Ana Gabriel

Joyas de Dos Siglos

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One of the great Mexican voices of the late 20th century sings a collection of standards accompanied by just two guitarists. The uncluttered arrangements allow the focus to remain on Ana Gabriel's exquisite voice, which soars like never before or since, technically dazzling, gravelly, and full of pathos. This cuts to the heart of Mexican music, the way these songs were written, just a guitar and a voice exposing the art of the material, filling the reverberant recording space in a way that the huge pop tracks usually heard behind Gabriel simply cannot. Her voice is the perfect vehicle for the passionate tragedy underlying all great Mexican songs. Even the realization of new love in "Hay Unos Ojos" is tinged with recognition of the pain in the eyes of the beloved and the anticipation of a doomed relationship. The closing track, "Valentin de la Sierra," which details the execution of a revolutionary, becomes an unconventional anthem of useless sacrifice, and the music at the end seems to slow with the weight of mortality. This recording is somewhat of a departure from Gabriel's usual style, but it is one of the artistic high points of her career.

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