The Caliente Column

Divino: Sensual
By Doug Shannon (

Two words: "Sexy cumbias."

That's how reviewer Edward Sierra summed up Alejandro "Divino" Lopez's
third album "Sensual."

"Some of the lyrics were really sensuous," Divino agreed. "The songs all
had soft, laid-back melodies and tempoes."

A perfect example is the churning, bass-heavy cumbia "Lloraras" which
made Billboard's Hot Latin Tracks chart.

"Divino" was originally the name of Lopez's group, which formed in Houston
in 1990. None of the original members remain, so he took the stage name
"Divino" and began to be promoted as a solo artist. He's 23 and single.

After recording two CDs for EMI Latin, "Out Of Control" and "Unstoppable,"
Divino and his manager Sue Gonzales decided to hook up with FonoVisa's
new Tejano division.

"It seemed like the chemistry just wasn't there with EMI. I felt myself
wanting to broaden my horizons. FonoVisa's an excellent company and
they've treated us really well," he said.

FonoVisa is aggressively marketing its newly acquired Tejano acts such
as Divino, La Fuerza, and The Hometown Boys.

"We had carte blanche to do whatever we wanted to," Divino said.

The creative freedom he's been given is yielding some eye-popping results.

For example, Divino and his manager are auditioning female dancers to add
a unique element to his live show.

There's plenty of eye candy on the CD cover, too. Right below the cover
photo of Divino kissing a model, there's a tongue-in-cheek "warning
label" cautioning listeners about the aphrodisiac qualities of the music.

"It was a concept," he said. "It's designed to make you wonder what's in
there, to catch people's attention. There aren't any bad words in the CD."

The liner contains more sexy photos, but unfortunately no production or
studio information.

It turns out that Divino produced and arranged the music himself. It was
recorded at Houston's Rivendell Studios.

"Even though there are many styles of music on there, it wasn't really
a band project," he said. "There was one mind at work."

The hip-hop tune "Acostumbrado A Ti" started out much differently, he

"That song was sent from Spain," he said. "It was a bolero; it had no
hook at all. So I put the 'Sin ti, oh yeah,' in there, and we had a

Variety came at the expense of custom as "Sensual" contains only two

"We thought that if we stayed within a certain boundary which may be
closer to the international side, maybe we'll still get airplay on
the Tejano stations," he said.

At dances he's often on the bill with Regional Mexican acts such as
Lalo y Los Descalzos, but Tejano stations like KXTN play his music, too.
Time will tell if he can satisfy both markets.

"God willing, we're going to cross over totally into Mexico and even
into the English market," he said.