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Brenda Hopkins Miranda: Simple

James Nadal By

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The piano thoroughly lends itself to the emotional manifestations of the consummate and contemplative Brenda Hopkins Miranda. Simple channels her profound individuality, drawn from a private source of focused consciousness and performed with genuine grace and elegance.

As a composer and producer, Hopkins Miranda is well-honed, and she is attuned to the album concept, as luminously displayed on Recuerdos de Granada/Memoirs from Granada (Zona Boricua, 2009) and its repertoire, drawn from her Spanish sojourn. This time around, she is on a personal spiritual quest and has opted for the uncomplicated structure suggested by the title. But living on a tropical island (Puerto Rico, in the pianist's case) creates its own sense of awareness, one which, here, enhances an integral component of Hopkins Miranda's music.

From the opening "Sand Balcony," Hopkins takes a pianistic stroll from the beach to "The Road," which captures an approaching shower, leading to the downpour on "Talking with the Rain," slows down "When Darkness Arrives," and comes full circle with "Waiting," where the spirit of Pablo Casals, portrayed by cellist Kutasha Silva, drifts amongst the clouds. "Calle Molinos" (Miranda's former address in Granada) displays glimpses of the vibrant flamenco flavor she knows well and later revisits with a full ensemble on "Jameando por la Calle Molinos." Her softer side is revealed on "Sahira," "Ivannah" and "Harito," which—written for her nieces and nephew—highlight the playful and mischievous traits of children.

Hopkins can keep it passive and light, or venture into the technical storm of "The Music Inside Your Sea" with turbulence and tranquility. The sostenuto chords and resolute structure of "Broken Promise" show the complexity of her personality, which she willingly hangs on her musical sleeve.

A superb production, Simple portrays Hopkins Miranda as an adventuresome pianist, and embodies the old adage that still waters run deep.

Track Listing: Sand Balcony; The Road; Talking With the Rain; When Darkness Arrives; Waiting; Calle Molinos; The Mirror Inside Your Sea; The Inner Path; Broken Promise; Sahira; Ivannah; Harito; Jameando por la Calle Mollinos.

Personnel: Brenda Hopkins Miranda: piano; Enrique "El Peru" Chavez: percussion (1, 3, 6, 8, 13); Vladimir Colonel: drums (1, 3, 6, 13); Samuel Morales: bass (1, 3, 6, 13); Kutasha Silva: cello (5).

Title: Simple | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Zona Boricua Records

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