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Sunday, July 24, 2005


Adassa: "Kamasutra"

As with any musical genre that becomes popular overnight, reggaeton, the Spanish-language hip-hop form that has taken Latin America by storm, is much bigger than any of its individual stars, who are often difficult to distinguish amid the synthesized beats and rapid-fire, dancehall-style rapping.

Call it a gimmick, but Adassa's appropriation of Middle Eastern and Asian motifs helps her stand out. The Indian flutes that snake through the title cut of her second album "Kamasutra" lend reggaeton's rote sexual overkill a slinkier quality without damping the suggestiveness. Likewise, the Sufi-like touches that anchor the low-key killer "Dime Macacita" and the pounding Lisa Maffia duet "Ya No Soy Tu Mujer" become stubbornly lodged in your head before the potent beats and Adassa's assertive vocals make themselves felt in the lower regions of your body.

Cooler in all senses of the word and more fun than the gangsta-influenced male singers of reggaeton, the Miami-born Adassa seems the best bet to promote the genre outside the Western hemisphere.

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