Yasmin Levy


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After the unqualified success of 2007's Mano Suave, expectations were high for this release. It certainly promised a great deal, including a duet with her long dead father on "Una Pastora," an old Ladino song. Unfortunately, it fails to reach the exquisite heights of its predecessor. On the over-arranged openers, "Mi Corason" and "El Amore Cantigo," Levy comes across not so much as impassioned but mannered, the music more chanson than Ladino, and a cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" seems pointless. The song has been overdone and Levy brings nothing new to it, instead turning in a bland, unenthusiastic version. Things do pick up toward the end with "Una Pastora," which is spare and moving; and "Jaco" and "La Hija de Juan Simon" are as lovely as anything she's recorded, real additions to the Ladino canon. Another duet follows, this time with Greek singer Eleni Vitali. It veers headlong into Andalusian music, a style Levy knows intimately and which suits her majestic voice. Overall, however, this is an album that could -- and should -- have been so much more.

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