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(CABO VERDE, 2006) @
El nombre de Bau se popularizó extraordinariamente tras la inclusión del tema "Raquel" en la banda sonora del film "Hable con Ella". Pero a pesar de que este hecho representó una inmejorable rampa de despegue para su carrera internacional, en la trayectoria del caboverdiano se acumulaban méritos más que suficientes para considerar a Bau como una de las figuras de mayor envergadura de la escena musical de este archipiélago africano.
No en vano, antes de ser reivindicado por Almodóvar, su discografía (que con "Ilha Azul" incluye seis trabajos) ya era un extenso catálogo de bellos pasajes musicales preñados de toda la emoción de la morna y había colaborado con figuras de la talla de Cesaria Evora, a quien produjo "Mar Azul", su álbum más exitoso.
Cape Verde: Jazz - Ilha Azul - Rufino Almeida (bau)
Posted by: editoron Friday, August 11, 2006
CAPE Verdean singer Lura, headliner for Urban Voices last weekend, reminded us that there is more to the music of those melancholy islands than Cesaria Evora. But Evora has provided a focus for interest in Cape Verde, and her tours a showcase for other island talents. Lura used to be her backing singer, and her musical director from 1994 to 1999 was multi-instrumentalist Rufino Almeida, otherwise known as Bau.
Bau was born on Sao Vicente island (also Evora's birthplace) in 1962. His father was an instrument-maker in the port of Mindelo, and gave his son his first instrument, a tiny four-stringed cavaquinho, when the child was only six. Bau (his name was borrowed from a popular local footballer) taught himself to play, and by the 1980s he had graduated to electric guitar and to various cover bands playing zouk and reggae in local bars. But soon he realised: "It was pointless to carry on imitating things from other countries when we could put our hearts into serving traditional music from our country; the music my father played at home."
Bau has just released his sixth album, ILHA AZUL (LUSAFRICA). Although he plays 12-string guitar, cavaquinho, ukulele and violin, on this outing he concentrates on the first two, accompanied on a dozen tracks only by other guitarists and a percussionist.
The album features Bau's own compositions as well as classic morna tracks from the islands and the graceful Sem Pretencoes from Brazilian cavaquinho master Waldir Azevedo. The title track is worthily chosen. Ilha Azul is five minutes of swaying dance that tacks between Portugal and Africa, showing off both lightning fingers and a wonderful sensitivity to the dynamics of the strings.
The music is gentle yet never bland, and skilfully played without any resort to pyrotechnics. Listeners who enjoy the instrumental work of Louis Mhlanga and Eric van der Westen, as well as those whose hearts are touched by the nostalgic mood of saudade or the lyrics of Evora, will find much to relish here.
If you have watched the Almodovar movie Talk To Her, you'll have heard Bau at work; his track Raquel featured in the film. And if you have seen Raoul Peck's Lumumba, your spine will have shivered to the haunting a cappella singing of Senegal-born Julia Sarr, who has also recently released an acoustic album, in this case her first. The film work came out of Sarr's collaboration with Paris-based Congolese artist Lokua Kanza, one of many famous names with whom she has worked. But for her album, SET LUNA (Universal/Sunnyside), she is beside Paris-based flamenco guitarist Patrice Larose.
The duo first appeared on stage together at Carnegie Hall last October, in a showcase hosted by Youssou N'Dour. Critics compared the impact of her debut to that of Miriam Makeba in 1960. In truth, her light, fragile voice is nothing like Makeba's. She combines the rhythmic sensibility of Senegambian tradition with licks recognisably drawn from rhythm and blues and gospel, as well as flamenco-flavoured vocal ornaments. She and Larose create a dialogue between the traditions that is both instantly appealing and richly complex.
For Larose, the fusion sprang naturally from the different musical idioms. "Originally, flamenco came from India, " he told a French music website. "But the funny thing is in Africa you find some rhythms that are the same as flamenco. And in their style of singing, Youssou N'Dour and Salif Keita have something that is really close to (flamenco singer) El Camaron de la Isla." Set Luna has much of the same quiet intricacy that makes Ilha Azul so attractive, and is likely to appeal to the same listeners.
For those for whom listening to CDs is not enough, another Johannesburg weekend rich with live music approaches: this time, in celebration of Women's Day. Lebo Mathosa, Malaika, Thandiswa, Dorothy Masuka, Octavia Rachabane and Lira are only some of the artists showcased, at Newtown venues including the Bassline, Nicky's Oasis, Carfax and Shivava tomorrow and on Saturday. And while you're filling in your diary, you might like to note the arrival of another jazz venue in town. Barringtons in Killarney Mall has announced that it will feature afternoon and early-evening jazz on the last Sunday of every month. In July, the featured artist was Andile Yenana, and the venue was packed: an indication of the city's persistent hunger for the jazz genre.
Tracks 1 Ponta do Sol 2 Sem Pretensoes 3 Mazurka 4 Ilha Azul listen 5 Um Porta Aberte 6 Ve Se Gostas 7 Vida Torturod 8 Na Baixa Do Sapateiro 9 Pa Djedje 10 Muralha listen 11 Junior 12 Sereia