Release Date: 01/01/05
Best Latin American songs Performed by: Marina Tafur (soprano) Nigel Foster (piano)
For the most part the Anglo-Saxon world remains disgracefully ignorant about so much serious twentieth-century music from Latin America; and it has been the Cuban-born musician Odaline de la Martinez's avowed intention to spread the word about this music on the Lorelt record label, a by-product of her live music-making with the ensemble Lontano. A wise woman, Martinez has sugared the pill, so to speak, on this new collection by offering first six songs by the best-known composer south of the border, Heitor Villa-Lobos. And one's admiration is as much for the music as for the artists who have recorded it. Cantilena, for example, a short song in two stanzas that is based upon what presumably is a popular poem since no poet is credited in the accompanying booklet. Musically the whole song is grounded in a sequence of simple rocking chords with the voice negotiating its way between them; Marina Tafur offers fine, soft singing, with a truly seductive way with the portamento.
In so many of these songs, particularly those composed by an older generation of Latin Americans, dance rhythms insinuate themselves into the music. The Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona, with Villa-Lobos, is perhaps one of the best-known Latin American musicians from the middle years of the twentieth century (he died in 1963 at the age of 67). He toured Europe and the USA with his band Lecuona's Cuban Boys and a song such as La SeÃ±ora Luna, a surreal affair with Madame Moon wanting to marry a little pageboy from the Royal House, revels in Latin dance syncopations. Here Marina Tafur makes something splendid of the drama in a song that includes an eerie parlando passage in the middle. Clearly Tafur, who was born in Colombia, was also born to this music, but what really impresses is the way in which she husbands her vocal resources in the interests of complete expressivity...
Excerpt from a glowing review by Christopher Cook
|Run Time: 74:35 mins|
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