Spain-born Buika has a vast flamenco voice that sounds ready to thrash anything and go anywhere, off to Mexico with Chavela Vargas songs in her 2009 album El Ultimo Trago and a bit more north for this one, Miami jazz-influenced all the way through and not quite so indebted to the singers whose songs she’s paying tribute to. The Mexican sob pulls back and flamenco floods in—she’s well-padded with accompaniments but the willingness to strip yourself is still there in the singing—the excitement over the carolling, hurdling voice in “La Nave del Olvido” is quickly redistributed into the complicated ice of a jazz piano in “La Noche Más Larga”. Her vigour kicks around in “Don’t Explain” by Billie Holiday and I realize that the tiredness in Holiday’s voice had an incalculable instrumental value. Buika has soft moments, delicate moments, but never tired moments. She can’t stay still long enough, the voice leaping at the walls of “Yo Vengo A Ofrecer Mi Corazón” by Frito Paez and steamrolling the man’s original gentle murmur with its thrilled strength.
// Notes from the Road
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