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Piel de Aceituna

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Album Review

Chilean-born Mariana Montalvo might have lived in Paris since the Pinochet coup of 1973, but her heart is still with the nueva cancion movement that changed Latin music in the '60s and '70s. Poetic, often acoustic-based, it was a sound of the people. It's quite apparent on this record, whether in the gorgeously lulling "Ah Si Pudiese" or the brass band-propelled "Piel de Acietuna." Montalvo herself is a seductive singer, with just the merest hint of huskiness to her voice that brings a warmth to the music. Whether sounding quite traditional, as she does on "Mal Que Mata," or bringing in new elements with the reggae-fied "Sud' Americano" (which ends up coming across as an AAA version of Manu Chao, curiously), she's always convincing and committed, with a backing that's sympathetic but never obtrusive. Her duet with Congolese singer Lokua Kanza on "Encuentro" connects the dots between Latin America and Africa, while her take on Jacques Brel's "La Canción de los Amantes" does the same for her homeland and Europe — and offers a sense of her two homes, spiritual and temporal.


Genre: World

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Living in Paris as an expatriate, Mariana Montalvo brings an eclectic, worldly sensibility to her take on traditional Chilean folk music, often drawing upon the rich poetry of South America's booming literary movement for her lyrics (both self-penned and collaborative). Montalvo's lushly arranged...
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Piel de Aceituna, Mariana Montalvo
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