The long-awaited follow-up to 1997's Iliana finds Casolando delivering just what we want to hear. La Sirena still evokes Old Latin America, but goes new places with additional instrumentation and a live, in-the-room production quality that recalls the feel of the recent Buena Vista Social Club releases. Many of the songs will be familiar to fans of the band's live performances, though the tracks have been pared down from the lengthy instrumental jams usually featured at those shows. Still, it's all here: The rich vocals of Carlos Ortega accompanied by his flawless guitar rhythms, the vocal harmonies and fiery flamenco guitar of Charlie Baran, the jazzy electric bass of Dave Hiltebrand, and the varied and always perfect percussion of Chuck Sansone. From the opening notes of the gorgeous 'Dulce Amargo' to the plaintive 'Guajira' to the stunning instrumental 'Turbina', this album is about love and love lost, and dance and stellar musicianship all rolled into one. The title track will take your breath away. La Sirena features guest appearances from Merritt Lear of the Celt-rocker Drovers, and Ross Bergseth from Chicago pop sensations Frisbie.
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