Daniel Melingo ‘Linyera’ (World Village) 4/5

Daniel-Melingo-LinyeraHeralded as the Argentine equivalent of Tom Waits and now garnering extensive airplay among the more specialist radio programmes, Daniel Melingo is finally receiving some well deserved media attention. He has recently performed in London this year as part of the La Linea Latin music festival and has been championed by this writer for several years including his brief sojourn with the XL label that Gotan Project made famous. The latest album by the singer-songwriter is typically eclectic in style, including tango-canción, and uses the lunfardo slang for which Buenos Aires is renowned. In fact the title track itself is an example of the vernacular language, based on the title of a well known a song written by Maria Luisa Carnelli under the pseudonym of Luis Maria, and refers to a vagabond whose low-life nocturnal yearnings form an integral part of the tango repertoire. An interesting fusion of tango and bossa nova greets the listener on ‘Después de pasar’ during which Federico Garcia Lorca no less is alluded to while for those in search of melancholic and refined tango, ‘Garrapatea’ should fit the bill nicely. Melingo differs from many other Argentine singers in his espousal of minority causes and here he explicitly refers to the plight of the Quetchua Indian inhabitants with ‘Soneto para Daniel Reguera’. It should come as little surprise, then, that the singer should have been influenced by the 1970s protest song that permeated Latin America and the song of one key individual, Violetta Parra, is covered to good effect on ‘Volver a los diesisiete’ with a lovely dissonant guitar accompaniment. It has to be stressed that the music of Daniel Melingo is not something that immediately strikes the listener first time round. Rather, like a subtle wine, one needs to soak in the tango flavours on several occasions before they eventually linger long on the mind and soul. Tim Stenhouse