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Album Review

With a fascinating mixture of rhythms and whirling harmonies, Carmen Flores ("the Ebony Fire") steps boldly back onto center stage with her 2000 release, Babalú. Drawing from the more African side of traditional Cuban music, Flores casts an inescapable spell with her belly-rumbling voice and masterful song interpretations. The album features a style called Afro, which emulates the religious bata drumming of the Yoruban religion, a style often overlooked by modern Afro-Cuban musicians. In her repertoire choices, she also pays homage to her African roots, with many songs referring to the Orishas, or Gods of the Yoruban tradition. Through references to deities of old, selections such as "Cabiosile pa' Changó," "Yemayá," and "Babalú y Tabú" bring a rich, ancient religious tradition to life. The mood of the record is far from dark or somber, maintaining a festive, lively attitude. Flores is without question a vocal talent to be reckoned with. The thick, rich timbre of her voice commands respect and inspires awe. She is like no other Cuban musician recording today. For those caught up in the resurgence of interest in the musical traditions of Cuba, Carmen Flores' Babalú will convert them, turning enthusiasts into connoisseurs. ~ Evan C. Gutierrez, Rovi

Babalú, Carmen Flores
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