Orkesta Mendoza – Curandero

Album Review | Glitterbeat | Review by Allan Wilkinson | Stars: 4/5

It takes less than two seconds to fall into the feel-good grooves of “Paleta”, the reggae-tinged opening song to this dance-fest of an album, courtesy of Calexico’s Sergio Mendoza.  Orkesta Mendoza’s third album release and second on the Glitterbeat label, is a fine blend of boogaloo, cumbia, ranchera and good old rock and roll, all rolled into one fabulous celebration of music that needs no labels or indeed borders.  Just about every track features a guest, from Sean Rogers to Nick Urata and Brian Lopez & Charlie Moss to Gaby Moreno, Carrie Rodriguez & Moira Smiley, whose “Hoodoo Voodoo Queen” closes the album on a retro note, evoking the feel of a 1950s jukebox.

“Boogaloo Arizona” could possibly have been considered for the album opener, not least due to Ampararo Sanchez’s sultry opening invitation, introducing Orkesta Mendoza with all her distinctive rolled ‘r’s delivered in all the right places, an inviting number that almost bursts into the theme from Hawaii 5-0 with its prominent mariachi horns.  “Eres Official” is as rock and roll as it gets, with its metaphorical feet on both US and Mexican soil, effectively bridging cultures in the spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood, whilst the one instrumental on the album, the catchy “Bora Bora”, comes across as a likely candidate for playing at a party on board the Starship Enterprise.  This could only be considered a difficult album if you’re not quite ready for dancing.