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Monday, November 23, 2009

All That Jazz! Concha Buika

Written By: Staff Writer—Concha Buika's (pronounced BWEE-kah) musical fusion of flamenco, jazz, soul and dance rhythms has been a sensation in Spain since her debut album, Mi Nina Lola, came out in 2005. The album earned Buika credibility, recognition, awards, and a fan base yearning for more. Buika's latest album, La Nina de Fuego, is a collection of flamenco songs and Spanish and Mexican folk ballads. The songs are about women dealing with loneliness, infidelity and the consequences of falling in love with the wrong man—or woman. Read more about Buika by clicking on the “Read More” link ...

Buika was born María Concepción Balboa Buika on the island of Mallorca, to parents who came to Spain as political exiles from Equatorial Guinea. They lived in a poor neighborhood in the island’s capital city, Palma de Mallorca, where Buika remembers that the only black resident other than her family members was a man hired to stand in the doorway of a gift shop, like a novelty on display. She was a skinny girl with an Afro that curious neighbors would reach out to touch— hair which she later learned to style from photos of her early musical idols Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston.

Her father, a writer and activist, left the family and returned to Guinea, and her mother raised Buika and her five siblings in a household “filled with people, food and music. Buika explains. “An African can’t live without music. Like meals, music was part of our daily life. There has always been music in my head and in my heart.”

Buika found a second home among the community of Gypsy families who had settled in Palma de Mallorca. Spanish music was very much a part of those long childhood afternoons; the influence is echoed today in Buika’s instinctive embrace of flamenco’s emotional cante jondo, or deep song, and the copla. But as much as she is credited with reinventing that classic romantic Spanish style, Buika herself refuses to define music by a genre and instead lets her music speak for itself.

Buika says she’s most drawn to music, borne on society’s fringes that expresses her own desire to tell it like it is. “I’m from the barrio,” she says. “I’m inspired by chattering with my comadres [girlfriends] ... You have to want to sing about the many parts of who you are, not just the pretty things, or the things you think are cute,” adds Buika. “Because the art of a person is sometimes in their pain. It’s everywhere and I think one must live openly, bravely, and tell it like it is at every moment, as if you were breathing.”

Learn more about Buika by visiting:

(Photo Credits: Provided Courtesy Of Cindy Bram PR)


Myne Whitman said...

Nice article, wish her the best.