Concha Buika is clearly no longer the little girl of fire, showing... that she is...
St.John de-Zilva 2008-06-05
Despite the title, Concha Buika is clearly no longer the little girl of fire, showing with grace and passion that she is courageous and self-aware enough to expose her soul around the juerga. Many commentators are giving her the mantle of the new flamenco starlet. Yet on this LP she proves - guided by the sensitive and poignant direction of producer Javier Limón - that she can lend her sun-drenched, oaky voice both to the traditional and the fusion.
Embellished by Limón's purposeful guitar and the exquisitely adroit piano playing of Ivan Lewis, her third album is really a pleasure to behold. Produced with understanding and wisdom, Limón allows Buika to express her inner anguish, adding lines and chords to coax her into further introspection.
Their rendition of Volver Volver is notable for this, as is the tender, self-penned Miénteme Bien. Accompanied by Lewis, whose light touch and sense of gaiety cleverly adds an almost swing-like foil, the mournful Concha is now a clear distance from the hotels of Las Vegas or the house clubs of Mallorca.
The title track, originally written by Caracol, puts Buika around the campfire, warming to her past and maybe her roots; more soulful and eased along by muted trumpet. In a sense this is new flamenco, but Culpa Mia shows her ability to adapt rhythmically. From the palmas intro to the gypsy-like rumba ending, the track triumphs in its anticipation of a climax, only to be knowingly faded out by Limón. The effect is an almost forced contemplation of the gravitas of ensuing Miénteme Bien.
The troupe becomes the sums of its parts with No Habrá Nadie En El Mundo, and floats to the arabesque and beyond with Volverás. However, María Concepción Balboa Buika is at her most poignant when exposed with only Limón or Lewis as accompaniment. Looking beyond the mirror, she funnels her essence into her voice. Other critics have compared her with Simone, Vaughn or even Gray. Earnest she is, and maybe being a late developer the Schadenfreude will come later. Until then she has no need to do it any other way.