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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

Buika

By Nils Jacobson
Published February 19, 2008

Mi Nina Lola
Casa Limon/Warner Music Latina

Buika grew up as Concha Buika in a gypsy community on Spanish Mallorca, and made her mark in Madrid by combining flamenco music with jazz, soul and other idioms. Flamenco vocals are prone to out-of-control emotional bursts, often manifested in hoarse, piercing eruptions during moments of peak intensity. On her second full-length, the singer deviates from tradition by reining in the chaos to highlight more diverse stylistic hybrids producer Javier Limón, who’s known for this sort of thing (with Bebo Valdés and Paco De Lucía, among others), undoubtedly helped shape these qualities. The album’s 11 tracks are a mix of traditional coplas and original compositions, fl owing fluidly together from start to finish. And while Buika’s melodic, dark and sandpapery voice is utterly lush and virtuosic, manifesting impressive range and control (not to mention consistency), she also never completely shies away from flamenco’s power—as heard to stirring effect on the title track and the album’s closer “Jodida Pero Contenta.” This is outstanding, unique and entrancing stuff.