Fire in her lungs Buika
The dynamic flamenco singer Buika plays the Lensic Peforming Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, July 28, as part of the 2017 New Mexico Jazz Festival. She was born María Concepción Balboa Buika on the Spanish island of Mallorca, the daughter of African parents of the Bubi tribe from Equatorial Guinea, and those influences are just the beginning of her musical scope. Her mother had a substantial jazz record collection, so it’s no surprise that Buika counts Dinah Washington and Ella Fitzgerald among her influences.
Her singing is improvisational, vocally athletic, and impassioned. She runs the gamut from husky, emotionally tortured balladeering to yelling storytelling to lush, Sade-style R&B, but she is a consistently remarkable performer. Her debut album Concha Buika was released in 2005. She teamed up with Cuban piano star Chucho Valdes for 2009’s El Último Trago, which earned her a Latin Grammy Award.
La Noche Más Larga, from 2013, shows off her great rhythmic and stylistic variety, including with covers of Billie Holiday’s “Don’t Explain” and Abbey Lincoln’s “Throw It Away” sung in English, along with Jacques Brel’s “Ne Me Quitte Pas” in French. Buika is also the author of the book A los que amaron a mujeres difíciles y acabaron por soltarse (2014), which features her poetry, stories, and photographs.
She is joined on the Lensic stage by Ramon Porrina, percussion and backing vocals; Andres Vadin Valdés, guitar; Jesus De Rosario, guitar and vocals; Israel Suarez, percussion and vocals; and Santiago Cañada Valverde, keyboards and trombone. According to Buika’s Facebook page, she will be presenting her new release Para Mí at the Lensic event. Tickets, $25 to $60, are available at www.ticketssantafe.org or by calling 505-988-1234. — Paul Weideman