Carmen Cuesta, last time out explored bossa rhythms in Mi Bossa Nova (here) and then literally returned to her homeland, Spain, to properly embrace the land and its distinctive bolero form for this release, Toda Una Vida, In that, she's produced a disc of beauty from another continent, an album of spirited, reflective, traditional, and warm compositions featuring well versed Madrid musicians and one other key ingredient: her husband, guitarist Chuck Loeb, a guy who knows his way around just about every musical form.
In the past, Loeb has worked with the top names of the music biz and shown he can crank with the rockers, complex things up with the fusioneers, lay back with the folkies, and bop with the jazzbos. Heck, he's taken on Broadway, the classicalists, and whatever came his way, but, in Toda, he sticks with an acoustic and a much toned down electric, letting fans in on the further reaches of a delicacy not often invoked in wilder formats. The ambiances of those instruments matches his wife's filigreed tones—give a listen to Eu Sei Que Vou Te Amar for just one example in sweeping style—while calling up the land of balmy days, matadors, roses in teeth, wine, and views of Toledo.
The title cut closes the CD, translates as A Lifetime or For a All of a Lifetime, and is the most subtly and quietly dramatic selection, a softly passionate rendering paced to allow Cuesta's voice to rise into the skies while treading the earth, suspended between hope and heartbreak. Then there's the profoundly reflective El Día Que Me Quieras (The Day of My Love, if my greatly lacking Spanish is correct), another song provoking the listener to pause in wistfulness. But there's also No Te Confundas and other lighthearted tracks, sweetly jazzy and aimed for a weekend afternoon spiced with Chuck's Spanish stylings in the middle eight. Moreover, every line from start to finish is sung in Spanish to retain linguistic nuances, not to mention the poetic rhythmatics that would suffer in translation, and Cuesta's voice is perpetually smooth, contemplative, immaculately sonorous. If more than once you're reminded of Sergio Mendes, that'll be because she blends pop elements so adeptly that the transition becomes fluid to a degree that's nearly invisible, Quizás, Quizás, Quizás perhaps the most subtle of the confluence of everything going on in Toda Una Vida.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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