Hecho a Mano (Hand Made)

Hecho a Mano (Hand Made)

5.0 1
by Albita
     
 
In the nine years since she left her Cuban homeland for the glitz of Miami, Albita Rodriguez has undergone a dizzying series of transformations. From the androgynous ingénue dazzling celebrities at Miami Beach clubs to the reverential interpreter of son guajiro under the wing of Latin powerhouse Emilio Estefan to the iconoclastic artist who emerges on Hecho

Overview

In the nine years since she left her Cuban homeland for the glitz of Miami, Albita Rodriguez has undergone a dizzying series of transformations. From the androgynous ingénue dazzling celebrities at Miami Beach clubs to the reverential interpreter of son guajiro under the wing of Latin powerhouse Emilio Estefan to the iconoclastic artist who emerges on Hecho a Mano (Hand Made), Albita has lapped her heavily manicured compatriots in Latin music. Her latest album makes the case that all those changes were largely cosmetic, however, for within these stripped-down, nearly lo-fi, arrangements the kernel of Albita's talent remains the same. Her robust alto, confidently declaiming poetry on "Son Sin Concepto" and delivering hot improvisations on "Aunque No Entiendan," seems to compress all that is Cuba into one powerful exhalation. The pop trappings of her earlier work have been shunted to one side as powerful dance vamps share space with acoustic Latin pop on "No Me Niegues Verte," delivered with panache by a jazzy five-piece ensemble that spotlights traps drummer Fernando Pina and the trumpets of Francisco Gambeiro and William Polledo. It's an update on the conjunto sound minted by Arsenio Rodriguez (no relation) that's flexible enough to tackle son, rumba, the occasional timba breakdown, and more than a dose of fusion. The very studiousness exuded by the band and the intimate tone of the material lend Hecho a Mano a hushed, café swing, a far cry from the conga-line rave-ups of hits such as "Que Manera de Quererte." But fans of this talented artist will recognize the album for what it is -- a pure dose of Albita, expressing a pop vision deeply rooted in the music, poetry, and people of Cuba. Sounds like she's found her long-sought freedom at last.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Chris Nickson
Albita made her reputation as a singer of political Cuban nueva cancion music. But along the way she's recorded in plenty of different styles, and even abandoned her native land in favor of life in the U.S., which had a great effect on her popularity at home. What she's never really done before is expose her inner life in song. Hecho a Mano corrects that, stripping down her sound to the point where she's accompanied by a small, simple group, with her guitar and vocals very much front and center on material from her own pen (she also produced the disc). It's as autobiographical as it's possible to get, explaining her belief in Santeria on "La Magia De Ochun" and "Andan Diciendo Por Ahi," and becoming emotional on the moving bolero "Yo Quisiera." But it's all done without the histrionics that had been a hallmark of her earlier work. The band works supply behind her, heightening her son and timba material with an easy grace. The highlight of the whole album, though, has to be "Son Sin Concepto," a blistering harangue on the Cuban politics in Miami that veers between a lovely melody and an edgy rapped chorus to make a very complete track -- albeit one whose subject matter seems slightly out of place against the rest. But this, you have to feel, is the album she's wanted to make for years (some of the material dates back to the mid-'80s). And it doing so, she's created an artistic triumph

Product Details

Release Date:
05/21/2002
Label:
Times Square Records
UPC:
0738572902728
catalogNumber:
9027
Rank:
301839

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Formas
  2. Yo Quisiera
  3. Aunque No Se Entiendan
  4. Son Sin Concepto
  5. No Me Niegues Verte
  6. Muriendo de Amor
  7. La Magia de Ochun
  8. La Ciudad Esta Dificil Sin Ti
  9. Por el Amor de Dios
  10. Vivo
  11. Andan Diciendo Por Ahi

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Hecho a Mano (Hand Made) 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This CD is pure Albita. This one is her best. A true artist and master of the cuban ''Son''. She really does not need the Estefan's to make good music.