Concha Buika and Chucho Valdés Collaboration Nominated for Latin Grammys and MOBO Awards

Spanish singer Concha Buika was nominated for the Latin Grammys for her album El Último Trago, in the category of Best Traditional Tropical Album. For the album she partnered with Cuban pianist Chucho Valdés. This album was also nominated for the United Kingdom’s MOBO Awards (short for Music of Black Origin Awards). El Último Trago [The Last Drink] is a result of a meeting of artists paying tribute to the legendary Mexican singer Chavela Vargas on her 90th birthday. In April 2009, Afro-Majorcan singer Buika and Afro-Cuban pianist Valdés got together in Abdala Studios in Havana, convened by Spanish guitarist and producer Javier Limón, for this emotional, musical commemoration.

See review by Michael G. Nastos:

While coming from the land of flamenco, this music retains the son quality of Afro-Cuban music, in great part due to the professional expertise Valdés adds to the musical arrangements, not necessarily the lyric content. Those expressions come from a romantic context, telling tales of lessons in life sung in Spanish, mostly brief and to the point, made more elegant by the legendary pianist, who as usual can do no wrong. The consistency of these recordings from track to track reflects the romantic notions of these great musicians, from the slow, sultry cha-cha form of “Soledad” and “Sombras,” to the light son “Cruz de Olvido” with the magnificent, regal, traditional-styled piano playing of Valdés, “Se Me Hizo Facil” where Buika’s singing is at times exuberant, or the bolero type “Somos” with chiming chords from the pianist. The uptempo clave beat of “El Andariego” incites a more animated Buika and instills Valdés to jump into a montuno bridge, and a very lively “Luz de Luna” is pushed along by the skilled trumpet playing of Carlos Sarduy. Bassist Lázaro Rivero Alarcón, percussionist Yaroldy Abreu Robles, and drummer Juan Carlos Rojas Catro lay out on several selections, as Buika and Valdés go it alone for the passionate “Las Cuidades,” the short, quaint, classic waltz “En El Ultimo Trago,” the lilting “Las Simples Cosas” that bears resemblance to the croon tune “Bésame Mucho,” or the delicate closer “Vamonos.” Clearly a chemistry exists here, beautifully exotic, with Buika as the shining star to be discovered and fully illuminated, with Valdés as her colorful spotlight technician. It’s unlikely you’ll find a better pairing of an amazing singer and accompanist anywhere else, no matter the music type, but if you enjoy the classic Latin song performed with every ounce of emotion available, this recording will be impossible to resist.

Listen to Buika and Valdés singing “Se me hizo fácil,” here:

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