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Reviews Cover of the album Canto Sentimental Cover of the album Canto Sentimental

Sentimental Song/ Amanda Cepero

The letter of introduction of one musician to another will always be her art and the emotion she projects. Approaching the sounds of Amanda Cepero without knowing her artistic trajectory has been a challenge and a tremendous joy. There are several reasons: first, she arrived recommended by two women whom I admire very much; second, my listening experience was not constant as in other cases, but it was attentive and enjoyed in each of the songs that I was crumbling sonorously in my itinerant travels. Therefore, this review is intended to be an atypical approach (different from my previous texts), without links, without apparently shared stories, without much information. Just the context, the music and me.

Sounds Just Be as I write these lines. I'm lost when I listen to the song because of the rhythm that outlines it and I can't think of any way to tell what I feel. I was checking her Instagram while this bossa nova was playing, I started to follow her, then she did the same (wowthings happen). I get closer to her day by day, I discover that in her last years in Cuba she shared the stage with the troubadour Ariel Díaz, and this is how she is remembered by people who were at that concert in Casa de las Américas on March 14, 2002, when she made her debut as a singer at the age of 17, and where the duo Karma was also present. 

I read several texts and it jumps Unpluggeda project based in Spain that seeks to support and make visible the work of women in the creative industries and also accompanies Amanda in the path of the album before its release, in September 2022, as a publishing label. I keep discovering the artist, because contrary to what I said at the beginning, everything happens for a reason, and to talk about such a complete production as it is Sentimental Song you can't just listen, sing and write. 

Let's get down to business.

Amanda Cepero is a multifaceted Cuban artist, singer, composer and actress, who has a lot to tell in her career in Cuba and around the world. Her latest album is intended to be her debut as a composer, although she shares in it the interpretation of songs such as Wait for second by singer-songwriter Pedrito Beritán, and the Guaguancó so you don't cry by Tito Junco Martínez, accompanied by the voice of his mother Coralia Rodríguez..

The album highlights the work achieved with the musicians that make up the production. The musical arrangements are very good in the hands of Lino LoresThe work with the orchestration and the level and natural timbres add freshness to the themes. 

Sentimental Song represents musical Cuba and its diverse connections with foreign sounds that connect it to the universal. It has rhythmic-melodic nods that represent the tradition, the religion, the contemporary popular that has formed Cepero throughout his career in music. For example: Underpinning is a very tasty changüí songuea'o, with catchy choruses, that reminds me a lot of Kelvis Ochoa and a bit of those "descargosos" songs by Habana Abierta. This one links up with Sentimental Song, very similar in terms of sonority. What is distinctive here is the work of the sound art, how the timbres of the percussions, the guitar with the tres and the harmonizations of the choruses are articulated with Amanda's voice, an alto that tells stories through all this magic. The guajira Always you, and Grow are songs that I recommend listening to later, and together, because they recreate ambiguous mysteries that each one alone could not honestly discover. Grow is a song dedicated to her colleague and friend singer-songwriter Lien Rodríguez.

Groping by Havana, I continued listening on Mother's Sunday and arrived home with Habanece, one of the most nostalgic songs on the album. A danzón with strings that has calm and in its poetry describes the images of our capital, when it says: "There is a city that inspires when the afternoon grows old, and romance and its song rejuvenate". Thus he jumped Alone with my grief, by rampampan (I think I had the shuffle mode on this album, which I never listened to in its original order). It is a phonogram of instants, therefore, each song contemplates a state of being, being and feeling the essence of Amanda, but manages to capture at times the emotional needs of the listener and also those of the musicians who accompany her, who I cannot fail to mention because their talents greatly enrich this production. In this team, together with Lino Lores, we find Pity Cabreras on piano and keyboards, and Raudel Betancourt on the drums

Alone with my sorrow has a wonderful piano and voice arrangement that hooks you from the first notes. Here I discovered a sensitive woman, who surrounds sorrows with a great willingness to continue life on other paths. She wants to return to her places, but prefers to know others where the smile is infinite, always.

The negative thing I notice about the production, in general, besides small sonic issues in the mastering of some songs, is the little reach it has had in the Cuban public, especially in the musician receiver who resides in Cuba and needs to activate those external listeners. There have always been Cuban talents and souls scattered around the world, but now there is a very interesting musical movement that outside the island is giving much to talk about Cuban music. Sentimental Song is a full-fledged example of this. 

Finally, I would like to talk about Slack Rope and It will arrive. Blues and guajira respectively, work the melodies in a simple and beautiful way with heartfelt texts, immersed in the typical stories of love, the simple and naive of life. The latter speaks of maternal experiences; the former is ambiguous and sensual.

It is nice the balance that is created in the setlist of some musical albums. Although this one might seem a bit long, it is so fluid and varied that it never tires you out. I think that contrasting a moving theme with a dramatic ballad is a challenge and an art that has to be worked well in the curatorship of any production. Here we get that perfect combination of Cuban, American jazzy, troubadour, Latin American and pop.

I still have a lot to discover about Amanda Cepero and her music. This album was a first approach, unprejudiced and honest, that I make of my sonic experience with Amanda's production and personality. We are a bit similar in musical style, there are sentimental links that speak to me about what Amanda Cepero has been, is and will be.

I believe, without fear of being wrong, that the album works as an announcement of what Amanda is going to be in the near future. All the songs are, from my role as a recipient, the essence that marks her style: colorful, empowered, colorful, subtle and caractoso, pink and dark blue. Twelve songs that show the diversity of musical genres that can be made with Cuban flavor, the one that shapes her lineage, whether she is near or far from her homeland.

Avatar photo Meily Tellez Always running around Havana. A nervous one who falls asleep watching series. Her time is for music and her family. She dreams of producing and singing on many stages. A musicologist with roles wanting to be many things... More posts

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