Espiritu Vivo

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Mark Schwartz
Although the world knew precious little about Afro-Peruvian music when Susana Baca appeared on the seminal Soul of Black Peru, it was obvious that the plaintive voice behind "Maria Landó" belonged to an artist bigger than her local traditions. Apart from her striking delivery, there was the song itself, a hymn to social justice in the vein of Mercedes Sosa, Caetano Veloso, or Silvio Rodriguez, titans of Latin American song to whose ranks Baca would soon ascend. With the moving live document Espíritu Vivo, Baca at times moves so far beyond her native landó, festejo, and alcatráz that she and her accomplished band create their own unique fusion. Guest appearances from ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Mark Schwartz
Although the world knew precious little about Afro-Peruvian music when Susana Baca appeared on the seminal Soul of Black Peru, it was obvious that the plaintive voice behind "Maria Landó" belonged to an artist bigger than her local traditions. Apart from her striking delivery, there was the song itself, a hymn to social justice in the vein of Mercedes Sosa, Caetano Veloso, or Silvio Rodriguez, titans of Latin American song to whose ranks Baca would soon ascend. With the moving live document Espíritu Vivo, Baca at times moves so far beyond her native landó, festejo, and alcatráz that she and her accomplished band create their own unique fusion. Guest appearances from downtown New York jazzbos Marc Ribot on guitar and John Medeski on keys add to the experimental flavor. On the concert favorite Se Me Van Los Pies, Ribot plies a James Brown funk riff; versions of Mongo Santamaria's "Afro-Blue," Veloso's "13 de Mayo," Serge Gainsbourg's "Les Feuilles Mortes," and Björk's "Anchor Song" emerge from Afro-Peruvian rhythm and percussion, but the song choices speak for themselves. The spontaneity of live recording brings out all the warmth and folksiness in Baca's voice; she's surprisingly playful, given the unique circumstances. Recorded in downtown Manhattan during the fateful week of September 11th, Espíritu Vivo captures musicians doing what they do best: offering solace, escape, and expression through beauty and harmony. The elegiac "Toro Mata," made famous by Celia Cruz, is transformed into a confessional as Baca intones "I'll kill no more," over Ribot's atmospheric guitar and sizzling percussion. As all-encompassing as the tragedy was in those first few days, Baca and company manage to gloriously sail through the hurt and confusion to a place of light and love. It's the same instinct that has guided the music of Peru's uprooted, persecuted, and overlooked black population -- even as Susana Baca reaches a new plateau with Espíritu Vivo, her roots are deeper still.
All Music Guide - Chris Nickson
Recorded in New York just after the trauma of 9/11, Espíritu Vivo marries Susana Baca's wonderfully airy vocals and her usual Peruvian backing band with the downtown N.Y.C. sounds of John Medeski and guitarist Marc Ribot -- and it proves to be a wonderful union indeed. Recorded before a small invited audience, this has the immediacy of a live album, with the benefits of the studio, a superb balance of instruments. As usual, most of the material comes from the Afro-Peruvian canon that's Baca's hallmark, but she does draw upon outsiders for three interesting covers: Mongo Santamaria's "Afro Blue," Caetano Veloso's "13 de Mayo," and most surprisingly of all, "Anchor Song" from Björk. But she integrates them perfectly into her style, taking them all to a place they'd never imagined, where her voice can be dreamlike over a simple backing, as on the gorgeous "Si Me Quitaran Totalamente Todo" and "Les Feuilles Mortes," or more rhythmically lively, which she finds on "Caracunde" and "Se Me Van los Pies." Medeski and Ribot work well with the combo, Ribot especially, offering unusual atmospheric licks throughout, while Medeski's Hammond organ offers a warm bed a sound for Baca's voice. Given the time and place of recording, there's an astonishingly transcendental quality to the record, as if Baca is giving every iota of herself to the music, and the players are following her lead. Her best album to date, which is quite a claim.
Rolling Stone - Ernesto Lechner
Baca delivers a cleansing combination of passion and hope.
Billboard
"Baca sings her heart and soul out on this album."

Baca delivers a cleansing combination of passion and hope.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/23/2002
  • Label: Luaka Bop
  • UPC: 724381194621
  • Catalog Number: 11946
  • Sales rank: 84,371

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Susana Baca Primary Artist
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