Musiquita is the fifth recording from Colombian singer-songwriter Marta Gomez, now released on BlueMusicGroup.com. This new project reflects the steady growth of an artist who, while deepening her art, maintains her own strong identity. On Musiquita, Marta expands her vocal vocabulary, enlarging her unique sound to include percussive vocal improvisation and soaring vocalese. Her arrangements have become more sure and years of worldwide concert touring have solidified the sound of her band. But it’s Marta’s unique voice, the quality and the simplicity that she draws from the bittersweet stories of the people of Latin America, that remains intact on Musiquita.
Musiquita was recorded in the Knoop Studios in New Jersey which gave Marta the luxury of unlimited time to hone the arrangements and to record with an impressive ensemble of 15 musicians including Colombian marimba player Diego Obregon, Cuban musicians Gema and Pavel, and singer and percussionist Mariana Baraj, among many others.
The album contains fourteen original compositions that embrace a host of diverse rhythms such as the Peruvian el festejo, the carnavalito of Bolivia and the Argentina zamba. The album also reveals a more mature side of Marta as she tackles deeper social themes as in the case of the song Basilio, dedicated to a child miner in Bolivia. Another song, Rio, rooted in the rhythm of Colombian cumbia, compares the course of a lifetime to a river’s current as it follows the riverbed. The song speaks to the pain of war, a pain shared by too many of the world’s citizens who live in conflict zones such as Colombia.
There are also songs such as Tierra, tan solo, inspired by the work of Spanish writer Federico Garcia Lorca and performed masterfully by Argentine guitarist Claudio Ragazzi. Another song inspired by folk music, Si no cantara, highlights the distinctive Aguabajo rhythm from the Pacific coast of Colombia with maestro Diego Obregn on marimba as the sole accompaniment to Marta’s voice.
The album title Musiquita elevates the affectionate use of diminutives that is so common in Latin American culture where they are an inseparable part of daily language. In the country villages of South America, diminutives don’t diminish the importance of the words, as one might believe. To the contrary, they celebrate them and make them more personal, more intimate. Marta has chosen to brand her own music with this communal intimacy by naming her new recording Musiquita.
I love jazz because it swings.
I was first exposed to jazz in Houston.
I met Joe LoCascio and Bob Henschen.
The best show I ever attended was Pat Martino.
The first jazz record I bought was Time Out by the Dave Brubeck Quartet.
My advice to new listeners is to relax on 2 and 4 beats.