Concha Buika’s voice doesn’t come from inside her petite body: It comes from Africa, and from the past. There are obvious traces of flamenco, itself a historical mash-up of the Moors and various transitory cultures in southern Spain and north Africa.
During her flights of improvisation, we also hear the influence of Cuban vocalist Celia Cruz, a product of Afro-Cuban culture, mixed in with Ella Fitzgerald, who was the pinnacle of African-American jazz vocal expression.
In these two performances, we hear Buika interpret her own lyrics after a handful of albums in which she’s interpreted others’ words. With her eyes closed tightly, she inhabits these poems of love and heartache as if she were reliving them again before our eyes.
Buika’s singular voice has attracted a cadre of fans who’ve become enchanted by her voice and her leave-it-all-on-the-stage performances in clubs and theaters around the world. Watch this video and join the club.
So as the notes say, these two pieces are improvisations. Not knowing Spanish all that well, I don’t know how much is made up or even how much is just sounds rather than actual words. But it certainly sounds more off the cuff than written out.
The music is just a piano and a box drum and her voice. Her voice is raw and pained, but quite pretty. The two songs are called “La Noche Mas Larga” and “La Nave Del Olvido.”
[READ: April 15, 2016] Comics Squad: Recess
I found out about this collection in the back of a Babymouse book.
Comics Squad is a collection of eight comics from some of my favorite artists. It basically works as a bunch of short, shall we say graphic novellas, from Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm (Babymouse/Squish) ; Jarrett J. Krosoczka (Lunch Lady) ; Dav Pilkey (Captain Underpants) ; Dan Santat ; Raina Telgemeier and Dave Roman (Smile and Astronaut Academy); Ursula Vernon (Dragonbreath) ; Eric Wright (Frankie Pickle) and Gene Luen Yang.
Since it’s edited by the Holms and Krosoczka they sprinkle the book with marginal comments and interstitials from Babymouse and Lunch Lady. But each artist/author gets a story, and I enjoyed them all.
GENE LUEN YANG-“The Super-Secret Ninja Club” This was a really fun story about a group of boys who meet at recess. Once they know that noone is watching, they put on their masks and become the super-secret ninja club. But Daryl, a decidedly un-ninja like boy wants in…desperately. He’s never had a passion for any club before but this one is totally him. The one boy says that since winter break is about to start, when the get back to school, they can talk about him joining. So Daryl spends all inter break practicing. Will it be enough? The answer is very funny.
DAV PILKEY-“Book ‘Em, Dog Man!” This story begins with a letter to the parents of George (the main character in Captain Underpants) from his teacher saying that she asked for a written assignment and once again he drew a cartoon. She has attached the offending (and offensive) cartoon for them to see. Petey the cat is in jail . He wants to beat the superhero Dog Man. But Dog Man is too smart So Petey realizes that if he removes all the words from books no one will be smart anymore. He invents a ray which does just that. What will the world do when they can’t read anymore?
JARRETT J, KROSOCZKA-“Betty and the Perilous Pizza Day” “Lunch Lady” is a cartoon I didn’t really know before reading this collection. Lunch Lady appears in the margins of the pages of the book, but not in this actual cartoon. Rather, the star of this cartoon is Betty, Lunch Lady’s helper. And since Lunch Lady can’t be there, Betty will have to deal with lunch. But it is pizza day! The only hope is the Pizzatron 2000. Unless, of course, it develops a mind of its own and goes on a rampage.
URSULA VERNON-“The Magic Acorn” I don’t know Dragonbreath all that well, although Clark has read all of them. This story is pretty simple. Although since I don’t know the characters I don’t know if it is representative of anything prior. Scratch, a squirrel who is rather realistically drawn (Vernon’s drawings are great) is interrupted by Squeak, a far more a cartoony squirrel. Squeak is excited because he found a magic acorn. Scratch states that this is the 318th “magic acorn” that he’s found. And besides they have recess in ten minutes. Well, this acorn may not exactly be an acorn, but it is certainly magical.
JENNIFER L. HOLM & MATTHEW HOLM-“Babymouse: The Quest for Recess” In this brief story Babymouse has a few fantasies that prevent her from actually getting outside for recess. First she is late for school (dreaming about Camelot) then her locker brings her to Zeus, making her late for class. A western dream makes her disrupt lunch and then the barbarian fractions invade during math class. Can she keep it together and actually get outside?
ERIC WIGHT-“Jiminy Sprinkles in ‘Freeze Tag'” So I don’t know this comic at all either. Jiminy Sprinkles is a new student to the school (he is a cupcake). He immediately befriends a peanut who tells him to watch out for The Mean Green Gang, a group of vegetables. (Their leader is Russell from Brussels (ha)). The Mean Green Gang is pretty tough but Jiminy has a secret weapon of his own–a very funny one that the Mean Green Gang actually gets a kick out of too.
DAN SANTAT-“300 Words” This is an interesting look at the story The Giving Tree. The kids were assigned a book report on the story three weeks ago and it is due today. John is one of the boys who didn’t do the assignment and he’s about to write his 300 words now. It’s a tree. It gives things. But another boy has a better idea–he’s going to ask Sophia for her paper. Even though the last time he talked to her he threw up on her. Sophia has an interesting answer for him.
DAVE ROMAN & RAINA TELGEMEIER-“The Rainy Day Monitor” is a wonderful take on kickball. Since the kids can’t go outside to play because of the rain, their recess is indoors. And they are closely watched by Boring Becca the totally boring fifth grader. When they ask if they can play kickball inside she asks the kids if they have ever played Dungeons and Dragons. They groan until she says they should play kickball using dice and imaginary characters. Pretty great idea Becca!
The end of the book is set up with fun fake ads and useful tips.
One “ad” is an offer for Babymouse Binoculars. I also really liked Lunch Lady’s tips on how to draw Betty (which skip from 3 to 12 while Squish sweats).
This was not only a great introduction to all of these fabulous comic writers, it was a really funny collection in its own right.
The end of the book says “Do you think there will be another one? As sure as there is syrup on pancakes there’ll be a Comics Squad #2.” And indeed, there was a second one.