Lourdes Pérez

Texas Platters

Phases and Stages

Lourdes Pérez

Selections From Tres Oraciones Known for her spine-rattling contralto and politically conscious lyrics, Lourdes Pérez's newest CD, Selections From Tres Oraciones -- her first album since 1997's Vestigios -- has a decidedly dramatic flair, perhaps because many of the songs were created for theatre and dance performances over a four-year period. Pérez beckons the listener with the a cappella prayer "Santa Maria Madre," moving on to lyrically impressionistic songs like "Paloma Urbana" (Urban Dove), "Aguas Benditas" (Blessed Waters), and "Monarca" (Monarch). Her hearty voice captivates, but the addition of piano (Kay Sparks), cello (Margaret Coltman-Smith), violin (Javier Chaparro), and accordion (Eva Ybarra) complement Pérez's gut-wrenching delivery. "Nómbrame" (Name Me), an homage to massacred Guatemalan villagers, is nuanced with a mournful cello that later burns with urgency, and ends in a mesmerizing whisper. Piano brightens the sassy tango "La Nana de José" (José's Nanny), while the instrumental "Santuarios," led in with a piano-violin-inflected waltz-like tempo, takes a delightfully unexpected turn to a plena rhythm. Though she's always worn both her heart and politics on her sleeve, Pérez does so without pretension. In Selections From Tres Oraciones, she expands her repertoire with introspective songs that celebrate nature and spiritual matters, without forgoing her commitments to peace and justice. Selections is the precursor to Tres Oraciones, a box set of three CDs (Paloma Urbana, Aguas Benditas, and Santuarios), which is set for a November release. Given this single-disc sampler, it's bound to be a remarkable release.

***.5

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