DOS LAGRIMAS Diego El Cigala, España
by Carlos Reyes
Dos Lagrimas is said to be the continuation of the majestic Lagrimas Negras which enchanted us all a few years ago, becoming not only one of the most critically acclaimed albums in Spanish and a best-seller. Cuban piano master Bebo Valdés and Spain’s Diego “El Cigala” had given us the perfect pitch of their careers. These two virtuosos promised a follow up, but they ended up breaking up their relationship with the project’s label. In 2005, a concert by the two was released in DVD only, it was never supposed to be released in audio format, but early this year the label that still owns Lagrimas Negras decided to put Blanco y Negro En Vivo in the market as if it was the second part of the first album. The live album is simply exemplary, but because I believe in auteur music and hate to see labels practicing these kinds of tricks I decide to put my attention on Dos Lagrimas, even if one half of the jewel is missing.
Bebo Valdes isn’t part of this album, but Dos Lagrimas carries the components of the 2002 masterpiece. His absence is indeed very disappointing, but he is replaced by some very impressive and experienced musicians that do an inferior but still outstanding effort. With that said, Diego El Cigala has released the album fully under his belt by releasing it independently; he owns the album with a firm vision and his distinguished emotional raspy voice. An album of bolero, Latin jazz, tango, and a series of flamencos and coplas that register a highly prolific album with much more uplifting tunes than the past black tears. First single “Si te contara” serves as a perfect transition between the two albums, from the dark bohemia spirit to a much more tropical search.
Cigala is said to be best cantaor since Camaron, the fact that he has dedicated to polish his music with Cuba’s contemporary tropical music are making him an exciting and prolific rich soloist for the ages. He makes classics such as “Dos Gardenias” and “Historia de un amor” his own. The album is especially exquisite with “Maria de la O”, the one track that combines Diego’s flamenco virtues and adopts an afro-cuban spirit. For those strict listeners that find his singing too repetitive, know that traditional music is supposed to make you adapt its mood and interpretation. “Caruso” is a Spanish version of the Italian classic, presented here in a bold and modern tango. “El dia que naci yo” is a big celebration of tropicalia, hard on trumpets and consistent in the drums.
The album cover suggests a mysterious approach to the encounter of cultures, juxtaposing the unyielding relation between Spain’s traditional music and its comeback to Latin-American music. Dos Lagrimas is also one of the best produced albums of the year, with top-notch engineering and mixing. Because of the release circumstances, this is one album hard to find. The album is being distributed in selected localities in Spain, backed by the journal El Pais that has included a wonderful book. It’s not available in the U.S. just yet, so most will have to wait to see if the album gets picked up by a distribution label. The other option to get it legally at least, is to acquire it as an import or just have nice friends in Madrid to send you the album like I did. Thank you Marcella.
Numeric Rating: 89/100
Key Tracks: "Historia de un amor", "Maria de la O", "El dia que yo naci."