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Buika: Nina de Fuego

James Nadal By

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Buika is adding an innovative voice to the ever-evolving music of flamenco, one she describes as a blend of African, American, and Andalucían.

Javier Limón, of Lagrimas Negras (RCA Victor, 2004) fame, first signed and produced Buika for Mi Niña Lola (Warner Music Latina, 2007). It went on to triumph with the song and production of the year in Spanish music three years ago, earning her international recognition and accolades. The title song, now a trademark tune for her, has established Buika as an artist able to sing traditional coplas—flamenco based torch ballads—with authority. The closest vocal comparison to her would be a young Nina Simone, though any comparison is only that, as the structure of the music and the cadence are totally different.

With Niña de Fuego, again produced by Limón, Buika delves deeper into the flamenco genre but continues to cast a much wider net. Here she sings both her originals and reinterprets classic rancheras. She has branded her sound with a warm jazz-oriented approach, encompassing each song with its own distinct character. She sings with minimal accompaniment, creating spaces in the songs that add to the attraction.

Though all the lyrics on Niña de Fuego are in Spanish, there is a feeling that transcends language barriers. The songs are sung in the universal tones of a forsaken, abandoned or distraught lover seeking consolation in the song. This is the traditional formula for Spanish composition of all genres; it is music with very deep roots in romance expressed as art.

Niña de Fuego maintains its true bearing throughout. It offers an excellent mix of tempos, great song selection, and superb production quality. Buika does not wander aimlessly, but travels to that space where she excels in pouring out her emotions, leaving behind secret hopes for more to come.

Track Listing: La Falsa Moneda; Culpa Mi

Personnel: Buika: vocals; Javier Limón: flamenco guitar; Ivan "Melon" Lewis: piano; Danny Noel: bass; Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez: drums; Ramon Porrina, Piraña: percussion; Carlitos Surdy: trumpet; Mandela: trombone; Paquete: guitar.

Title: Nina de Fuego | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Warner Bros.

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