Saturday, October 11, 2008

In Review--Musica Colombia!

Lucia Pulido
Luna Menguante
Adventure Music

Ever since I heard Marta Gomez and Toto La Momposina's tracks on Putumayo Presents Women of Latin America, I have fallen in love with the rich polyphonic rhythms, vocal styles and instruments of Colombia. Then after listening to Marta Topferova play these rhythms on her cuatro, my love for this music grew even more immense.

Lucia Pulido hails from Colombia so those rhythms and vocal styles swim in her blood. She and the musicians in her band reside in New York City, where I hear a strong South American community exists. Her recording, Waning Moon (luna menguante), combines sultry urban jazz with traditional music. Pulido contributes not only spellbinding vocals, especially the magical vocals that resemble Baka pygmy yodels, but she also plays that wonderful South American lute, the cuatro, along with percussion.

Of course when I say maracas, and we are talking about maraca playing from places like Venezuela and Colombia, I must mention that the players from those countries are virtuoso. Sebastian Cruz comes on board with guitar, maraca, cymbals, Adam Kolker plays a mean clarinet and flute, Stomu Takeishi brings in that jazzy bass and Ted Poor plays drums and tambora. As you can see from that instrument lineup, this is not your traditional Colombian fare. It feels much more international, fresh, raw and alive--and that is saying a lot.

The Thatch-roofed Canoe, The River King and the South American favorite, Full Moon Song stand out as favorites for me. However, I am enjoying this entire album, its twists and turns, its percussive grooves (if I can use that word), and Pulido's vocal phrasing. The rich timbre of her voice alone creates a worthwhile musical journey. And she will take her listeners all over the place--some times she send them soaring. It's a journey you don't want to miss.


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