This week I thought I’d stray slightly from the hip hop and R&B track and share a new treasure that I have chanced upon. It’s been a five-year long hiatus from the studio for Concha Buika, but thankfully June 2013 brought the release of the latest stylings from the Mallorcan songstress. Buika’s music is a compelling, heady mix of flamenco, jazz, soul, afrocuban and Timba stylings that perhaps stems from her experience growing up in Mallorca with Equitorial Guinea ancestry.
Where to start with La Noche Más Larga? Hearing this album for the first time was one of those rare moments in which you hear new music so engrossing that you lapse out of reality and get taken away for a few moments (or in this case, all 12 songs). I don’t need to know a word of Spanish to understand what Buika is singing about – all is conveyed perfectly through the power and dynamic emotion in the tone of her voice.
The title song, La Noche Más Larga is the first awakening that this is not an easy-listening jazz/flamenco fusion album. Buika’s powerhouse of a voice absolutely envelopes the listener in a smoky, soaring whirlwind of passion, caressing the lyrical melodies of pianist Ivan Lewis with her earthy, improvised wanderings.
The flamenco-flavoured version of Ne Me Quitte Pas is another standout – her voice soars effortlessly over a 12/8 feel with Lewis’ insistent continuous melody heightening the anticipation of each next bar, which gives the song this great driving force. While the prospect of singing to this kind of unrelenting time-feel would have most vocalists running for the hills, it doesn’t seem to pose a challenge for Buika. Rather, it seems the musicians are playing catch-up to Buika’s melody. Someway around the 3-minute mark into the 7 minute track, the listener is hit by a chorus of harmonising Buikas. It is impossible not to be encased in the swirling waterfall of harmonious, velvety voices.
In my opinion, there are no “bad” or unnecessary tracks on this album – each song has been strategically placed to complement the overall listening experience, and it has definitely worked. I could write a thesis on how good this album is but I’m positive no-one would read it. Point is, go and listen.
You can stream the entirety of La Noche Más Larga here.
- Buika: Tiny Desk Concert (npr.org)
- Singing the Flamenco Blues: The Unique Sound of Concha Buika (theculturetrip.wordpress.com)