La Mambanegra - El Callegüeso y su Mala Maña review: ‘urgent, insistent salsa’

Simon Broughton
New release: Las Mambanegra drop a new album: Rex

With Colombia’s peace treaty now ratified, the country has become the most appealing musical destination in Latin America.

Las Mambanegra are from Cali, the salsa capital of Colombia and the country’s most African city.

Led by keyboard player Jacobo Vélez, they have a classic nine-piece line-up including killer horns and lithe percussion.

The opening Puro Potenkem and El Malembe, with its dancing flute, demonstrate their rhythmic prowess, while Barrio Caliente has a distinctly urban feel.

This is urgent, insistent salsa, driving to get out. They played a stunning set at WOMAD last July and will be back this summer on tour.

This is music that is inevitably most visceral live — at its best at home in Colombia, but thrilling on this album too.