Yusa: Haiku

[30 June 2008]

By Brendon Griffin

Plenty of Brazilian artists have a Spanish language number or two tucked away in their catalogue—it’s rarer to find a Hispanic singer tackling Brazil. On her third album for the Bristol-based Tumi label, Cuban troubadour Yusa finds a tentative middle ground, flossed with the kind of determinedly tasteful production talent Alê Siqueira has previously lavished on the likes of Bebel Gilberto. It’s not a sound Yusa’s healthy Afro and bass-playing background might suggest, nor one which betrays much of the old-school heat many Western listeners—for better or worse—have come to associate with Havana, bur rather more a kind of Latina-contemporary spin on Tasmin “Sleeping Satellite” Archer. Not necessarily a bad thing, especially when Siqueira turns up a genuinely atmospheric, Fender-blinking arrangement like “Mínimum”, or an Os Tribalistas-esque strumalong like “Sirvió de Algo?”. Still, you’re left with the feeling that the percussive shakedowns of “Conga Pasajera” and “Gente Simple”—(relatively) tame as they are—light Yusa’s fire in a way a string part never will.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/yusa-haiku/