Raúl Monsalve has spent most of his life exploring the Afro-Venezuelan music of his home country, learning, and understanding everything that has been put into this sound for centuries. He’s dedicated his time on this spinning rock to studying not just the music, but the percussionists themselves who have built the foundation for the music itself. So when it came time to put out his latest release Raúl Monsalve y Los Forajidos’ Bichos, he gathered a who’s who of top-notch players, an all-star cast that includes Betsayda Machado (“the voice of Venezuela”), singer Luzmira Zerpa (Family Atlantica) and drummer Dave De Rose (Agile Experiments, Moloko, Mark Ronson). Enlisting the fearless and multi-talented Malcolm Catto to produce (who isn’t he producing or making music with in 2020?), Monsalve would go on to bring together fellow musicians from Venezuela, London, and Paris to put this record together. Combining the exciting and fascinating sound of indigenous roots music from Venezuela, Latin jazz, experimental electronic music, and afrobeat among others, the record was born. Ripe with Latin rhythms and hot percussion, there is nary a track on this nine-song record that does not smoke. We are not joking. What’s even better, is that this is a serious introduction to Raúl Monsalve and his music, as well as a cast of unknown musicians you have never heard of, but if you’re like us, will search liner notes and internet corners to get every last scrap about this talented lot. We’re drawn to tracks like “Pa’los Maestros”, “Bocon”, and “La Mariposa”, but let’s face it, this record is strong all the way through. Listen to the record below, and purchase after the stream. Digital for now, but the vinyl is on the way!