Esp’ritu Vivo

COMPOSERS: Various
LABELS: Luaka Bop
PERFORMER: Susana Baca (vocals)
CATALOGUE NO: LBCD 38

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In her latest album, SUSANA BACA marks an outward move from her usual agenda of promoting black Peruvian culture. Recorded in Manhattan – by chance in the week of September 11, though without any effect on the repertoire – it grew out of live performances with keyboard player John Medeski and guitarist Marc Ribot joining her own band.

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The results are more broadly Latin, with African roots prominent only for introductions, but the musical chemistry’s the thing, and runs right through a sequence of traditional and contemporary items to the singular experience of a Björk song in Spanish. It’s one of the Icelander’s more introspective numbers and Baca makes it her own after several laid-back tracks, most of them soaringly lyrical, the voice intimate and close-miked.