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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

FRANCISCO CESPEDES

By Ernest Barteldes
Published September 22, 2005

Autorretrato
Warner Latina

In his latest release (recorded in Havana), Cuban singer/songwriter Francisco Cespedes offers his listeners what sounds like a deep personal portrait, delivering a collection of sentimental songs that appear to come from within the singer’s soul, all performed with simple arrangements that rarely include more than one instrument. Many of the mostly original songs have love as their central theme, such as the beautiful “Dicen” (They Say): “They say you dance through the night/They say you have the colors of the night/They say you are a fantasy/... They say you are my true love.” He also covers the classic “Quiéreme Mucho” and “Bésame Mucho,” delivering them in a much slower tempo than the many other versions of the song, making both songs sound much more like a lament than a declaration of devotion. The highly sentimental “Lloras Vida” sounds almost like a tribute to Dorival Caymmi, for he seems to borrow a lot of the vocal lyricism and instrumental treatment usually given to the recordings by the Brazilian composer.

See also

   JAGUARES