Spanish singer Buika has a new album, it's called ?El Ultimo Trago.? It's a collaboration with Cuban pianist Chucho Valdes. The record is a tribute to one of Buika's earliest influences, the great singer of Mexican rancheras, Chavela Vargas. Rancheras are kind of like torch songs. Betto Arcos has the story.
MARCO WERMAN: Spanish singer Buika, who we profiled on the show last year has a new CD out. It's called "El Ultimo Trago." It's collaboration with Cuban pianist Chucho Valdes. But the songs are Mexican rancheras, songs of love and loss. The record is a tribute to one of Buika's earliest influences, the legendary singer of rancheras, Chavela Vargas. Betto Arcos has the story.
BETTO ARCOS: Buika remembers the first time she heard Mexican rancheras growing up on the Spanish Island of Mallorca.
BUIKA: My Dad left when I was nine years old, and my mom used to listen a lot to Chavela, and you know, to just take care about his sadness.
CHAVELA VARGAS: [Singing "Se me hizo facil"].
BETTO: It was only as a teenager that Buika really understood the meaning of those Mexican songs she heard growing up.
BUIKA: I remember that I understand my first ranchera, and it was when my first boyfriend left me.
BETTO: Buika says since that time, she's felt an affinity with Chavela Vargas because she heard the sound of solitude in Chavela's voice, and as she started singing and writing her own songs, Buika realized that Mexican rancheras dealt with sadness and pain in a very direct way. Take the song, "Un Mundo Raro", by one of the most respected composers of rancheras, Jose Alfredo Jimenez.
JOSE ALFREDO JIMENEZ: [Singing "Un mundo raro" ]
BUIKA: To sing Jose Alfredo songs or, you know, all those amazing composers from this record, to sing these songs, it hurts. You know, it hurts and it hurts because it makes you open some doors from your past, from your memories.
BETTO: Buika's new album includes seven rancheras, four of them by Jose Alfredo Jimenez and three other classics, such as this one called "Cruz de Olvido".
BUIKA: [Singing "Cruz de Olvido" ]
BETTO: When she finished the album, Buika sent it to Chavela. After she listened to the album, Chavela sent her approval in the form of a poem. In it, she called Buika "Passion."
BUIKA: She has told me something that makes me feel like really special someone. You know what? I think that we have to learn words and sing to please the others
BETTO: Buika will be pleasing many people this coming weekend in Mexico City, where she will perform songs from her new album. She's especially excited because Chavela called to tell her she will be attending the concert. For The World, this is Betto Arcos in Los Angeles.
BUIKA: [Singing "El Ultimo Trago"]
WERMAN: Great stuff there from Buika. That's it for our show today. From the Nan and Bill Harris Studio in Boston, I'm Marco Werman. We'll be back tomorrow.