Uxia - Estou Vivindo No Ceo
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Estou Vivindo No Ceo
Nube Negra (1996)

cd cover Uxía comes from the Galician region of Spain, situated in the northwest and known for its Celtic roots. The music here is a wonderful mix of cultures even at its most traditional, and Uxia and her talented producer and musicians push these traditions to the breaking point.

The album opens with a lush "alala," a traditional song style notable for its lack of structure, melodically and rhythmically. Her voice wanders through open phases that allow for a full exposition of her formidable vocal talents, from gentle sweetness to powerful roar. The musical underpinnings are far from traditional, though. Using a droning synthesizer for a bottom, they add harp, cello, violin and bagpipes to create an unearthly, airy sound that is what all those Enya-esque records dream of and never achieve. An old Armenian tune drifts through the song, adding another layer of complexity. The lyric says "I have lovers, I have boats, I am living in heaven" and listening to the song, you can believe it.

Many of the twelve songs on the album are traditional, but their treatments range from simple folk accompaniment to some very edgy, almost avant garde pieces. But the contemporary songs are some of the shining moments. "Arquestas Noites Tan Longas (Those Long Nights)" is an adaptation of a 13th century poem. It has strong Galician roots but a very modern thrust, driven by mandola, violins, Arabic percussion and the trikitixa (Basque diatonic accordion) of Kepa Junkera. There are one or two tracks where the lushness of the synthesizers and the singer collude to make something just shy of a cocktail lounge soundtrack, but they are mercifully brief moments in a shining hour of music. The rest of the album is a diverse set of Galician, Portuguese and Spanish roots. This could well be one of those recordings you can't get out of your CD player. A month after discovering it, I still couldn't. - CF

CD available at cdRoots

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