Fernando Tarrés & Lucía Pulido – Songbook III – Myths

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“There is something altogether new in this record that is not present in many of Lucía Pulido’s other records. And this has to do with orchestration. This is clearly the hand of Fernando Tarrés.”

There is now a welcome and absolutely beautiful addition to the two Songbooks that Lucía Pulido recorded with Fernando Tarrés. It is Songbook III – Myths, a terrific companion to Songbook I – Beliefs (BAU Records, 2005) and Songbook II – Prayers (BAU Records, 2006), both of which related to the mystical aspect of the Latin music repertoire. The songs on Songbook III – Myths look less at the preternatural and more at the earthy more folk end of the Latin repertoire. The record is an extension of the palimpsest of the series and further proof that Lucía Pulido is by far the most extraordinary interpreter of traditional music. Not only is she probably the greatest narrator of old and new songs; there is no singer barring the griots of Africa who tell stories of time gone by and who can heal the faint heart with song as Pulido can. Though tiny in stature (was not Edith Piaf small as well?) Pulido has power beyond what would be physically possible given her size. Moreover she becomes the characters in the songs swaying and seducing as she sings, piercing the heart and soul with musical arrows that ache and hurt, or bring joy, depending on what the song is supposed to do. And that is simply astounding for like Abbey Lincoln who used to use a more laconic poetic, Pulido is more aligned to the poetics of the melody, leaving the overtones and the harmonies to an inner voice that flies out in the narrative every once in awhile.

There is something altogether new in this record that is not present in many of Lucía Pulido’s other records. And this has to do with orchestration. This is clearly the hand of Fernando Tarrés. This is it: Tarrés, far ahead of his time in this type of folk music is unafraid to use dissonant musical harmonics that slash across the melody, dueling with Pulido. This he does in the form of devices that he probably learnt from Stravinsky and the late classicists. For instance he has used a string quartet in the statuesque version of Dino Saluzzi’s magnificent “Carta a Perdiguero”. On the forlorn “Esperanza” (and elsewhere) he uses the horns and reeds and woodwinds to swoosh across Pulido’s beautifully linear lyric. Then there is Tarrés enormously powerful use of the flatly tuned acoustic guitar, with which he and the ensemble duel mightily with Pulido on “Domingo ‘i chaya” a magnificent Argentinian folk song. All this is reminiscent of the dueling of soloist and symphonic orchestra in a classical concerto.

No praise is also high enough Jerónimo Carmona, the bassist who adds so much tone and color to the proceedings; with nary a root note in his brilliantly laid out changes. The presence of the extraordinary Colombian soprano saxophonist, Antonio Arnedo on “Carmelita adiós” is a stroke of genius on the part of Tarrés as is his inclusion of Donny MaCaslin in a spectacular duet with Lucía Pulido on “Cantos de vaquería”. It would also be remiss if it were not mentioned here that one of the most beautiful songs to come from the southern half of the Americas “Alfonsina y el mar” is rendered here as a spectacular rhythmic version of the aching ballad.

This (Songbook III – Myths) is brilliantly produced and together with the two earlier productions must rank as one of the most powerful series of records to come out of South America; and Colombia/Argentina. It is also a wonderfully engineered and mastered album which speaks volumes of the state of the art in Latin America, and Argentina in particular.

Tracks: Carmelita adiós; Carta a Perdiguero; Coplas sin luna; A Doña Rosa Toledo; Mi mirada; Canción de cuna; Canto de Guabina; Canto en la rama; Esperanza; Domingo ‘i chaya; Alfonsina y el mar; Cantos de vaquería; Corazón maldito; Soy de Salta y hago falta; Pensar; Corazón.

Personnel: Lucía Pulido: voice; Antonio Arnedo: soprano saxophone (1, 6); Juan Pablo di Leone; flutes (1, 8, 14, 16) ; Ricardo Cavalli: clarinets (1, 8, 14), soprano saxophone (1, 8); Emiliano Alvarez: bass clarinet (1, 8, 14); Martin Pantyrer: clarinet and bass clarinet (16); Rodrigo Dominguez: tenor saxophone(1, 3, 8, 9, 12, 14, 17), soprano saxophone (2), clarinet (17); Luis Nacht: tenor saxophone (1, 8, 14), alto saxophone (17); Donny MaCaslin: tenor saxophone (13); Juileta de Fede: fagot (16); Enrique Norris: piano (4, 7, 10); Fernando Tarrés: acoustic guitar (1, 9, 11, 14), Spanish guitar (2, 3, 11, 12, 14), campanas, palos sobre metales (5), piano, platos frotados, procesamiento electronico, collage (6), guitars, caja chayera (7), cuerdas frotadas (8, 9), acoustic and electric guitars (9), caya (9), percussion (9, 16); Juan Pablo Aredondo: acoustic guitar (1, 2), electric guitar (3, 12), effects, (9); Jerónimo Carmona: acoustic bass (1 – 3, 5, 8, 9, 12, 14, 16, 17); Carto Brandan: drums (1 – 3, 9, 11, 12, 15; Richard Nant: bombo (5), trumpet (14), percussion (16); (Jorge Sepulveda: percussion (1, 5, 9, 16); Ricardo Gomez: percussion (1, 5, 9, 16); Urian Sarmiento: percussion(1, 5, 9, 16); Grace Medina: violin (2, 6, 17); Cormac Browne: violin (2, 6, 17); Claudio Medina: viola (2, 6, 17); Patricio Villarejo: cello (2, 6, 17); Juan Pablo Navarro: acoustic bass (2).

Lucía Pulido – Official website: www.luciapulido.com

Label: BAU Records

Release date: January 2012

Reviewed by: Raul da Gama

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