We are all connected, created out of the same dust that once swirled around in the cosmos, until The Almighty God separated water and land and gave us our playground – Planet Earth – in which to live. So here we are, singing and dancing, billions of years after the fact, one race – one synchronous race of teeming humanity. Artists seem to perceive this in clearer terms than most humans engaged in other pursuits. Artists such as Corina Bartra, a prodigious Peruvian musician and respected pedagogue. And she makes a vivacious and sumptuous musical case for this throughout the repertoire of Cosmic Synchronicities.
However, as she has done before, Miss Bartra has emerged from a deep dive into the South American cultural topography, finding herself and her Afro-Peruvian New Trends Orchestra, to find that artistically we have never been encumbered by six degrees of separation. On the contrary the intrepid composer has found vivid and utterly seductive new ways that connect us all. And she invites us to enjoy this cosmic connection by getting up and dancing through this supernatural connection that we all share, for better or for worse.
Even seasoned audiences seduced by the bewitching, finger-snapping, toe-tapping rhythms of Miss Bartra’s majestic Afro-Peruvian festejo or the giddying seduction of her swirling landó[s] will be hard-pressed to remain chair-bound, moved to rise up and dance while listening to this exquisite music. On Cosmic Synchronicities Miss Bartra has shown mastery of another rich South American musical tradition [at least in part], which is the fabled Afro-Brasilian music of Bahia: that is the musical rhythms of axé. This she expertly displays as she creates, on her song Bahia, music fusing different Afro-Caribbean dance genres: marcha, reggae, and calypso.
In fact, Miss Bartra goes a step further in finding common ground for the exhilarating music of swing – cue the song Far Away – which she arranges with some old-fashioned rug-cutting maneuvers in mind. This song comes just before the bittersweet and bluesy Purple Heart. Far Away leads into the gleeful, dancing rhythms of the Afro-Cuban guajira of Baila y Goza, taking us from the rippling, saucy rhythms of Marinera Jazz and into the finale of this superb album, which is her landó, entitled Bailan Todas la Razas. And one would be remiss if one did not acknowledge the superb interpretation of Tun Tun Tun La Herida Oscura, by the great Chabuca Granda.
Consequently, each work shows Miss Bartra has a masterly control over repertoire, the ability to be laser-focussed in bringing together thematic dispersal into a contiguous whole. Moreover, the composer has a masterly grasp not only for Afro-Peruvian music but of the much broader – and diabolically challenging – cultural diaspora that she has attempted to connect musically through Cosmic Synchronicities.
Finally, there is the small matter of these exquisite arrangements of music that has been so deeply interiorised by a fine ensemble of brass, woodwinds, and rhythmists whose idiomatic performances – in ensemble and in individual soli are superb. Each section blooms mystically, a simple stem that comes together in an ornate musical bouquet; the arrangement of which is a glowing tribute to the vision and artistry of Corina Bartra.
YouTube Playlist: Afro Peruvian New Trends Orchestra
Music – 1: Ecstasy Green; 2: Bahia; 3: Palmero Siguayayay; 4: Osiris; 5: Latino Blues; 6: Tun Tun Tun – La’Herida Oscura; 7: Vinilo y Café; 8: Ebano Sky; 9: Purple Heart; 10: Far Away; 11: Baila y Goza; 12: Marinera Jazz; 13: Bailan Todas la Razas.
Musicians – Corina Bartra: artistic director; Dave Morgan: tenor saxophone; Cecilia Tenconi: alto saxophone; Marvin Carter: alto saxophone; Roger García: trumpet ; Eli Asher: trumpet; Erick Storckman: trombone; Santiago Belgrano: piano; Holman Álvarez Dávila: piano; Eduardo Belo: bass [5 – 12]; Ben Willis: bass [1 – 4, 13]; Juan Carlos Polo: drums; Pedro Díaz: Peruvian cajón and conga.
Released – 2023
Label – Blue Spiral Music 
Runtime – 78:42
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