A soulful blend of Cuban roots and contemporary Latin pop that shows the brighter, warmer and more welcoming face of a controversial corner of the Caribbean. Madera Limpia ("pure wood") are Cuban duo Yasel Gonzalez Rivera and Gerald Thomas Collymore who hail from Guantánamo, home of the notorious US military base and fulcrum of that country's war against terror. There's no sign of that dark and controversial subject in this youthful, organic music where a pleasing mix of rap and smooth soulful vocals are mixed with Latino pop and arranged on a subtly-woven blanket of programmed beats, tres guitar, percussion and horns (including some beefy big band tuba at times). It's a poppier, more naturally rhythmic version of Cuban urbanistas Free-Hole Negro, with welcome diversions into a straight, sunny pop sound.
Against a relaxed backbeat that contains shades of reggae as well as the local beat, changui (which possesses a similar languid charm to the Jamaican rhythm), the group intone on the usual universal concerns of love and living as well as more local concerns such as poverty and the travails of locals who go to Havana to seek their fortune. A reflection of the well-honed combination of modern musical sounds and roots music to be found in this consistently catchy and edgy album.