Amoeblog

Spanish Singer Buika Performs Live at SF's Nourse Theater, 2/28

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, February 9, 2015 06:26pm | Post a Comment

Buika, San Francisco

Amoeba Music and CIIS Public Programs & Performances present Spanish-born, Miami-based singer Buika on Saturday, February 28th at the Nourse Theater in San Francisco.

Since her introduction to the American music scene in 2007 with her album Mi Niña Lola (My Little Girl BuikaLola), Buika has experienced a meteoric rise, earning lavish praise from The New York Times, The Miami Herald, and The Wall Street Journal, as well as NPR, which quickly included her in their "50 Great Voices" radio gallery. Despite just a few concert appearances, she earned two Latin Grammy nominations in 2008. Her next release, Niña de Fuego (Fire Child) paved the way for relocation to Miami in 2011 (she lovingly calls the US "the country of happiness and noise").

Before her career took off in the US, she had already achieved success in Europe, performing on screen in the Pedro Almovar film The Skin I Live In and dueting with pop singer Seal. Music from those projects and more were collected in 2011 on the essential 2-CD set En Mi Piel (In My Skin) to satisfy a growing demand for her music in her new country. Rare is the artist to garner comparisons to Nina Simone, Chavela Vargas, and Cesaria Evora, but Buika has been compared to all of them. She has clearly inherited their steely independence and uncompromising creative vision.

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The Great Chavela Vargas, Dead At 93

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, August 6, 2012 08:01am | Post a Comment
A few weeks back, while browsing the Queens collection, a private LP collection recently purchased and currently being sold at Amoeba Hollywood, I noticed several Chavela Vargas LPs were a part of it. At this point, I am pairing down my music to the bare necessities. When I see vinyl that I want to buy, I ask myself first, will I listen to it or will it sit in the shelf? Can I play it at a club or on my radio show, Discos Inmigrantes? If not, I don’t buy it.

After a few days of the collection being on sale, with some of the better international vinyl long gone in the selves of various record collectors, the Chavela Vargas records were still in the bins. I saw it as a sign. I had to get them. The day I bought them I had my radio show. I didn’t get to play the records on air, but I played one of the records as I was preparing for the show. Instantly as soon I dropped the needle on the recent purchase, I was glad I went back and bought the Chavela Vargas LPs.

As you read the various obituaries about Chavela Vargas, you will read the same facts. That she was a great interpreter of Mexico’s ranchera music. That she was contemporaries of many Mexican legends, including Jose Alfredo Jimenez, Augustin Lara, Diego Rivera and of course, Frida Kahlo, who she was rumored to have an affair with. That she was overtly gay but not out. She often dressed in men’s clothing and her sexuality was a secret that everyone seem to know. When she finally came out in 2000, it was an afterthought. She lived rough for a while, which only added to the pain in her voice. She recorded over 80 albums, dropped out during the mid-seventies only to have resurgence in the 1990’s, thanks to being included in a few Pedro Almodovar films as well as the movie, Frida. Recently, Spanish singer Concha Buika teamed up with Chucho Valdez to make a tribute album to Chavela called, El Ultimo Trago, in which Buika credits Vargas for teaching her how to "make a monument out of loneliness."

As I sat alone listening to Chavela version of “Volver, Volver” backed only with the solo guitar of  Antonio Bribiesca, I thought of Buika quote. I had read in an interview back when El Ultimo Trago was released in 2010. I remember thinking that the quote captured the essence of Chavela Vargas’ music. Some people say when they hear great Mexican music that they want to have a drink. But it’s usually in a group setting. It's either sharing a bottle of Tequila or a round of Margaritas. Even if there are tears flowing from your cheeks as you remember past lost loves, in that setting, you have your friends to commiserate with. That is not Chavela’s music. You listen to Chavela’s music alone. It’s music you listen to when you sit alone at the end of a bar, far from the others. It’s music you play alone in your apartment at 3 am. It’s music you listen to after heartbreak and personally, the only company I think you should you commiserate with is a bottle, period.  It’s blues music, albeit Mexican blues music, but still, blues music. Chavela just didn’t make monuments out of loneliness, she created universes out of it.



Amoeba Hollywood World Music Charts

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, December 3, 2009 12:57am | Post a Comment
Since I skipped October’s World Music bestseller chart last month, I decided to make a comprehensive chart that includes the best sellers for both October and November.

1. Poncho Sanchez - Psychedelic Blues
2. Shakira - She Wolf
3. Bomba Estereo – Blow Up
4. Rodrigo Y Gabriela –11:11
5. Bebel Gilberto – All In One
6. Gustavo Cerati – Fuerza Natural
7. Mercedes Sosa – Cantora
8. Aventura – Last
9. Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou - Echos Hypnotiques Vol. 2
10. Buika - El Ultimo Trago

Both Poncho Sanchez and Bomba Estereo had recent successful instore performances at Amoeba Hollywood and their chart positions reflect that, with each of them coming in at number one and three respectfully. Shakira was a no-brainer at number two, as people have been waiting for She Wolf since rumors of its release over the summer. Her chart position is a cumulative number based on sales of the import version and the domestic release. Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Bebel Gilberto, Gustavo Cerati, Aventura and Mercedes Sosa continue to sell well into December. Wow, can you believe it is December already?

Here is a chart just for the month of November:

1. Bomba Estereo-Blow Up
2. Shakira-She Wolf
3. Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou-Echos Hypnotiques Vol. 2
4. V/A -Ghana Special: Modern Highlife, Afro Sounds & Ghanaian Blues 1968-91
5. Buika–El Ultimo Trago
6. Rodrigo Y Gabriela –11:11
7. V/A - Panama! Vol.3
8. Poncho Sanchez -Psychedelic Blues
9. Bebel Gilberto –All In One
10. Eydie Gorme Y Los Panchos–Cantan En Español

Soundway Records has two new compilations on the charts. At number four is Ghana Special: Modern Highlife, Afro Sounds & Ghanaian Blues 1968-91, which comes in a two CD set or a five LP set with tracks not available on the CD. I have to say the LP set looks mighty impressive and I just might have to drop some bones for that one. At number seven is the third volume of Panama! Series, which I have dropped some money on and it was well worth it. The Panama! Series seems to get better with each volume.

Buikas latest, El Ultimo Trago, is a tribute to the great Costa Rican/Mexican singer Chavela Vargas. Buika's tribute comes from all the right places. Not only can both singers interpret songs like no other (mostly singing songs traditionally meant for men to sing for women) but both are open with their sexuality, as Vargas has been out for many years and Buika is bisexual. Chavela calls Buika “my black daughter” and says, “She has the most amazing and personal voice I have heard in many years.” El Ultimo Trago is also a collaboration between Buika and Chucho Valdes, the infamous Cuban pianist, who I compare most to Herbie Hancock as far as diversity in compositional skills and arrangements. With Chucho's guidance, Buika is able to bring to life all the classic rancheras and boleros that Chavela has made popular since her first recordings in the early sixties.

Some new releases to watch out for December are Manu Chao’s two CD/one DVD live album, Baionarena, Alejandro SanzParaiso Express and Draco Rosa’s Draco.