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En Paz

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Album Review

Eljuri (Cecilia Villar) has been compared to Santana plenty of times in the past for her guitar skills and style. Much like Santana, she's now branching into a wider range of sound on En Paz, touching on flamenco, reggae, rock, and more. The album opens with what turns out to be an excellent bit of reggae, in part courtesy of Sly & Robbie. In "Sombra Negra," some breathy vocals form a core of sound that eventually leads to some very Santana-like electric guitar. "Yo Soy" keeps the electric riffs but adds a Cuban rhythm, and "Jaula" introduces Johnette Napolitano of Concrete Blonde for a growled, flamenco-inspired vocal line. In "I Told You Before," the tone becomes reminiscent of Garbage in every way possible — the only thing missing is Shirley Manson's sneering vocals. The sound becomes a bit more nuevo latino as the album progresses, moving to a more sultry vocal for the title track and a slightly edgier sound (fittingly) for "Peligrosa." The palmas of flamenco show up for "Tierras," underscoring a surf-guitar sort of tone. "Una Ola" has Brazilian motives in it, and "Ayer" brings back just a little of the Garbage growl, the British smoothness of a guitar, and combines it with a more distinctly Spanish format with surprisingly good results. The main run of songs ends with a circus-bent piece with just a hint of something exotic mixed in. A couple of remixes and reprises finish off the album officially, with an archival recording of Eljuri's mother marking the final track. While the sound is full and well-developed, the album remains not-quite-overproduced. The beats can get thick, the bass can get a little heavy, but at the same time you can still hear Eljuri's fingers scraping the strings as she moves from chord to chord. Her vocals take center stage, but not by volume and bombast so much as by tone. Really a fine album for the sheer fusion of Spanish and other sound elements, all without becoming self-conscious or showy. This is not music made to show off, but it just happens to succeed in showing off anyway.


Genre: Latino

Years Active:

Born in Guayaquil, Ecuador, but raised mostly in New York City, Cecilia Villar Eljuri is a bilingual singer, guitarist (both electric and acoustic), and songwriter who was with the N.Y.C.-based bands the Trouble Dolls and Grupo Fiesta in the past but has since become a full-time solo artist. Earlier in her career, Eljuri played guitar on a lot of songs that were in English, but more recently she has concentrated on Spanish-language material and favored a rock en español/Latin pop approach. As a solo...
Full Bio
En Paz, Eljuri
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