Second in an ongoing attempt to get you to try some great World music from different cultures and nations is my entreaty to get you to listen to Amparo Sánchez’s album “Tucson-Habana” – an exceptional mix of soulful ballads and good ol’ pop.
She lists Janis Joplin, Edith Piaf, Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, Calexico, T-Bone Burnett, Etta James and Cat Power amongst her influences and some of these come through forcefully on this album of soulful ballads that never strays far from some strong Latin flavours. This album
was recorded in 2009 and has been available for a while. Amparo’s band, Amparanoia, supported Calexico six years ago and a musical friendship was born. She is ably assisted by Joey Burns (guitar) and John Convertino (drums) of Calexico on this album and, with a suite of first class musicians, her first solo album is a highly satisfying listen indeed.
Production is crystal clear. Maybe this is where the T-Bone Burnett influence comes in. The opening track, “Aqui Estoy” (Here I am), whirls you straight to spaghetti western with sumptuous guitar chords that will have you spitting out your cheroot into the dust.
There is passion here and the ballads are sung with a heartfelt simplicity and clarity that I find very refreshing. Shuffle rhythms and unfussy bass underpin the heart felt stories in these songs.
Mariachi trumpet sweeps above the pulsing passion “Corazon de la Realidad” (Heart of La Realidad) . This contrasts with the sweet and gentle cello and piano accompaniment of “La Gato Bajo La Luvia” (The Cat under the rain) .
This Youtube HD clip of “Turista Accidental” (Accidental Tourist) whisks you to Tucson and was used as the promo for the album, I believe, and is well worth a watch.
There are contrasts here, and perhaps the greatest contrast is between Amparo’s previous work with her indie-rock band and this, her solo effort.
She has a wonderfully evocative voice which can be gentle, tearful, passionate and powerful. How I wish I could find a female Spanish singer to cover “Hoy” (Today) with me – so sexy.
Try it – it’s good. I wish I could roll my “r” s.