Paints pictures of magical landscapes with rhythms of love & light
Playing Time – 63:05 -- Born in Peru but currently living in New York, jazz vocalist and percussionist Corina Bartra shows the varied influence of her upbringing and life encounters. By the third cut, Bartra’s original “Enlightened Heart,” we realize that the primary goal of the band’s Afro-Peruvian and Latin Jazz music is to paint pictures of magical landscapes full of rhythms of love and light. Bartra sings with vigor and clarity, and there’s a diminutive ache in her voice on a song like Lennon and McCartney’s “Black Bird.” A healthy amount of original material makes up their repertoire, and it seems that many of Bartra’s songs exhibit lament or hope with messages like “Peace Loving People Are On The Rise.” The band is both rhythmically and melodically propulsive. The repertoire is quite enchanting with it various popular Peruvian rhythms such as the Marinera, Lando, Baiao and the Festejo. In 6/8 time (like an Irish jig), the Marinera is an intricate and elegant dance of courtship. The Lando comes from an African fertility dance called the Landu, and the Festejo is a celebratory song and dance in a fast 6/8.
Afro-Peruvian music, song and dance had its orgins with African slaves brought to the Spanish colony of Peru in the 16th century. As Peruvian slaves assimilated the culture and language of their new country, Afro-Peruvian music became a unique blend of Spanish, Andean and African traditions. While hundreds of years old, the music has experienced somewhat of a resurrgence within the past three decades. Because the Africans weren’t allowed to play their own instruments, simple household items became percussion instruments. A hardwood wooden box called the cajon is one such instrument that is thought to have originated in Peru. On “Bambu Sun,” the tone and slap of the cajon are provided by Perico Diaz or Oscar Torres. Diaz also offers thr traditional percussion sounds of the cajita and the quijada de burro. A small wooden box, the cajita is played with a stick while the other hand opens and shuts the top rhythmically to the music. The quijada is a donkey's jaw that is played by striking the wide part of the jaw with the fist to obtain a rattle sound. Other instrumentalists on the album include Cliff Kirman (piano), Jay Rodriquez (sax, flute), David Hertzberg (bass), Rufus Reid (bass), Vince Cherico (drums), Math Baranello (drums) and Oscar Hoyos (guitar).
Bartra’s danceable music has an organic sound of cross-cultural fusion. It illustrates a healthy respect of tradition along with original, contemporary presentations.T he Lando at track 11, Bartra’s “Magia y Ritmo Ancestral” (Magic and Ancestral Rhythm) refers to the liberating dance of the wind, sand, sun. This may be the crowing moment on this project because this sentiment so accurately captures the objective of Bartra and Azu’s magical music. (Joe Ross, Roseburg, OR.)