Susana Baca’s ‘passage’ proves powerful

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Susana Baca “Travesias” (V2)

On “Travesias,” Afro-Peruvian singer Susana Baca coos like a school girl, flushed and woozy after a first kiss.

Baca, with her innocent yet sensuous voice, masterfully conveys the variety of emotions contained in these collection of songs. But the album is also augmented by an infusion of international influences that give the album a refreshing tone.

Baca sings in Haitian Creole, English and Italian, and has the uncanny ability to make each language sound like her mother tongue. On “Ne Quelque Part,” an electric guitar adds its sinewy strands, a perfect complement to Baca’s lovely voice.

The Tosca String Quartet is also featured, serving as a wonderful addition to Baca’s backup musicians. They give the traditional Peruvian Christmas song “Palomita Ingrata,” originally sung by slaves, a rootsy, Appalachian feel.

Baca’s last album, the compelling “Espiritu Vivo,” was recorded in Manhattan in the aftermath of Sept. 11.

“Travesias,” which means passages, was recorded just before Baca was to begin studying Creole music at Tulane University in New Orleans; she escaped before Hurricane Katrina hit.

Once again, Baca delivers stirring songs that soothe during difficult times.

AP-ES-05-28-06 0037EDT


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