Amparo Sánchez ‘Alma de Cantaora’ (Kasba/Wrasse) 4/5

Barcelona-based singer-songwriter Amparo Sánchez has carved out a niche for herself by presenting her own version of the Americana sound with a Spanish twist that involves not only predominantly Spanish-language lyrics, but also the occasional foray into Cuban beats. On her last album devoted to Arizona, ‘Tucsan Arizona’. she worked these disparate three elements into a cohesive whole and returns for a second instalment that is equally enjoyable. Once again Sánchez has collaborated with Cuban composer Mane Ferret who also doubles up on vocals and chorus and Jordi Mestres is an integral member of the band on various guitars and bass. There is nothing revoultionary about the music contained within. It is simply quality melodic music. The pared down bass and vocals on ‘Pulpa de Taramindo’ (Taramindo’s Pump) features some dissonant guitar licks from Mestres and a Cuban percussion that gives the song real punch with a collective chorus. This could easily find its way onto a Jim Jarmusch film soundtrack. There is a lovely laid back feel to ‘Old Passion’ with Ferret helping out on vocals while ‘For You’ is a Ry Cooder-style number which sounds like a twenty-first century dustbowl ballad and Sánchez’s husky delivery is ideally suited here. Guitarist Mestres has the opportunity to stretch out on the mid-tempo percussion-led ‘Flower of the word’. In contrast the guitar-led ballad ‘Vueltas’ (Turnings) builds up a head of steam with Cuban percussive accompaniment. Amparo Sánchez deserves to be heard by a wider audience and the fact that she sings primarily in Spanish should not in any way detract from the fact that she can deliver authentic folksy Americana with a highly personalised interpretation. Tim Stenhouse

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