Wednesday, November 11, 2009

In Review--Trovadores

Marta Topferova
World Village

Marta Topferova’s third recording for World Village, Trova focuses on the traditional Cuban sound—mainly sones and trovas, but makes a few excursions to South America. Marta returns with her cuatro while adding guitar and maracas on this recording. Aaron Halvo (accordion, très, vocals), Roland Satterwhite (violin, vocals), Pedro Giraudo (bass, vocals) and Neil Ochoa (traditional Latin percussion) round it off the sweet Caribbean (Come and Walk to the Hill), and South American sounds (The Fireflies).

Marta’s vocals sound warmer and lighter on Trova then on previous recordings—a mixture of honey and cinnamon. True to the trova and son traditions, poetry plays a central role either portrayed as Marta’s spiritual yearnings or the poetry of others reflecting on nature, love or transcendence over pain such as in the Pablo Raùl Trullenque and Carlos Carabajal’s Come to My Place without Knocking. The lyrical content radiates a wistful feeling, like clouds passing across the sky or the sun peeking through after a storm.

While many of the songs on the recording find roots in Cuban guitar and rhythms, Madrugada (Dawn) reflects back to Marta’s previous World Village albums, Flor Nocturna and La Marea with its cuatro tinge and Columbian-Venezuelan influences. The upbeat rebel-rousing Come to My Place without Knocking also falls into South American musical territory. I can imagine listeners kicking their heels up to this one with Satterwhite swinging away on violin and Ochoa bringing out a battery of Latin percussion, including a bombo and pandeiro. The vocal and guitar rhythms empower the song further. My favorite song, Mar y Cielo (the Sea and the Sky) ends the recording on a passionate note.

The songs are relaxing and even sedate with the exception of the rousing song in that falls in the middle of the recording. Listening to Trova certainly takes the rough edges off of the life experience. I have already listened to this advance copy several times and I feel delighted to add another one of Marta’s treasures to my collection. Kudos!

World Village

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