurri #2”, but it sure as hell’s a dynamic piece of music. The single comes from the band’s anticipated EP and pays homage to hyper-energetic Mexican quebradita music by melding three classics of the genre into one fast and furious example of their cumbia urbana signature style.

Joabe Reis: “Partido Alto”

This vies with the Cheo, the New Regency Orchestra and the La Yegros releases for the coveted prize of S&C Swingin’ Single of the Month. It’s a lovely funky version of the classic number by Airto Moreira, Flora Purim and Roberto Bertrami of Azymuth. The Brazilian trombonist from Espírito Santos plays with the touch of a Wayne Henderson from prime-time Crusaders. There’s a lovely harmonica solo, too, which sounds like it could be the ubiquitous French musician, Gregoire Maret. The album 028 comes out later this month and I shall be queuing up to listen.

Thaissa: “Ley del Duende”

This single from an album inked in for June comes courtesy of a Colombian drummer, singer and songwriter who goes by the name of Thaissa. It has a nice subterranean feel that recalls that funkadelic parliamentarian, George Clinton, at his squelchiest. I rather like it and look forward to hearing her album this summer.

Timpana feat. Intiche and Rodrigo Gallardo: “Tempuy”

Time for some folktronica from the Andes (and beyond) in the form of this homage to the arduous journey of migration. It comes courtesy of Timpana, whose album Gwandena came out in 2022 on our very own record label, with guests Intiche, a Berlin-based Argentinean musician, and the Chilean Rodrigo Gallardo, whose charango lends a traditional note to the electronic beats.  “Tepuy” apparently translates as “house of gods” and refers specifically to the table-top mountains of South America, mythical places to Venezuelan exiles, that symbolise Nirvana for all displaced persons.

Valebol: “Multivitaminas”

Just time for the most recent single from a duo whose previous single featured in my round-up of January/February. The combination of Panamanian drummer, Daniel Villareal, and Vivian McConnell’s ethereal voice puts me in mind of Saint Etienne, a guilty pleasure of mine from way back. Anyone who compares a romantic love to a daily food supplement deserves our respect. Valebol’s eponymous debut album is out NOW!

And on that upbeat note, I shall have to stop before my eyes turn square. Apologies to any worthies whom I might have missed. Until next month…

Follow Sounds and Colours: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Mixcloud / Soundcloud / Bandcamp

Subscribe to the Sounds and Colours Newsletter for regular updates, news and competitions bringing the best of Latin American culture direct to your Inbox.