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World Music CD Reviews Europe

Amparanoia

By Nils Jacobson
Published March 16, 2007

La Vida Te Da
Wrasse 171X (CD+DVD)

SPAIN

The prime force behind Amparanoia is Amparo Sanchez, who moved from Granada to Madrid in the mid-’90s and has recently drawn the public’s attention. Her new album, curiously enough, was recorded in Basque Country, which may have something to do with Sanchez’s outspoken political orientation (and/or her fascination with the Zapatista movement in Mexico). These 13 “studio live” tracks are all very much focused around her direct, if not particularly colorful, lyrics, which usually deal with love and relationships, wisdom and action. (The liner notes include full English translations.) This is pure pop, no doubt about that, but what makes it interesting and fun are the unusual combinations of styles and moods. “Sacaron Agua” mixes crowing roosters with polyrhythmic jams and a horny R&B interlude. “Tiempo pa mi” rolls out as a romantic piano cabaret piece, then segues (‘y ahora... viene la rumba!”) into a furiously percussive Afro-Cuban rumble. Clever!