Marta Gómez – Entre Cada Palabra (Between Each Word) – Chesky

by | May 20, 2006 | Pop/Rock/World CD Reviews | 0 comments

Marta Gómez – Entre Cada Palabra (Between Each Word) – Chesky JD 301, *****:

Since I raved about Marta Gómez’s first Chesky album about a year ago, Marta has found her audience.  That album, Cantos de Agua Dulce, [Sweet Water Songs, Chesky JD 281] received almost unanimously favorable reviews and reached the upper regions in sales charts such as Billboard’s “Latin Jazz,” and others dedicated to “World Music,” and “Latin-American Music.” With her second Chesky album, Entre Cada Palabra [Between Each Word, Chesky JD 301], we get a more relaxed Marta Gómez, presenting fourteen different selections in thirteen different rhythms.  Her poetry still knocks me out, albeit breaking my heart a little, because she is comfortable revealing herself as still more than a little vulnerable.

Singing of lost love (perhaps her most arresting subject), Marta, after a very short mood-setting acoustic-guitar introduction, begins her version of Cielito Lindo very slowly. (I mean slooowly.)  She takes it in a key pitched so low she never has to reach for a note.  And, Marta being Marta, she never “belts out” the refrain: first, because she has a delicate voice; and because her style is to low-ball the lyric and underwhelm us in her subtly dreamy, wistful way.  She practically sighs the refrain.  If you’re not tuned in, you could mistake her profound softness for only down-tempo, low-volume presentation to add variety to the collection.  What you’d be missing is the well known yearning of the lover for the suddenly disinterested loved-one.  Marta can make weak men weep, and strong men come unglued.  Of course, women love her.  I was playing this record one night for visitors, and a woman of Spanish descent asked me to play Cielito Lindo again.  I did.  She was visibly moved.

As on her previous CD, Marta demonstrates a breadth and depth to her poetry in the treatment of a wide range of songs.  On this collection she sings of birds, village characters, hard work like cutting sugar cane, the special relationship between aunt and niece; one song is as to a child, another is about a black kid who painted his face white; others are about secrets, fresh water fish, and poetry, more precisely, the spaces between words: “There is a silence hidden between each word we say, between each laugh and each song.  Some people think we waste our lives on those silences.  I actually believe that those moments are what life is made of.” She has such a lovely poetic sensibility. 

The tunes themselves range from slow to medium to fast, from sounding as if the group were intimate family members sitting around a picnic table in someone’s backyard playing and singing well-known traditional songs, to a professional band at a night club performing covers of the best Latin material. Oh yeah, lest I forget: Kudos to Chesky’s corporate leadership for having the vision to bring Marta and her group to a larger audience, for putting their money where their mouth is, so to speak, and living up to their commitment to new music: To the entire Chesky recording-engineering /production team for maintaining their ongoing tradition of excellence despite changing personnel.

— Max Dudious

[This review also appears in a longer version in the current issue of]

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