Borderline Latin is an exploration of the influence of Latin music in styles, places and rhythms beyond its traditional borders, and of different types of cross-pollination between Latin music and other musical creatures. Each week, we will feature the works of a ‘non-Latin’ artist via song or musical style whose rhythm, themes, melodic inflections or influences have earned it the name of Borderline Latin.
A couple of weeks ago, this column featured a tribute album to Queen recorded by “Los Grandes del Rock en Español” in the 1990’s. By the end of that decade, in the year 2000, they did it again, recording Outlandos D’Americas: A Rock en Español Tribute to The Police, referencing Outlandos D’Amour, La Policía’s debut album. Unlike in Tributo a Queen, many of the songs in Outlandos stay more or less close to the originals, even to the point of translating the lyrics. But don’t be mistaken: there are really good tracks in this record, and some remarkable performances.
The original members of The Police were deeply involved in the project –except for Sting, who was probably too busy with his solo career. Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland are credited as producers and arrangers, and they also performed in some of the tracks, alongside great Spanish rock artists. Caifanes and Jaguares’ front man, Saúl Hernández, recorded “¿Será que todos te acechan?” –a version of The Police’s “Does Everyone Stare?” accompanied by Copeland on drums –and Sabo Romo’s bass. Gustavo Cerati’s version of “Bring on the Night” (“Tráeme la noche”) featured Summers on guitar –as well as drum virtuoso Vinnie Colaiuta. The album also includes contributions by Enrique Bunbury, Pericos, Control Machete and Plastilina Mosh.
As British as they may be, the sound of The Police is really borderline Latin, with its mixture of rock, jazz, punk and reggae. They were a big influence for many bands –Maná owes them big time, especially in their early period. And now, as a treat to our readers, here’s New York’s own Latin ska band, King Changó, performing their version of a song I really like, but changing more than just the nationality: “Venezuelan in New York” (mind the wolf: listen to the audio).