Loteria De La Cumbia Lounge
Michael Ramos used to be a coveted player in the Austin scene; now he’s sought out by the likes of Paul Simon and John Mellencamp. Ramos spent years as a member of the BoDeans, but it’s his current employer, Patty Griffin, who encouraged him to explore his own unique fusion of Latin, dance, and rock beats. Recording under the name CHARANGA CAKEWALK, the multi-instrumentalist has melded his boyhood musical traditions into a pop culture soufflé. LOTERIA DE LA CUMBIA LOUNGE (Triloka) is undeniably a bit of a trifle, but it’s an entertaining one, loaded with percolating beats and oddball musical flourishes. Not all of it works; missing any real grit, the kitsch factor sometimes gets turned way too high. But on songs like the title track, “Belleza,” and “La Negra Celina,” things really click. Nueva cumbia, anyone?