Berta Rojas
Reviews
Felicidade
/ CD Album

Bellinati Jongo Gismonti Água e vino Jobim Desafinado Jobim/Moraes Felicidade Lins Começar de novo Moraes Berimbau Nazareth Odeon Ortiz Mis noches sin ti. Recuerdos de Ypacarai Pascoal Bebê Reis Se ela perguntar Trepat Homenaje a Baden Powell Villa-Lobos Chôro típico
Berta Rojas gtr e invitados; Paraguay National Symphony Orchestra / Popi Spatocco
ON Music Recording F (60 · DDD)

Self-described as a classical guitarist who ‘mostly prefers to play Latin American tunes’, multiple Latin Grammy nominee Berta Rojas puts her exquisite range of skills at the service of a musical travelogue through her personal take on the musical legacy of the Brazilian guitar and its key composers and performers. The 13 tracks are heavily suffused with tango, including the original ‘savage and lascivious’ Afro-Brazilian maxixe, bossa nova, big band jazz, cowboy, commercial and classical.
Listening to Rojas’s simultaneously bold, colourful and intimate playing while reading Irineu Franco Perpetuo’s booklet notes –about not just the giants such as Villa-Lobos and Ernesto Nazareth bus also colourful figures like the ‘albino from Alagoas’ Hermeto Pascoal and other virtuoso multi-instrumentalists—the effect is intoxicating. Appropriately for the title-track, Tom Jobim’s Felicidade cobines many of these elements in a kaleidoscopic celebration which Rojas concludes with a wide-ranging, three-minute cadenza against the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional del Paraguay on full display, including spectacular trombone riffs and sumptuously produced sound.
The CD is strewn casually with beauties for Rojas and smaller ensambles like the Paraguayan Demetrio Ortiz’s film noir-ish Mis noches sin ti, with its seductive, earthy cello solos, the Brazilian Dilermando Reis’s sinfully gorgeous Se ela perguntar, one of Nazareth’s most celebrated tangos, his infectiously upbeat Odeon, and one of Villa-Lobo’s most sublime creations, his Choro típico. The straightforward, honest and electric performances give voice to the music with a feeling of being born on the spot. Recorded in Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil, the sound throughout has fire and soul.

Lawrence Vittes
Gramophone
[ United Kingdom ]