Tuesday, June 14, 2016
Maria Usbeck - Amparo
Maria Usbeck, who in the past has thrilled us as the vocalist for Selebrities, has now given us one of the prettiest albums of the year in Amparo. It is light, playful, warm, highly rhythmic, and exotic. While Maria lives in New York, where the album was recorded, she wrote the album while traveling in Buenos Aires, Santiago, Barcelona, Lisbon, Easter Island, Costa Rica, Florida, L.A. and her native Ecuador, as well as her adopted home. And the circumstances of the songs' creation influences the listener's experience. Cue up the album, close your eyes, and you can imagine you are watching a high quality travelogue of the locales visited by Maria, watching the sunlight dance on the waves, the clouds race through blue skies, and the warm and welcoming faces of the residents for faraway lands. The lyrics are mostly in Spanish, with bits of other languages from the countries where the songs were composed, and all in languages that I don't speak or read. But quite frankly I found that aspect of the recording to enhance, rather than lessen, my listening experience. Other delightful touches are unusual percussion and snippets of field recordings.
Regardless of your usual musical taste, we highly recommend Amparo. It is out now via Labrador in Europe and Cascine in North America.