Jarabe de Palo

Jarabe de Palo

Recycling Orchestra: Eclectic Latin rock finally released in the U.S.

Jarabe de Palo is one of those Latin rock groups whose songs are everywhere south of the border – on the radio, on the DJ's party playlist, even reworked for supermarket muzak. Hailing from Spain, the group's leader Pau Donés has a knack for writing catchy hooks, such as in their huge 90s hit “La Flaca.”

But the music never really grabbed me until I heard their 2010 album Orquesta Reciclando, which means Recycling Orchestra. The album is a collection of their biggest hits, rearranged with better instrumentation and played by a super hot band.

The standard pop-rock of the originals is rearranged with diverse musical styles and much more energy. “Depende” is given a reggae treatment, “Bonito” is infused with a funk groove, while “La Flaca” begins with a spare, percussion led verse and ends with a rocking salsa-style jam section.

There's no filler on Orquesta Reciclando – sure the songs had already been released, and to success, but it 's not every day that a popular band gives their repertoire a complete makeover. It could easily have been a miss, but it came out as a hit.

This was one of those albums that I wore out when I first got it. I learned a lot of Spanish from this album – he sings clearly and the lyrics are pretty basic.

It can be hard for Latin groups like Jarabe de Palo, who are from Spain, to break into the U.S. market, especially if they only sing in Spanish. But you don’t need to understand all the words to get into this music. Orquesta Reciclando finally got a U.S. release last October. It you like eclectic music with a Latin touch, seek out this fine album. You won't be disappointed.