Luis Barbería: Force and Light
Fuerza y Luz (Unicornio, 2018), Luis Barbería's second phonogram solo, is another of those records to have at home, in the music library, in the soul. His new album is a summation of love verses, a sustained spill of stories between embrace and abandonment, faith and the will to live.
Many of the songs on Luis Barbería's new album emerged as a cyclone passed through the Cuban capital; the man could not stand the gusts and decided to kill time based on new melodies. Hence, this album is not a succession of old themes, even when in the arrangements tried to go to the origin of the sound with that Habana Oculta, of course, with better recording, mixing and mastering and the maturity that many years bring along with the guitar and friends.
In ten tracks Luis Barbería goes from bolero to rumba, or unites them in the same song, enters that area where the danceable rhythm is exchanged with the noblest of Cuban song. Osaín del Monte accompanies him precisely in the title Ruta del tambor, where they show that walk through the rumba in the middle of a love story that well deserves a video clip, a choreography, a time for deep listening.
When I review the Barbería album I feel again that there are creators who make resistance music, like it or not. These songs shy away from ease and run the risk of not being of consumption, trending topic, because they do not give in even when they look at pop or other more consumed genres, as happens in Magia que embelesa, next to Yaíma Orozco, or the track that opens the album, Tú lo que quieres es funky. Anyways one is grateful because feels that it is a sustainable work, that can be heard again years later without time wearing away the pieces.
The phonogram contains effective arrangements, which envelop and enhance each melody, all by the singer-songwriter himself, who comes out again as a producer, and with the help of musicians such as Rolando Luna, Gastón Joya, Rodney Barreto, Nam San Fong, Julito Padrón or Adel González. To the mentioned names we add the voices of Haydée Milanés, Osaín del Monte, Alain Pérez, the very musical Beatriz Márquez, Toques del Río, the former Qva Libre Lenier Waño, and the aforementioned Yaíma Orozco.
When the second track of the album is sung, Norisley Valladares Gómez (El Noro) sings, and here the "Primera Clase" proudly breaks through in this bolero entitled Distancia de luna. The low keys of Luis Barbería let him show light, his step to medium tones and the touch with some high notes show the quality of this singer that we are used to listening to in the scene of son and timba.
Fuerza y Luz is not an album designed for duets, Barbería said. However, by chance the guests appeared and the voices were already in the phonogram. For the "Habana Abierta", accustomed to side with the same of Serrat that of Kelvis Ochoa, Ketama or Javier Ruibal, it is not a complicated matter. However, in his previous phonogram he seems more comfortable accompanied by the vocal arrangements next to Sexto Sentido.
Barbería has made good use of time: his albums sound elevated, he has accurately chosen musicians and studios, and the result is a work of high carats, a sustained struggle where this pinareño appears to show with a new album that he has a lot of music, and indeed , strength and light.
Rogelio Ramos Domínguez
Writer of verses and songs. Full-time journalist and especially father of Claudia Ramos.