Susana Baca

Susana Baca

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Susana Baca's eponymously titled debut captures the plangent beauty of her voice. The accompaniment is thankfully sparse, including only a guitar and cajón (a wooden box drum). The songs are unhurried and round corners melodically, twisting and turning, always showcasing her musicality. There's nothing on the album quite like "Maria Lando," and Baca's astonishing performance that led off the Soul of Black Peru compilation of Afro-Peruvian music, but a few tracks come close. The lead tune, "Negra Presentuosa," is the strongest, beginning with the cajón, which is soon joined by the guitar, then Baca, and finally a chorus at the close. Other standouts are "Heces," "Tu Miranda y Mi Voz," and "Caras Lindas." Andean pan pipes make their appearance on "La Luna Llena," while "Se Me Van los Pies" includes ill-considered echo effects, the album's only artistic lapse.

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