Sunday, June 24
Better than: Dreaming of her.
A 2009 performance by Concha Buika is on YouTube showing the Spanish singer in Lincoln Center's Damroch Park backed by solo piano and performing a smoldering version of "Tu Volverás." Even then, with minimal accompaniment, star quality oozes from every pore and note. It's not just her flawless diction and phrasing; Buika's intellectual command of her material makes each song she tackles hard to forget. You see the same showmanship when Aretha Franklin performs "Respect" in the original Blues Brothers movie: Acting out the words as she sings, ReRe's personal authority makes you believe she wrote the tune on the spot.
Similarly combining passion with dignity, Buika sidesteps the kinds of cheese-bombs set off by early attempts to merge her organic tone with the digital frequencies of EDM and transforms wistful ballads and kinetic flamenco coplas from atavistic torch songs into Lady Liberty's beacon. Only when sung with this sort of fierce, wholehearted abandon can unrequited love heal, liberate, and vindicate its own pain. When you consider how easily television reduces contemporary romance to tacky dating-game parodies like The Choice or to grim post-mortems like Divorce Court, we clearly need somebody sane enough to put capital-L love back on a pedestal. Buika has the guts, the sanity, and the talent to do just that.More »