Various Lula Lounge: Essential Tracks V1

Various Lula Lounge: Essential Tracks V1
6
Over the past decade, Toronto, ON's Latin music scene has reached an artistic apex, as home-grown artists such as Alex Cuba and Hilario Durán have enjoyed success across the globe. Although many would credit this to the immigration of veteran Cuban musicians onto the scene in the mid-'00s, the importance of Lula Lounge (a colourful, petite club in Toronto's Little Italy neighbourhood) can't be overlooked. Working as a home base for Caribbean, Latin American and Canadian musicians, Lula Lounge's first release, Lula Lounge: Essential Tracks V1, showcases a handful of artists that have graced the club's stage and dance floor. Anchored by one of Durán's most recognizable songs, "Cuando me toca a mí," and a track from Alex Cuba's Puentes Brothers band, the 14-track compilation rides a celebratory, loyal vibe. From veteran, chiselled jazzists (Jorge Maza, Luis Mario Ochoa) to the hotshots of salsa (Guaguanco, Yani Borrell) and Latin music outsiders (Lady Son, Jane Burnett), Lula Lounge: Essential Tracks V1, despite its underwhelming packaging, captures the passion and community of this burgeoning scene. (Lula Lounge)