After watching Peruvian singer Susana Baca perform on an open stage in burning heat with malfunctioning equipment, one can’t help but respect Baca not only as a voice but as a performer, as a person. She had a reason to be irritable. Instead, she showed the elegant good cheer of a movie star in an early talkie. Her character comes through in Seis Poemas, a short album that sees her evoke her way through six songs with a combination of grace, sinew and, nowadays, age—the sixtysomething years that have passed through her mouth have left her with a slight, softening hiss that does distinctive things to the pronunciation of her S’s. The alertness of her delivery brings out those bits of roughage that make the voice hers. There is a nice rapport between this sensitivity and the more mechanical, though acoustic, slap of the percussion. Seis Poemas draws inspiration from Lorca and the Afro-Peruvian singer Chabuca Granda, who died in 1983. A small album but a charming one.
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