The bomba beat began and I was on my feet moving to the groove along with most of the crowd at the Cedar. Maria Isa combines hip-hop sounds with a full salsa band, politically-charged Spanglish lyrics that flow as seamlessly from English to Spanish as they do from rap to singing, and a body that won’t quite as she moves to beats of the band.
The band was amazing and tight, the bomba beat blended with drums, bomba drums, trumpet, synthesizer, back-up vocalist, and guitar. With ease the band switched music styles from the hip-hop performance of “Die, Not Kill” and an instrumental piece featuring the bomba drum that had everyone on the floor to an ironic lyrical playoff of everyone from the North Star state being so…MN Nice.
Powerful behind the mic and empowering in her lyrics, Maria Isa’s music best embodied the idea of AfriFest, as a coming together of all cultures, and with her band owned the Cedar audience on Saturday.
City Pages reporter Peter Scholtes checks out rising reggaeton star Maria Isa at Babalu, Nov. 16, 2006. With appearances by Desdamona and the b-girls of B-Girl Be.