The Afro-Cuban percussionist and singer, Brenda Navarrete is one of the best-kept secrets of her generation. However, now, thanks to producer extraordinaire and Alma Records founder, Peter Cardinali, the secret is out. With her short, but exquisite album, Mi Mundo, Miss Navarrete joins the ranks of her musical elders, Román Díaz, Pedrito Martinez, as one of the premier batá drummers and vocalists to emerge as musician and Lucumí who have also made a successful transition to Jazz, Latin-Jazz and other hybrid styles of traditional and popular Latin-American music.
With a voice that is pure, bright and high-sprung, Miss Navarrete navigates her way with vocalastics that will surely be the envy of the Latin-Jazz music world. Eschewing the traditional practice of raising the roof with her vocals, Miss Navarrete is often whisper-soft, always seductive, and makes it seem that her music emerge as living breath from deep with the recesses of her body. Her versions of Juan Tizol and Duke Ellington’s “Caravan” and more especially on “Drume Negrita” are infused with such magic that she seems to set the lyrics on fire, but with an almost cold, blue flame.
Editor’s Pick · Featured Album · Mi Mundo
In a break with formula-driven Afro-Cuban music performed as guaguancó, son and danzón, Miss Navarrete pops in a beautiful surprise. “Namaste” is a song in which Hindustani rhythms entwine with her (Miss Navarette’s) own Afro-Cuban ones and the resulting music blooms into something quite mystical. The bridge of the song is absolutely breathtaking as Miss Navarrete’s Lucumí chants and recitatives collide with tabalchi (tabla player) Pete Locket performing percussion syllables vocally in a combination of konnakol* syllables spoken while simultaneously counting the tala (meter) and playing his tabla.
Miss Navarrete also holds her own with a stellar musical cast that includes a number of percussionists, Adonis Panter and Osaín del Monte, drummers Horacio ‘El Negro’ Hernández and Rodney Barreto; Cuban-Canadian piano master Hilario Durán and Rolando Luna, a young virtuoso pianist proficient in both classical and Latin-Jazz stylings. The group also includes bassists Alain Pérez, Munir Hossn and Michel Salazar Delgado. The hugely talented vocalist Melvis Santa also appears on two charts. And Josué Borges Maresma’s fluttering flutes add further delight to this memorable album headlined by one of the fastest rising stars in Afro-Cuban music and Latin-Jazz.
*Konnakol is the art of performing percussion syllables vocally in South Indian music, the Carnatic music performance art of vocal percussion.
Track list – 1: Baba Elegguá; 2: Rumbero Como Yo; 3: Anana Oyé; 4: Caravana; 5: Drume Negrita; 6: Namaste; 7: Taita Bilongo; 8: Mulata Linda; 9: Cachita; 10: A Ochún
Personnel – Brenda Navarrete: lead vocals (1 – 10), coro (4, 7, 9, 10), batá drums (1 – 3, 7, 8), percussion (1, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10); Melvis Santa: coro (4, 10); Luis Orbegoso: coro (4, 7, 9); Munir Hossn: bass (2), guitar (2), percussion (2); Adonis Panter: percussion (2), quinto (8); Osaín del Monte: percussion (2); Pete Locket: tablas and percussion (6); Adel Gonzáles: percussion (7); Guillermo Del Toro: percussion (9); Roberto Carcassés: piano (3) Hilario Durán: piano (4); Rolando Luna: piano (5, 7, 9); Leonardo F. Gil Milian: piano (6, 10); Alain Pérez: bass (3 – 10), coro (7); Michel Salazar Delgado: bass (4); José Carlos Sánchez Portilla: drums (3); Horacio ‘El Negro’ Hernández: drums (4, 6); Rodney Barreto: percussion (5), drums (7, 9, 10); Josué Borges Maresma: flute (3, 9, 10), harmonica (5); Tommy Lawrie: trumpet (7); Eduardo Sandoval: trombone (9)
Released – 2018
Label – Alma Records
Runtime – 38:20