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Album Review

Totem ?Totem? [Vampi Soul] (33 rpm)

Hunter Gatherer   6/28/2005   12-inch, International

Totem, from Uruguay, released their first and eponymous album in 1971. Originally on De La Planta, it was re-relased in 2004 by Vampi Soul, an interesting label that has been re-releasing vintage music – often out of print – from the 60’s and 70’s (check the insert in the album).

The genre of this music is ‘candombe-beat? a fusion of Western pop and the native Afro-Uruguayan rhythms of candombe (pronounced can-dome-bay). Candombe is played with three drums (or tambores): piano, chico, and repique. The beat came to Uruguay by way of African slaves.

The music is definitely a product of its time and the production sounds slightly dated. But they are rocking out with the extra percussion and rhythm guitar. The singing is smooth, bordering on crooning.
–Hunter Gatherer

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