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World Music CD Reviews World Fusion


By Tom Orr
Published August 21, 2008

En Paz

Not content to be a mere rock ’n’ roller or Latin traditionalist, singer, guitarist and composer Cecilia Villar Eljuri combines her twin foundations of Ecuador (where she was born) and New York (where she was raised) with many more on En Paz. Things kick off with a dose of reggae roots propelled by rhythm kings Sly and Robbie, and then Eljuri moves on to show how handily she can work her way through an array of tunes that encompass shades of hip-hop, funk, Afro-Cuban grooves, cumbia, flamenco, blues and beyond. Far from being simply a mish-mash of styles, though, the disc is a smart, passionate and danceable fusion that allows Eljuri to stretch out on guitar (on which she can soar like Santana when she so chooses) and sing with a combination of rock attitude and global finesse. Production and instrumental assistance from Ex-Centric Sound System’s Yossi Fine add a boost throughout, and even if every track isn’t suited to every taste, there’s plenty of blazing good music here.