The fruit of Lagrimas Mexicanas
is one born of mutual respect and collaboration between two distinct music icons. Bill Frisell
's trajectory has spanned the paths of jazz and Americana, becoming one of the most respected guitarists in the business. A fine guitarist in his own right, but more noted for his heartthrob vocals, Brazilian singer-songwriter Vinicius Cantuaria
has released a number of popular recordings and worked with names ranging from Marc Ribot
to Ryuichi Sakamoto
Influenced by New York City's diverse Spanish-speaking culture, the timing was right for Cantuária and Frisell, who had worked together in the past, to fully develop the project. Their unique hybrid, which includes improvisational music and songs with lyrics mixed in Portuguese, Spanish, and English, is at once intriguing, yet surprisingly mellow, in contrast to Cantuária's Horse and Fish
(Bar None Records, 2004) and Frisell's The Intercontinentals
(Nonesuch, 2003). But it's the artists' careful attention to detaildelicate layers of electronica juxtaposed with acoustic instruments and Cantuária's sultry incantationsthat creates an affable listening experience.
The ballad, "Mi declaracion," is one of the more abstract pieces Frisell deploying groovy background affects while Cantuária entices with finely attuned vocals and acoustic guitar. There are many folkloric stylizations, from the festive rhythms of the title and "Lágrimas de amor" to the brief rustic instrumental "Cafezinho." Frisell's usual alchemist sound-tailoring on the dreamlike "El camino" and "Briga de namorados" is excellent, providing an array of real and processed textures with his authentic blues and backwoods aesthetic. Together with Cantuária's warm croonings on "Aquela mulher" the romanticism is palpable.
Lee Townsend's signature production work is another key element to Lagrimas Mexicanas
' amiability, which further enhances the experience of two artists who, though from differing backgrounds and locales, share a unique bond.
Personnel: Vinicius Cantuaria: vocals, percussion, acoustic guitar; Bill Frisell: electric and acoustic guitar; loops.