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Perceptive Travel World Music Reviews

La Lucha

We say: Enjoyable Latin-rock from New York City

Cecilia Villar Eljuri is a Manhattan-raised Latina with Lebanese roots on her mother’s side. A guitarist and singer with a fondness for the Cuban tres, here she leads a rocking electric band through a number of catchy self-penned Latin-rock songs. Apart from the track “Nunca Volveré,” which features Arabic dumbek and finger cymbals, the Lebanese roots are not really that obvious.

A few of the songs like “Right Back” lean towards pop, bringing to mind a more bass-heavy version of Blondie. In contrast, “Indiferencia,” with its electric tres guitar, sounds more like a rocked-up Cuban ballad. On some songs there is also a vague reggae feel, and this is even more apparent on “Quiero Saber,” which features bone fide reggae royalty in the form of Sly and Robbie on drums and bass.

Eljuri is certainly no slouch on electric guitar and acquits herself well with some admirable, but always tasteful plank-spanking. The rhythm section packs a powerful punch too, driving things along nicely even without the presence of Sly and Robbie. Strong songs like “El Viento” and heavier numbers like “Nunca Volveré” and “Luz Roja” are probably the standout tracks here but all of La Lucha is enjoyable.