An active, playful swing rolls through the spirited “Vacilón Santiaguero” with Kiki Valera y su Son Cubano presenting incredible interplay. They embrace the classics with a style that feels timeless. Vocals have such strength, which nicely results in a communal spirit. Everything here works, from the vast array of instrumentation to the energetic percussion. The production adds to the intimate sense of space, perfectly capturing every flourish. Lead vocals alongside the impressive horn section give the songs so much warmth.

“Este Vacil​ó​n” sets the tone, with a spry tempo leading the way. The decadent sound of “El Aji de Cocina” reveals a spirit of togetherness. A slower, more meditative mood takes hold of the contemplative journey of “Sobre una Tumba una Rumba,” featuring impressive bass work that works on an emotional level. Guitar flourishes adorn the entirety of the lush “La Guajira.” Pure joy dominates the album highlight “Mari-Juana,” as the vocals have so much life behind them, featuring melodies that waft into the sky. The luxurious tenor of “El Empanadillero” wastes no time getting started, diving headfirst into a laid-back, mellow groove. Going for the ornate is the tapestry of “Dos Gardenias,” where the song has a pastoral, natural imagery. Ending the album on a high note is the reflective “El Cuarto de Tula.”

“Vacilón Santiaguero” presents the pure power of Kiki Valera y su Son Cubano as the songs unspool, creating an entire community with character studies adorned with a tropical flair.