Sante Les Amis: Sudamericana

Uruguay may not seem a likely hotbed of pop music, but these days a lot is happening there. Heck, a Uruguayan musician like Jorge Drexler even won an Academy Award for Best Song (for “Al otro lado del rio,” from the 2004 film, The Motorcycle Diaries). One of the country’s brightest new bands, Sante Les Amis, make their full-length debut with Sudamericana, released by one of the most reliable sources for Latin-based pop music, Nacional Records. And they fit right in, playing groovy, disco-inflected songs, suitable for dancing along to or rocking out with.

Comparisons with bands such as Mexico’s Kinky are not unwarranted, even beyond their similar bilingual singing. Sante Les Amis may be less explosively rocking than their North American counterparts, hewing closer to a traditional 70s dance club vibe that celebrates actual playing versus over-reliance on computerized beats. Lead singer Diego Traverso actually works for Uruguay’s Ministerio de Educacion y Cultura - he’s the director of the Departamento de Industrias Creativas – so exploring various tradition in music-making seems part of the fun. The album’s opener, “El Rayo, El Trueno Y El Silbido,” sounds like Blondie playing a Morricone Spaghetti Western theme, while the album’s first single, “Brasil,” feels ready made for this year’s World Cup, in which the Uruguayan national team is sure to make some noise. And Sante Les Amis, loyal fans of their home country's team, have provided a perfect soundtrack.

-Eric J. Lawrence

Track List:

1. El Rayo, El Trueno y el Silbido
2. The Byte of Love
3. Brasil
4. The Road
5. Huracán
6. Robot
7. El Último Verano
8. She Gets Me Excited
9. Dormido
10. The River
11. Black Rain
12. Sha La La
13. The Road / Vaimaca Dub Mix

Photo courtesy of the artist