Maria Lando, solo trabajo

600x600 1I’m trying to improve my (in truth, rather pitiful) Spanish at the moment and a friend of mine is giving me lessons. (She recently sat, uncomplaining, through my kack-handed attempts to describe the Fall gig of a few months back in broken Spanish… and has apparently forgiven me…). Anyway, she suggested, last week, that I could immerse myself in some Spanish music to get the rhythms of the language and grammar into my bones, as it were. I explained I am a little fussy about my music (quisqilloso, no less) but I thought I’d give it a go and in fact I lucked out almost immediately, stumbling upon this splendid compilation of Peruvian ballads and stompers, put together by David Byrne’s Luaka Bop.

What a great record it is!

Susana Baca

I’m not going to pretend to know much about Susana Baca, (in fact the only fact I do know about her is that she became for a short time a minister in the Peruvian cabinet) but the Maria Lando track which opens the compilation needs no background knowledge or context. It’s stunning.

I think it’s a touching account of a woman bound to a job and it’s inhuman working conditions, but as I say, with the state of my Spanish, it could well be about something else entirely. It’s beautifully sung and delicately arranged, particularly so, in the clip below… It is an absolute beaut.

There are a whole bunch of other great songs on the record and I am completely spellbound by the whole thing at the moment, but this is the song I keep returning to… Utterly, utterly magical…

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