Cuban born singer and Yoruba priestess offers deep, spiritual grooves tinged with...
Nick Reynolds 2003-04-09
Fancy some deep Latin grooves?
We are talking really deep here. Bobi Cespedes is a singer and priestess of the Yoruba Afro Cuban religion, and a force on the Latin music scene in the USA for a number of years with her group Conjunto Cespedes. This is her first solo album. The music here is rooted in this particular religion: this accounts for its warmth, depth and subtly uplifting quality. The pace is slow, relaxed, unhurried and soothing.
There are drum machines, guitars and synthesisers but always tastefully deployed alongside more traditional Latin sounds and structures. There's plenty of space for Bobi to move around in the grooves. Although sometimes her singing may not be always technically perfect, her rich, deep voice is a stately, elegant reassuring presence throughout.
Standout tracks include "Como Te Extrano" with a fantastic guitar riff, a lovely set of chord changes and Bobi gliding against the beat so sweetly. When I first got this CD I just had to play this one track over and over and over again. It just swings and swings and swings...
"Anoche", with its lovely Latin piano is another highlight, although this is one album which sets up a mood, sticks with it and should be played in full.
Music which is rooted in a particular religious or cultural tradition can be deeply reassuring. Whether it's religious chanting from Tibetan monks or a Malian griot telling and retelling the stories of her people in music, this music feels solid and strong. You can rely on it. The album ends with a traditional chant (just voice and percussion) to Ogun, one of the chief deities of the Yoruba religion. In a world gone wrong, Bobi gives praise to the source.