Katia Cardenal: three reviews
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cd cover Katia Cardenal
  En Reveslandia
  Sueño de una noche de verano: …canta a Silvio Rodríguez
  Taube pa spanska/Fragrancia

All 3 titles from Kirkelig Kulturverksted (www.kkv.no)

Katia Cardenal began singing as a student in Managua's El Colegio Teresiano chorus, and initiated her professional career in 1980, during the early artistic ferment of revolutionary Nicaragua, joining with her brother Salvador Cardenal Barquero to form Duo Guardabarranco, one of the era's leading proponents of nueva canción. During the Sandinista period the duo toured the Soviet Union, Canada, and the United States. After performing in Norway in 1995, Cardenal moved to Europe and began a solo career. Returned to Nicaragua in 2005, she continues to tour as a soloist as well as with Duo Guardabarranco in Europe, Latin America and the United States; she also has performed with Jackson Browne, Silvio Rodríguez, Tish Hinojosa (with whom she shares a certain vocal semblance) and Honduran Guillermo Anderson (Orquesta de la Papaya).

She is backed by a host of accomplished acoustic musicians on three solo releases from Norway (she also can be heard on Kirkelig Kulturverksted's Lullabies from the Axis of Evil). Cardenal's En Reveslandia (In Backwards Land, recorded in Norway in 1999) is an unassuming album of children's songs that feature her crystal clear, unaffected soprano, with spare accompaniment on acoustic guitar, cavaquinho, lute, accordion, bass, hand percussion and occasional samples (notes and lyrics are in Spanish and Norwegian).

Listen!
On Sueño de una noche de verano (Midsummer Night's Dream) the singer interprets the daunting repertoire of Cuban trovador Silvio Rodríguez, whom she first met when he performed in Managua in 1983. Recorded in Nicaragua in 1998, Sueño enlists the vocal artistry of her cousin María Belén Cardenal, her brother Salvador, and Rodríguez himself (on "Historia de las sillas" and "Playa Girón"), with low-profile accompaniment on acoustic and electric guitars, violin, bass and percussion (with notes in Spanish and English, and lyrics in Spanish). Cardenal invests her own delicate, compelling artistry in modest wisps of song that have inspired two generations of Latin Americans and all those identified with the struggle for peace, justice and dignity throughout the region.

With Taube pa spanska/Fragrancia (recorded in Havana's Abdala Studios in 2001), Cardenal explores the Latin-inspired compositions of Swedish troubadour Evert Taube (1890-1976), investing the repertoire with the decided feel of the Cuban son and charanga. Cardenal's newly penned Spanish lyrics (also transcribed in Norwegian) hover lightly over expert accompaniment by tresero and arranger extraordinaire Pancho Amat and Cuban compatriots on guitar, trumpet, flute, bass and Afro-Cuban percussion, and backing by the orchestra of Joaquín Betancourt on seven of fourteen tracks. Throughout, Cardenal sings with an ease and grace that any singer would envy. Taken together, these three titles bear out the enduring vocal appeal of Katia Cardenal, whose warmth and uncompromising humanity animate a consummate artistry. - Michael Stone

Artist's web site: www.katiacardenal.com

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