There are so many influences in this album; Cuban, Jazz, Venezuelan, Swiss, it’s hard to note from each song what track goes into which category. Indeed, they don’t. It’s all too easy these days to want to bracket music into one category: this is jazz; this is soul; this is funk. Yilian Canizares in this wonderful cultural technicolour dreamcoat of an album, tears stereotypes to shreds and that’s why it’s such a pleasure to listen to. Musical popping candy, explosions of improvisation darting around everywhere. She even finds a place to rap in ‘Iya Mi’ and obviously, it’s brilliant!
If we had to put a label on it, which I’m not so keen on, I’d have to say this was a warm-hearted jazz album with licks and tricks of Latin infusion. The meandering melody of ‘Beroni Abebe Osun’, the first track on the album, is a great indicator of this. The pulsing bass, the heartbeat of the track, with her plucked violin, the blood that pumps through its veins.
Canizares is a linguist as well, just in case she wasn’t quite enough for us all to admire. The way she flicks from Spanish to syllable-perfect French for her version of Edith Piaf’s ‘Je Ne Regrette Rien’ (a beautiful version, incidentally) is seamless and you’d be absolutely forgiven for thinking it was her first language. It is not easy to cover songs as great as Piaf’s classic, but Canizares does it with style, class and most importantly, grace. Anything less than entirely graceful for a track like this makes the music clunky and blatantly a bad cover version. This could be her own track – the strings perfectly light to compliment the calm of the vocal and the ease with which Piaf’s lyrics lift the weight of the world off the shoulders. ‘I regret nothing’. So simple. Yilian Canizares, we salute you. And we’ll be watching out for the next album.