Cantuaria & Bill
Vinicius Cantuária - vocals, percussion and
Produced by Lee Townsend
Recording Engineers: Jason Lehning and Adam Muñoz
Entertainment One Music/Naïve, 2011
The guitars of Bill Frisell and Vinicius Cantuária
melt together in my car speakers as if impossibly designed to echo
the beauty in this very moment...
“With Cantuária's caressing vocals to the fore, these sublime and seemingly telepathic musicians produce delicate and intricate music which takes inspiration from, among others, Mexican ranchera, Afro-Brazilian rhythms and samba. Sung largely in Spanish with Portuguese and English interludes, Lagrimas Mexicanas is an album of quite magnificence that gently insinuates itself on first hearing and which reveals extra layers and depths on each subsequent encounter.” - Dave Haslam, R2.
PRI – The World
Vinicius Cantuária is one of the leading lights of contemporary
bossa nova; Bill Frisell is an experimental jazz guitarist who has
collaborated with everyone from Elvis Costello to John Zorn. They’ve
worked together before, but “Lágrimas Mexicanas” represents
their first album-length collaboration, and it’s a quiet stunner.
Frisell’s textured, atmospheric guitars and subtle electronic
loops settle into the spaces between Cantuária’s gentle
vocals, acoustic guitar and live percussion, giving these tracks a
lush, cinematic vibe that will bewitch both traditional world music
fans and lovers of global-groove artists like Thievery Corporation
and David Byrne. - Metromix
There’s no telling what kind of music American guitarist Bill
Frisell will come up with next. He’s been The Man for quite awhile
now, fusing elements of prog, jazz, world, classical and ambient. He’s
collaborated with avant-garde saxophonist John Zorn for 11 albums,
been a leader on 29 albums of his own, worked in the band Naked City
for 10 albums and in a brilliant trio with drummer Paul Motian and
bop saxophonist Joe Lovano for 17 albums.
Lágrimas Mexicana is a completely unique collection of songs that draws heavily from traditional Latin and Brazilian rhythms, and weds them to 21st century jazz improvisation and sonic effects in a luxuriant braid of colors, textures, styles, and languages. Having known one another for 25 years, Brazilian guitarist, songwriter, and percussionist Vinicius Cantuaria and American guitarist Bill Frisell have occasionally played on one another's albums. They have long sought the opportunity to collaborate on an album-length project. After Cantuaria moved to Brooklyn from Brazil, it presented itself. Arriving in New York, Cantuaria was deeply taken with the sheer diversity of the Spanish-speaking people and sounds he encountered on the streets, from Cubans, Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, Colombians, Venezuelans, and Mexicans; they drew him in, and his songwriter's instincts began to address what he'd heard. Here he plays acoustic guitar, percussion, and sings in his beautiful airy baritone. Frisell, who understood and orchestrated Cantuaria's vision, plays electric guitar and employs loops and efx that meld provocatively yet seamlessly with these songs. The various languages -- Spanish, Portuguese, and English -- concern themselves with the various manifestations of love, from spiritual to carnal to platonic. The opener, "Mi Declaracion," begins with organic and synthetic percussion; Frisell plays a nocturnal, breezy wah-wah funk line before the tune asserts itself as a present-to-future Mexican sonidero. Cantuaria's and Frisell's guitars meet and play off one another on the utterly haunting and lovely "Calle 7," that touches on both ranchera and norteño but is its own sleek, sexy (post-)modern animal. Afro-Colombian rhythms meet samba in the lilting ballad "Lágrimas de Amor," where Frisell's guitar loops itself to create a counter rhythm and elongate the elegant textural elements at work in the structure. The lyric is tender, the melody is heartbreakingly beautiful. "Aquela Mulher" brings together a nuevo cancion melody with Afro-Brazilian rhythms. The only tune that deviates from the Latin and Brazilian tapestry is the brief closing number "Forinfas," which melds early jazz and pop, but from Cantuaria's voice, it becomes something wholly other. Lágrimas Mexicana is an ambitious yet utterly accessible album that would have been just as at home on David Byrne's Luaka Bop label. It is at once warm, sexy, and visionary. It presents two different yet very complementary artists in a collaboration that borders on brilliant. - by Thom Jurek, All Music
For those familiar with these two artists, either individually or in their previous collaborative incarnations including Frisell's own Intercontinentals or Cantuária's absorbing Horse and Fish, their high level of artistic integrity and deep level of musical simpatico is a given. However, on Lágrimas Mexicanas their collaboration reaches a milestone with their first true duet record. In fact, Frisell and Cantuária are the only two musicians on the entire record, credited with vocals, percussion, acoustic and electric guitars and loops. The only outside contribution comes in the form of production from long time Frisell collaborator; Lee Townsend.
The album opens with the pulsing funk of "Mi Declaracion" before setting off on it's broader exploration of the common and uncommon ground shared by jazz, blues, americana and the music of Mexico. The essence of the album, for me, is captured on "Calle 7" and "Lágrimas De Amor" (featuring Cantuária's beautifully distinctive vocal cadence), with the album reaching it's artistic peak on the atmospheric "Briga De Namorados". The blink-and-you-miss-it gem of "La Curva" has a simple and almost archetypal quality, as if the melody has always been there, floating in the ether. But the sweetest offerings of the collection are in those moments when it is simply one acoustic guitar and one electric guitar, Cantuária and Frisell "reacting to the sound of the thing" as Bill puts it, individual notes tumbling and fusing, dancing and consorting until they cease to be separate instruments or in fact instruments at all. The sweetest offerings are in those moments, where it is simply one beautiful sound. - No Depression, J. Hayes