Reyli Barba

En la Luna

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Having one of your recordings used in a telenovela (Latin soap opera) is far from a prerequisite for success in the Latin pop market, but it certainly doesn't hurt. The Mexican telenovela that brought Reyli Barba a great deal of exposure in 2004 was Rubí, which aired on Univision and starred Bárbara Mori (a talented actress originally from Uruguay) as an unscrupulous gold digger. Rubí (which was a 2000s adaptation of a late-'60s telenovela that was also called Rubí) was atypical of Latin soaps in that the main female character was not a virtuous, good-hearted woman who overcame adversity and lived happy ever after; the character of Rubí Pérez was, to put it bluntly, a raging bitch -- and the show was such a mega-hit in the Spanish-speaking world that Mori probably could have lined up a very generous novela contract with Televisa (the Mexican network that created Rubí) had she not opted to pursue a film career and work with Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar instead. The fact that Barba's intoxicating "La Descarada" (The Brazen Woman) was used as Rubí's theme obviously enhanced the sales of En la Luna (On the Moon), although plenty of Spanish speakers who never watch novelas brought this album. It isn't hard to see why En la Luna was a hit; Barba is an expressive, charismatic vocalist as well as a versatile songwriter. Barba wrote most of the material, and he is as convincing on gently romantic tracks like "Amor del Bueno," "Tú," and "Desde Que Llegaste" as he is on the angry, salsa-flavored "Al Fin Me Arme de Valor." And while "La Descarada" is melancholy, "Al Fin Me Arme de Valor" is downright bitter. Whether one is a Rubí fan or not, En la Luna is a very promising effort from Barba.

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