Armando Garzon,
(Corason, 1999)

Armando Garzon, Cuban countertenor non pareil, brings us all the romance of the trova in this CD of boleros, tangos and other songs of love from all over Latin America.

Educated as an engineer, Garzon left that profession to study the music of the Renaissance. He then turned to the sones and boleros of his childhood and eventually joined the older musicians of the Casa de la Trova. He comes to us from that tradition in this, his third CD to be released in the United States, paying homage as well to the intermixture of romantic music as songs and stylings travel back and forth among the singers and musicians of the southern part of this hemisphere.

This is not your big heartthrob singing here. This is your best friend who understands how your heart breaks. This is the guy who taught you how to tango so you could dance with that other guy, if he asked you. This guy hangs around your house and jams with your brother. He flirts a little with your mother. My 80-year-old mother loved this CD, by the way.

All the songs are in Spanish, of course. But you should speak Spanish anyway. If you don't, you'll probably understand the gist of the songs from the rhythm and the delivery.

They're all songs about the vicissitudes of being in love. Lots of flowers: "Flor de ausencia," "Rosa dormida," "Le dije a una rosa." Failure to communicate: "Si me comprendieras," "Nosotros." Betrayal: "La mentira," "No me vayas a enganar." And gossip: "Escandalo" All sung as if Garzon understands and is trying to explain it to you.

This is a terrific CD to have on hand when you're planning a quiet candlelight dinner with camarones, rice and a slinky dress. You'll be glad you did.

[ by J. Higgins-Rosebrook ]
Rambles: 8 December 2001

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