Claudia Acuña: Duo

The loneliness of the social isolation during the two-year-old global pandemic may have been soul-destroying for some – indeed most of us who lived through it because it seemed to take away our very humanity when it took away our sense of community. However, there are exceptions, especially among artists, who used the time in splendid isolation to create. In the case of the vocalist Claudia Acuña, this resulted in the album Duo, in which this very special musician is heard in the near-secrecy of duets with some very fine musicians.

Miss Acuña not only reached down into the soul, but also into the heart of her Chilean musical heritage to hold the bitter-sweetness and turbulence of recent Chilean history to reflect – in a mirror of her soul – the existential angst that she felt in the months of isolating without connecting with her community of loyal and always ecstatic fans.

Claudia Acuña: Duo
Claudia Acuña: Duo [album cover]

The repertoire on this album seems to have suggested itself. However, one could have imagined how heartachingly meaningful is the music of the beloved Chilean political martyr, Victor Jara, [whose] music echoes from the very soul of Miss Acuña in her interpretation of “Manifesto”, a duet with violinist Regina Carter, who also digs deep during the long inventions that she explores with the singer. Agustín Lara’s “Verdad Amarga” is another one of those songs that one could not imagine this album without. The sculpted phrases enunciated by guitarist Russell Malone make it so much more so irresistible.

Of particularly great expectation is the music that Miss Acuña unravels with the rippling harmonies of the several pianists who help her unpack the emotions of each of the songs on which the expressions of their hearts and souls are tested to the maximum. But one simply cannot imagine a pianist more suited to each of these duets – the great Kenny Barron for “Media Noche”, while on “Razón de Vivir” Carolina Calvache becomes rolling pulse of the vocalist – just as Fred Hersch gives “Júrame” wings, while Arturo O’Farrill goes beyond the pale as he digs into the depths of the song “Piensa en Mí”.

For his part the magnificent contrabassist Christian McBride becomes the darkened rhythmic penumbra of “Eclipse de Luna” as Miss Acuña unpacks the emotion of the song by stripping it of sentimentality before giving it her all. And, of course, what would an album about isolation be made from without the nakedness of two soli: “Crystal Silence” by Chick Corea and Miss Acuña’s spectacular original “Yo”…? It doesn’t get any better than this album which highlights the sultry nature of Miss Acuña expressed in the compelling, liquid power of Claudia Acuña’s mezzo-soprano voice.

Tracks – 1: Media Noche; 2: Eclipse de Luna; 3: Razón de Vivir; 4: Júrame; 5: Manifesto; 6: Verdad Amarga; 7: Piensa en Mí; 8: Crystal Silence; 9: Yo

Musicians – Claudia Acuña: vocals; With – Kenny Barron: piano [1]; Christian McBride: bass [2]; Carolina Calvache: piano [3]; Fred Hersch: piano [4]; Regina Carter: violin [5]; Russell Malone: guitar [6]; Arturo O’Farrill: piano [7]

Released – 2022
Label – Ropeadope [RAD 68 8]
Runtime – 41:49

Deo gratis!

Raul Da Gama
Raul Da Gama
Based in Milton, Ontario, Canada, Raul is a poet, musician and an accomplished critic whose profound analysis is reinforced by his deep understanding of music, technically as well as historically.

More from author


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related posts


Featured Posts

Omar Sosa’s 88 Well-Tuned Drums: A Film by Soren Sorensen

Anyone approaching this film about the iconic Cuban composer and pianist Omar Sosa, by the award-winning filmmaker Soren Sorensen will be almost immediately struck...

Danilo Pérez featuring The Global Messengers: Crisálida

Danilo Pérez began forming his worldview - and aligning his music to it - ever since he came under the sphere of influence of...

The Feeling Messengers, Past and Present (Part II)

Miguelo Valdés & The New Messengers Of Feeling Miguel Valdés, or “Miguelo”, as he has since become known, was born in the province of La...

The Feeling Messengers, Past and Present (Part I)

Preamble Within the current renaissance of popular Cuban music, coupled with the seemingly eternal presence of its first cousin American Jazz, we are once again...

In Conversation with Carlos Cippelletti

Pianist, composer and arranger Carlos Cippelletti, is a promising young Spanish, Franco-Cuban artist from the last generation of Afro-Cuban jazz musicians born outside the...

Celebrating Jane Bunnett: Spirits of Havana’s 30th Anniversary

After dark they gather, the spirits of Havana. Is that a ghostly, but fatback-toned rapping down in the barrio where the great composer and...

Piazzolla Cien Años: Lord of the Tango@100

There is a now famous photograph of the great Ástor Piazzolla that is iconic for so many reasons. Chief among them is the manner...

Omara Portuondo, Multifaceted Gem of Cuban Music

My moon app announces that in 14 hours the Supermoon of May will be here. During a full moon I often get inspired to...

Ray Barretto · Barretto Power

Barretto Power: A Celebratory Reissue on its 50th Anniversary It was 1970 when Fania Records released Barretto Power, one of a series of seminal albums...

El Gran Fellové: Part 3- When my Parents…

When my parents bought their home in 1968, Sunset Beach was just another sleepy little beach town It spanned about one mile in length, sandwiched...

Join our mailing list

Participate in contests, giveaways and more