Personnel includes: Ricardo Arjona (vocals); Carlos Cabral (acoustic guitar, keyboards, programming); Jorge Loboy (guitar); Enrique Collazo, Jaime E. Medina (violin); (Tim Barnes (viola); Jesus Morales (cello); Domingo David (accordion): Angel Torres (saxophone): Luis Aquino (trumpet); Jorge Diaz, Antonio Vazquez, Miguel Rivera, Mioses Nogeras (trombone); Elvin Torres (piano, keyboards); Jose Lugo (piano); Fernando Muscolo (keyboards); Jose Gazmei, Ricardo Lugo (bass); Eddie Garcia (congas); Cachete Maldonado, Giovanni Hidalgo, Sammy Garcia (percussion); Angel Pena, Aldo Matta, Dalver Garcia, Gilda Gonzalez, Jose Luis Ramos, Tempo Alomar, Tito Allen, Wichie Camacho, Yanira Torres, Angel "Cuco" Pena (background vocals).
Engineers include: Hector Rosa, John Thomas, Isaias Garcia.
Personnel: Carlos Cabral, Jr. (guitar, acoustic guitar); Fernando Medina, Arnaldo Figueroa, Omar Vel zquez, Scott Flavin, Enrique Collazo, Alfredo Oliva (violin); Tim Barnes (viola); Jose D. De Jesus, Jos‚ De Jes£s Morales, Fermin Segarra, Chris Glansdorp (cello); Nestor Torres (flute); Angel Torres (saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone); Vicente Cusi Castillo, Joe Pujals, Arturo Sandoval, Luis Aquino, Raul Agraz, Angel "Angie" Machado (trumpet); Antonio Vasquez, Jesus R. Torres, Miguel Rivera, Ozzie Melendez, Jorge Diaz (trombone); Fernando Muscolo (piano, keyboards, programming); Georger Sergio, Elvin F. Torres (piano, keyboards); Marino Morales, Jos‚ Lugo, Miguel N£¤ez (piano); Sammy Garc¡a (congas, guiro, maracas); Eddie Garcia, Richie Flores (congas); David Santiago (guiro); Angel "Cachete" Maldonado (percussion).
Audio Mixer: Isaias Garcia.
Liner Note Author: Ricardo Arjona.
Recording information: Altamar Music Studios; Caracole Studio; Estudios Acurero, Venezuela; Hit Factory, Miami, FL; One Way Recording Studio, Puerto Rico; Sono Dos Mil Estudios; sony Music Studios; Sound on Sound Studios, New York, NY; South Beach Studios, Miami, FL; The War Room, NJ; Ware House.
Photographer: Ricardo Trabulsi.
Unknown Contributor Role: Hu scar Barradas.
Arrangers: Victor Patron; Georger Sergio; Fernando Muscolo; Angel "Cucco" Pe¤a; Sammy Garc¡a; Carlos Cabral, Jr.
Ever since rising to fame in the early '90s, Ricardo Arjona changed direction with each successive album and grew increasingly sophisticated not only as a songwriter but also in terms of musical style. Galer¡a Caribe, his fifth full-length studio effort for Sony Music, is a significant departure from its predecessors. In fact, it's an instance of Arjona's grand ambitions finally getting the best of him, resulting in a mish-mash of an album that falls well short of his past four studio efforts. To the consternation of those who long for a return to the bohemian rebel rock of Animal Nocturno (1993), Galer¡a Caribe finds Arjona adopting a tropical music style and performing songs about Caribbean culture and people. His third Sony album, Si el Norte Fuera el Sur (1996), had touches of tropical music, most notably on the hit single "Ella y ?l," but nothing like the full-on Caribbean approach of Galer¡a Caribe. To make matters more complicated, Galer¡a Caribe is split in two. The first nine songs are tropical in style. The remainder of the album is acoustic pop in style and features stripped-down versions of five songs from the first half plus some additional songs, most notably a duet with Ednita Nazario, "Porque Hablamos." On the one hand, the two-sided approach of Galer¡a Caribe is captivating, for you get to hear two versions of a half-dozen songs and consider the differences between them. On the other hand, it's maddening to hear the same bunch of songs twice, even if there are often major distinctions between the versions. Truth be told, Arjona isn't as well suited to tropical music as he is to the sophisticated pop/rock of his past few albums. That's not to say that there aren't some first-rate songs here: "Cuando" and "Mes¡as" in particular are both stellar. Moreover, the lyrics are reason enough for devoted Arjona fans to give Galer¡a Caribe a close listen. Like his past couple albums, Galer¡a Caribe is conceptual and opens with "Carabelas," an evocative song about the Spanish conquistadors and their legacy in the Caribbean. "Caribe en Nueva York" is another interesting song lyrically, as it concerns itself with modern-day society and how people of Caribbean heritage have found a home for themselves in the United States. All in all, Galer¡a Caribe is a curious entry in Arjona's catalog that most fans can overlook without missing much. ~ Jason Birchmeier