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Mi Tierra

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If you can’t afford a cruise to the Caribbean but long for a tropical escape, invest a few bucks instead in Gloria Estefan’s first all-Spanish album. Mi Tierra (”My Land”) will whirl you through an intoxicating landscape of traditional Cuban rhythms and aromatic flavors, with Estefan as intimate tour guide. Her always-beguiling soprano takes on extra vibrancy in these lilting melodies flavored with equal parts jazz, salsa, and Afro-Cuban. Moods flow from intense yearning (the title track and first single, a meditation on longing for one’s homeland) to delightful abandon (”Si Senor”) and back. First-rate musicians along for the ride include bassist Israel ”Cachao” Lopez, saxophonist Paquito D’Rivera, and percussionists Tito Puente and Sheila E. Best of all, since the mood and melodies speak all languages, even non-Spanish-speakers can revel in this fiesta.