Music makers: Latin guitar tribute

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LATINO Milos Universal Music

THIS second album by Montenegro’s classical guitarist Milos Karadaglic has pieces that often burn with fervent desire, although some are ballads and others boast tango rhythms.

The opener, Piazzolla’s Libertango, is spiced with an orchestra, as too Piazzolla’s Oblivion, and the popular Argentine tango, Gardel’s Por Una Cabeza, which you might have heard in movies including Schindler’s List, Scent of a Woman, and True Lies, as well as television series like Nip/Tuck. Backed by the lush background sound, the arrangements are captivating.

Uruguay’s tango favourite and cultural anthem La Cumparsita (The Little Parade), is given a fresh arrangement by Stephen Gross but you will still hear the popular refrains that Gene Kelly danced to in Anchors Aweigh (1945), and recognise it in the remix version in Take the Lead (2006). (The one which had a threesome do the tango!)

I particularly liked Karadaglic’s version of Paraguayan classical guitarist and composer Barrios Mangore’s Un sueno en la floresta — with a tremolo that stirs your senses. He does credit again to Una limosna por el amor de Dios, also known as El ultimo tremolo by Barrios, popularly called “Chopin of the Guitar”.

Longing comes through in the E Minor range plucked by 29-year-old Karadaglic in Prelude No. 1 (by Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos). Karadaglic won the Gramophone Award for Young Artiste of the Year last year after his debut album, Mediterr·neo. Latino is a fine follow-up.

The liner notes come in both English and Spanish. If you like instrumental music, or feel up for a tango or two, check it out.

ELECTRA HEART
Marina And The Diamonds
Warner Music

WELSH artiste Marina and the Diamonds is offering electro-pop in this second studio album, Electra Heart.

Lead singer Marina Diamandis has again written or co-written all 12 tracks on the album, which are about love tinged with some darkness. Danceable, in the vein of Britney Spears and Madonna, and even today’s rave Psy of Gangnam fame, with Diamandis’ voice comparatively a notch better.

After a while, the songs from the opener Bubblegum B**** to Teen Idle tend to sound the same. However, midway comes slower tempo songs — from Valley of The Dolls, to Fear And Loathing — which draws you to the lyrics.

Take Valley of The Dolls where Diamandis sings in the chorus: “In the Valley of the Dolls we sleep./ Got a hole inside of me./ Living with identities, that do not belong to me./ In my life I got this far, now I’m ready for my last hurrah.”

In the more upbeat Primadonna, she says: “I’m living life like I’m in a play/ In the limelight I want to stay/ Yeah, I know I’ve got a big ego...” You soon realise the songs are not just about love but reference pop culture more appealing to the digital generation.

Get Electra Heart for that Internet kid, who’ll appreciate your good taste.
HIDDEN GEMS
Luther Vandross
Sony Music

THIS is a compilation of songs that complement that special, sympathetic voice of the late Grammy winner Luther Vandross, who died in 2005.

Lesser-known songs and performances that offer fans a deeper, but still R&B, fount to draw on late at night, or in a traffic sprawl. Liner notes state that the songs were chosen with input from Vandross’ family, including his niece, Seveda Williams and cousin Brenda Shields.

The 15 songs include Once Were Lovers (Japanese Version, RCA Records, released 2001), with a harmonica solo by Stevie Wonder, and that old standard, The Impossible Dream, given new blues styling.

More pop is found in Are You Using Me? (Virgin Records, 1998), Goin’ Out Of My Head from Your Secret Love (Epic, released 1996), and You Really Started Something (Japanese Version, RCA Records, released 2001), among others.
The Vandross-Martha Wash duet on the R&B version of I (Who Have Nothing) from Power Of Love (Epic, released 1991) is outstanding. A great listen for all weather, all day.

BETTER MAN
Yannick Bovy
Universal Music

FROM Belgium comes this debut album by  25-year-old Yannick Bovy, filled with what sounds like Michael Buble singing those timeless numbers from Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole, and everyone else in between.
From All My Loving (The Beatles), I’ve Got You Under My Skin (Sinatra) to the bonus tracks of Fly Me To The Moon (Sinatra), and L.O.V.E. (Cole), the mood is upbeat.

Pop comes in the original songs Better Man and Theoretical Love, as well as My Cherie Amour (Stevie Wonder), among others.

Bovy took part in the television reality series in his country, The X-Factor, when aged 17, but didn’t make it far. No stranger to performing these days, Bovy’s focus in this 15-track album are swing and retro-pop music that will keep you cool on the road or in the office.
 

 


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