With a voice possessing so gentle a rasp that it makes Macy Gray sound shrill, Buika has captured Spanish hearts with a sophisticated and jazzy flamenco album sung from the heart
The title track is marked by jazz piano and bass over which Buika swoops and glides in her soft but surprisingly agile voice. To pull this kind of thing off without producing something that is uninteresting to flamenco or jazz aficionados is in fact very difficult but in her hands it seems easy and natural. This is a voice that aches with sincerity and pain withstood.
The surprise is that Concha Buika is no Gypsy. She grew up in Majorca, born to parents of Equatorial Guinean extraction. Like so many musicians, she had a London phase and it was here that she decided to pursue music after being inspired by a Pat Metheny gig. Perhaps appropriately for a Balearic girl, she lent her vocal talents to house tracks before turning very recently towards flamenco.
Many of the tracks on this album are marked by a stripped down production ethic. There is little to distract from the voice and mostly this seems to pay off. Occasionally, a little more fire and spit would be welcome to shake up the album but even on the more upbeat numbers like ‘Bulería Alegria’, the softness of the voice rounds off the corners.
Buika will be touring the Jazz Festivals this summer. She has already been booked for Montreaux and the London Jazz Festival. Mi Niña Lola is a polished and passionate affair of jazz and flamenco.