By Jen Cheshire-Reggaewerx
Reviewing Locos Por Juana’s latest album “Crazy For Jane” was a bit of a challenge as I don’t speak Spanish and there were several Spanish tracks. A friend helped me by translating the Spanish tracks. Thank you, Justin Goodman!
“ Locos Por Juana is a GRAMMY® and Latin GRAMMY® nominated bilingual band, most notably recognized for their high energy live performances and unique fusion of reggae, funk, cumbia, salsa, and rock. The band, featuring Itawe Correa as its charismatic lead vocalist, talented guitarist Mark Kondrat, innovative drummer Javier Delgado, and electrifying bass player David Pransky, write and produce all of their own music. Voted Best Latin Band in 2017 by Miami New Times, LPJ’s sound is a hybrid that incorporates the sounds of their heritage and upbringing. Correa and Delgado were born in Colombia, Miami native, Kondrat, is of Colombian descent and Pransky hails from Vermont. Colombian sounds such as Cumbia and Champeta, along with the Afro-Colombian rhythms, Mapale and Chande are integral to their sound, as are musical influences from Miami and the Caribbean islands including Reggae, Raggamuffin, Dub, Hip-Hop, Rock and Funk; all of these influences have led to a fusion that Kondrat has coined as “that island swing.”” (Excerpt from their official bio)
The album opens with “A Light In The Morning”, a song about feeling high and alive from music and life. This lively, upbeat track definitely sets the tone for the album. As the lyrics state, “It’s all in the sound”.
“La Solucion” (The Solution), one of the Spanish tracks, talks about having gratefulness for what you have instead of dwelling on what you don’t have, and the discipline it takes to achieve this.
The next track is “Don’t Tell Me No” featuring veteran crooner Freddie McGregor. This song has an old school Lovers Rock feel to it, with catchy lyrics that have you singing along by the end of the song. It takes you back to “big people” dances, where couples danced together to their favorite love song.
“Roots! Roots!” features Miami hip-hop group Mayday. This track is a reggae/hip-hop fusion song about remaining connected to your roots while breaking out from the box you are born into and forging a path for those that come after.
The following track “Me Dolio” (Bye Bye) is an upbeat breakup song in Spanish. The lyrics convey some bitterness at the beginning as he can’t believe she left him for a guy with money, but he is getting past it. The “bye-bye” lyric is expressed in a resentful manner.
“Crazy For Jane” featuring Common Kings, the title track, is the inevitable “weed” song. This collaboration with Common Kings has the Island/Roots sound that Common Kings are known for. It’s an upbeat “summer” song that’s bound to be a hit with the young festival-goers.
The next track is my favorite on the album. “Children of The Light” is a reworked version of the Simply Red classic “Holding Back The Years”. They’ve taken a classic and made it current but still keeping the essence of the song. Very well done.
Another of the Spanish songs is “Te Quiero Tener” (I Want To Have You). This is a very sexy song about intimacy “I want your body, I want to kiss you. You calm my pain. ” It’s a sexy song but also romantic, with lyrics like “I’m your Prince. You are my Princess. I would steal the stars for you. I want to embrace/snuggle you.” With lyrics like that, combined with a sexy Latin rhythm, I think this could be referred to as a “baby-making” song.
The last Spanish song “ Me Interesa” featuring Latin/Pop producer/artist Maffio means just as it sounds…”You Interest me or I’m Into You”. This is a song about a developing relationship. There seems to be a mutual attraction and they are getting to know each other. This song also has a heavy Latin beat and even if you cannot understand the Spanish, like me, it’s a fun song that I think anyone can enjoy.
The final track on the album is “Baby Don’t Rush”. This is a love song, with an island feel to it, about taking things slowly. In my opinion the sultry accent of Itawe Correa makes this song so very sexy.
With the blend of Reggae, Hip-Hop, and Latin “Crazy For Jane” by Locos Por Juana will appeal to a wide audience. Even though I don’t speak Spanish and didn’t understand some of it, the infectious beats mixed with some “old school” style reggae kept me listening.