With the release of their self-titled debut album, in 1998, Colombia-based octet Bloque successfully reached out to an international audience. An energetic, dance-inspiring mix of salsa, rock, blues, and R&B, the album placed fifth on a list of "top albums" compiled by New York Times critics, and first on a list compiled by the Philadelphia Enquirer. Sold-out stadium tours of Latin America followed. Several members of Bloque played together in Latin superstar Carlos Vives' band. Guitarist Teto Ocampo served as Vive's musical director, while guitarist/lead singer Ivan Benavides co-wrote the title track of Vive's album, Tierra Del Olvido. ~ Craig Harris
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