Lágrimas Negras

Lágrimas Negras

4.5 2
by Bebo & Cigala, Bebo & Cigala
     
 

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This slight, unassuming gem is more than it seems. The initial hook is the odd-couple pair of Cuban pianist Bebo Valdés, the octogenarian père of Chucho, and Diego "El Cigala," the young flamenco vocalist. The initial expectations may be that the two would attempt some kind of flamenco-son fusion. But that's not what's happened at all. El Cigala merely interprets the… See more details below

Overview

This slight, unassuming gem is more than it seems. The initial hook is the odd-couple pair of Cuban pianist Bebo Valdés, the octogenarian père of Chucho, and Diego "El Cigala," the young flamenco vocalist. The initial expectations may be that the two would attempt some kind of flamenco-son fusion. But that's not what's happened at all. El Cigala merely interprets the warhorses of the Latin American songbook -- it's like a scene out of an Almodóvar movie, an absurd and tender meeting in a piano bar between an elderly black man and a young, long-haired rock deity. But wait! The pair have stumbled upon something of aesthetic and musicological significance that lasts long after the disc's sweetly brief running time. It's hard to argue with the tension of opposites manifest in the cantaor's rough-hewn vocals - even with his whisper, you could file your nails -- and the courtly touch of the veteran piano player. Astringent and soothing, it's like lemon and honey, ginger and jasmine. Musicologically, the pair pay tribute to underappreciated sympathies. The bolero -- the ballad tradition of Cuba and, by extension, Mexico, Argentina, and Puerto Rico -- is often thought to be the most "Spanish" form of the island's miscegenated music. But in fact, this form, with its antecedents in French dance, African rhythms, and Islamic poetry, is as much a mix as the Afro-Cuban Valdés and Spanish Gypsy Cigala. The hybrid's been there forever, and the duo make it sound that way, too. Listen through the ages, and hear the deep, tango bass lines hailing from Africa, the ornaments imported from Europe, the dueling Moorish poets of al-Andaluz. This is musical paleontology at its loveliest.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Lágrimas Negras (Black Tears) is a collaborative effort between the octogenarian Cuban piano master Bebo Valdés and the reigning Spanish flamenco cantador, Diego El Cigala. Recorded for Fernando Trueba and Nat Chediak's Calle 54 label, the sessions took place in Madrid between September and December 2002. Maestro Valdés (born in 1918), the father of the jazz pianist Chucho, has a long history as an innovator in Cuban music. He recorded the first Afro-Cuban jazz session in 1952, and was a tutor to the great bandleader Beny Moré, writing early charts for him. Valdés is also a world-class arranger. Diego El Cigala was born in 1960, and has become the undisputed king of Spain's flamenco singers. This recording features nine tracks that meld together cooking son, jazz, Afro-Caribbean, and flamenco rhythms, in tunes by composers such as Lolita de la Colina, Virgilio and Homero Expósito, Ramón Perelló, the grand team of Tom Jobim and Vinícius de Moraes, Caetano Veloso (who makes a guest appearance), Maria Teresa Vera, Miguel Matamoros (who composed the title track), and others. Most are Cuban ballads. Guests such as Veloso, Paquito D'Rivera, Pancho Terry, Tata Güines, and El Niño Josele fall by on different tracks. And while the tunes are top-shelf and the guests make this a very special and historic occasion, it is the unusual dynamic and the integrity with which it is employed that makes this set so unique. Valdés' style is an elegant one; his rhythmic left hand accents rhythms and shifts them effortlessly, adding street and nuance here, space and tension there. Always his notes are sure, precise, and solid. El Cigala's voice is a true cantador's; he wavers, lilts, growls, and gutturally moans; he slips between rhythms and melodies, underscoring first one and then another, using the rhythms to sing counterpoint to the piano's stridency and sheer graceful approach in the ballads, shouting assent and further challenges on the uptempo sons. Together, the combination is its own moving poetry, meeting in the middle of a tradition as old as flamenco's "cante jondo" and as integrated as Cuba's. The sacred and profane dine and drink together and no one will say which is which. All nine songs offer differing emphases on lyric and rhythm, all offer variant harmonic concerns, but they all contain the spirit of the "duende." While there isn't a mediocre second on this album and all of the performances are breathtaking, "Lágrimas Negras" and "Corazón Loco" are clear standouts. This is destined to be a classic, and hopefully a gateway to more experiments like this one.

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Product Details

Release Date:
06/22/2004
Label:
Rca Victor
UPC:
0828765591027
catalogNumber:
55910
Rank:
20855

Related Subjects

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Bebo & Cigala   Primary Artist
Bebo Valdés   Piano,Vocals
Caetano Veloso   Vocals
Paquito d'Rivera   Alto Saxophone
Milton Cardona   Coro
Javier Colina   Bass,Double Bass
Orlando "Puntilla" Rios   Coro
Tata Güines   Conga
Niño Josele   Guitar
Pedro Martinez   Coro
Federico Britos   Violin
Changuito   Timbales
Rickard Valdés   Cajon
Israel "Piraña" Porrina   Cajon
Pancho Terry   Chekere
Diego el Cigala   Vocals
Bebo & Cigala   Primary Artist
Dieguito El Cigala   Vocals

Technical Credits

Jim Anderson   Engineer
Eric Schilling   Engineer
Alan Silverman   Mastering
Pepe Loeches   Engineer
Fernando Trueba   Producer,Executive Producer
Nat Chediak   Executive Producer
Javier Limón   Producer,Engineer

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