Our Latin Thing

Our Latin Thing is a long-lost classic. This DVD is remastered from an uncertain source, but its low fidelity only adds to the overall portrait. It's a comprehensive look at life in Spanish Harlem, framed by the inspired performances of the Fania All-Stars. Fania was just entering its period of dominance as the major Latin label of the next decade, and was about take the culture of this neighbourhood worldwide. Cutting between the frenzied grooves of the band onstage at the Cheetah club and scenes of cockfights, Santeria rituals, dominoes and street festivals, there's never a dull moment. Above all, music pervades every aspect of life, and makes for an uplifting viewing experience. The one criticism with the DVD is that it stops dead after the last song — no credits and no identification of the performers. Vampisoul would have done well to assemble a photo gallery and bios of the performers to compensate. Plus: trailers, liner notes, subtitles. (Vampisoul, www.vampisoul.com)