Palabras Urgentes

Susana Baca

Released 08 October 2021

  1. La herida oscura
  2. Negra del alma
  3. Color de rosa
  4. Milonga de mis amores
  5. Cariño
  6. Cambalache
  7. Sorongo
  8. Juana Azurduy
  9. Dämmerung
  10. Vestida de vida

Liner notes

In the 50th year of her musical career Susana Baca has no intention of surrendering her creativity to the will of others and Palabras Urgentes is not just another album in her discography. It is more than that. It is a musical creation, a collection of songs, intended to take on today’s difficult times.

The album was not created to be just a beautiful distraction or as a means to charm the listener. On the contrary, Susana has recorded this album as a form of protest and to spark debate — and the listener must understand this to really understand the album — but, also, as a means to encourage us to cherish and value the time we are given and to live in the fullest sense.

Immersed in her country’s political landscape Susana Baca has come to understand and value the importance of being the heir to singers that once sung for liberty, social equality and for the end of racism. There is a bleak shadow over Peru’s recent history and the only way forward is by confronting the past.

Palabras Urgentes is a collection of 10 songs that attempts to bottle the heritage and tradition of those that once fought for a better world. It was recorded in Cañete, a small town located 150 kilometres from Peru’s Capital, and the songs are given added life by the presence and support of Michael League (Snarky Puppy, Bokanté, David Crosby) whose production brings a universal and contemporary sound to the album.

It is the combination of the music’s beauty and urgency of the lyrics that makes Palabras Urgentes so compelling. It is a journey divided into 10 chapters. Each one a self-contained narrative with its own beginning and end, but when they all come together they become one single journey; a unique musical reflection of the traditions of Peru.

Palabras Urgentes’ message is strong and it uses the most powerful weapon to fight injustice: knowledge.

Age casts a different light upon the world and this album seeks to express freely and honestly those things that I love most intensely. At the age of 76 it is time to stop thinking of always having to please others and deliver an album truly from the heart.

These ten songs seem to be mostly premonitions of the difficult times we are now living through. They weave music from my deepest roots with urgent words, of hope and condemnation, to seek out a mature and cherished truth.

With my own spirit and the hearts and talent of all those who have contributed, we offer this album as a renewal of our traditional music. I hope those listening to this album feel both a love for life and a love for living truthfully.

Susana Baca

Susana Baca - Sorongo (Official Video)

Reviews

  • Uncompromising emotion from the Peruvian great ★★★★★ Songlines
  • The record feels like a South American variant of Cuba's Buena Vista Social Club... Sumptuous stuff. ★★★★ The Observer
  • One of the most seductive discs of the year. Longtime Baca admirers certainly won't be disappointed, and newcomers will be won over. ★★★★ The Times
  • Full of vitality The Guardian
  • A really gorgeous record. Vital and present. NPR All Things Considered
  • vibrant d’odes féministes Telerama
  • un album magnifique sur lequel elle marie les rythmes hérités des anciens esclaves et les poètes latino-américains Le Monde
  • un album aussi militant que poétique F.I.P.

Listen

Credits

All songs conceived by Susana Baca
Arranged by Michael League
Produced by Michael League
Co-produced by Ricardo Pereira and Fab Dupont
Engineered and mixed by Fab Dupont
Additional engineering by Diko Shoturma and Michael League
Assisted by John Muller and Tom Beuchel
Mastered by Dave McNair in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Recorded at Bembón Records in Cañete, Perú, Bambú Records in Lima, Perú, Flux Studios in New York, New York, and Atlantic Sound Studio in Brooklyn, New York
Mixed at Flux Studios in New York, New York
Mastered in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Executive Producer Ricardo Pereira
Published by PREGON PRODUCCIONES, Lima, Peru

A Real World Design by Marc Bessant
Photography Javier Falcón
Stylist Lía Lázaro

The musicians
Susana Baca – voice
Oscar Huaranga – double bass (1,2,3,4,6,7,8,10) batácajón (3,6)
Hugo Bravo – cajón (1,3,4,6,10) congas (3,6,7,10) djembe (2,6,7,8,10) kaxixi (8) cajita, quijada and campana (6,7)
Enrique Purizaga – marimba de agua (2, 7, 10) piano (5,6,7,9)
Ernesto Hermosa – acoustic guitar (1,3,4,10)
Marielena Pacheco – violin (1,4,7)
Aaron Abuid – soprano and alto saxophone (2)
Abiud Mucha – soprano and tenor saxophone (2)
Felix Ayllon – alto saxophone (2)
Jeff Coffin – alto flute (1,2,3,4,6,10) tenor saxophone (3,6 solo,7,10) whistles (3)
Carolina Araoz – tenor saxophone (2,4,10) voice (7,10)
Becca Stevens – charango (8)
Magda Giannikou -accordion (8)
Rodrigo Castillo – spoken word (10)
Daniela Ghersi – choir director (7,10)
Paola Cuadros – choir director (7,8)
Music Solutions – choir and voices (3,7)
Michael League – riq (4,8) dohola and solo darbuka (7) electric guitar (1,8) and voice

Further listening

  • Tambolero

    Totó la Momposina

    Released 25 June 2015

    You don't normally get the chance to go back in time and reimagine a classic album like La Candela Viva but creating Tambolero has been a challenge and a delight. It’s become a celebration of Totó's career: six decades dedicated to preserving, researching and developing an ancestral tradition, the identity of a people, passed down through the generations. 
  • What Heat

    Bokanté + Metropole Orkest (Conducted by Jules Buckley)

    Released 27 September 2018

    Bokanté traces the blues from its roots in Africa and the Arab world throughout the diaspora and into a modern context. Led by Michael League (Snarky Puppy), the album features Guadeloupean vocalist Malika Tirolien and is a collaboration with the Metropole Orkest and arranger/conductor Jules Buckley.

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Track of the day: ‘Sorongo’ by Susana Baca

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