Ibrahim Ferrer

Mi Sueño

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The success of the Buena Vista Social Club series gave Cuban singer Ibrahim Ferrer the chance to finally begin his dream project in 2005, the recording of an entire album of bolero pieces, the musical form Ferrer loved above all others. Unfortunately the 78-year-old singer died in August of that year while sessions for the project were still underway, and that Mi Sueño (My Dream) exists at all is in itself a small miracle. Ferrer left behind high-quality vocal demos of the boleros he still intended to record for the album, but these tapes were apparently misplaced and Ferrer's dream seemed destined to go unfulfilled. The demos were eventually recovered, and Mi Sueño has finally seen the light of day. It is the perfect goodbye from Ferrer, a fitting and beautiful last testament that spotlights his easy and smoky vocals over subtle, non-intrusive arrangements generally featuring pianist Roberto Fonseca, guitarist Manuel Galbon, and bassist Cachito Lopez. The late Rubén González adds piano to the beautiful "Melodía del Río," a track produced by Ry Cooder in 1998 that fits seamlessly with the newer recordings. Javier Zalbar's clarinet lines add perfect lift to "Copla Guajira," the closest thing to an up-tempo piece here, but then the romantic lilt of the classic Cuban bolero isn't about speed and energy but is instead about an elegant gliding through the motions of love, and Ferrer does it perfectly. He would have been proud of this album. It has a calm and measured grace, and flows like a watery sequence from a dream -- Ibrahim Ferrer's dream, to be exact.

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