Portada del álbum Confluencias, de Sigrid.

Sigrid and the will to join rhythms

by
AM

It's been a few months now that Sigrid Armenteros was back on track with her second solo album, Confluencias (EGREM, 2018), reinserting herself in the Cuban musical arena. Her name is still unknown to many, but she is not a newcomer. At 36 years old, this singer has been dedicated to music since adolescence and looking for the particular spirit of her own label, capable of breaking down all defenses. Now she lets see what was to come.

Daughter of Máximo Armenteros, musician of Los Zafiros, takes the creation in the marrow of his bones. She was a member of Steel Band Habana, directed by Emilio Piñeiro, which allowed her to develop in the Caribbean sphere of calypso, merengue, son and guaracha.

Sigrid played the metallic drums, until in a presentation she dared in front of the microphone. Convinced that her place was in the songs, there began to develop the concern to compose her own songs. Step by step, collaborating with different groups, she joined the Cuban Rap Agency and began her solo career with the release of the album Camínalo (2013).

With this second installment Sigrid proposes an intimate musical universe, with all the good and the bad that comes with the audacity to try it. She departs a bit from her first album and offers a phonogram with less surprises in terms of rhythms and with a predominance of afro jazz patterns, although she also presents a mixture of soul, pop ballad, funk, R & B and Latin jazz with contemporary arrangements.

Stands out in Confluencias the rhythmic base on which they dialogue in different keys but with related emotions, the sound of the instruments that build a musical universe full of inflections. On this occasion, Sigrid has not been able to avoid the temptation to be flanked by some of the best instrumentalists of the circuit: Ernán Cortés on the drums, Omar González on the bass, Irán Farias on the percussion, José Portillo on the piano and Víctor Benítez on the sax and production.

The Intro that opens the album is quite a cover letter with its own hallmark. It promises the entrance of a good jazz record. You feel motivated to continue listening to the balanced and enjoyable jam from start to finish.

However, the great disadvantage is that, after passing this starting point, the album leaves the listener with a bittersweet feeling. The voice of Sigrid too sweet, turns sometimes monochromatic, without nuances; fortunately there are exceptions like Trayectoria, with a marked influence of bossa nova in jazz discourse; the pop ballad Silencio; and Ni tan ruda ni tan fría, intimate detail inside the album that closes the cycle initiated by Intro.

The fusion with which the vocalist tries to reorient her sound, seldom flows coherently and ends up being a kind of patching of rhythms united almost randomly. As a more symptomatic example, Nada con todo, a song that starts high with a good jazz jam, to pass without preamble to an unexpected rap that as it arrives it goes, giving march to a montuno with tres included. Although it may have been the highlight of the record, the stylistic crossover remains divided into chapters and the song divided into syllables.

In Confluencias only two covers appear. One of them is the song Overjoyed, by Stevie Wonder, played by a Sigrid that is as dazzling as it is exasperating at times, with a misty diction that is lost among the arrangements and does not accompany the jazz tempo on the track. The other side of the coin is Te quedarás, by Alberto Barreto, where the artist shows all her audacity by successfully adapting to the contemporary mode the monster song popularized by Benny Moré.

Unlike her first installment, with Confluencias the artist does not seek so much to create social awareness with her lyrics, but rather to give rise to the intimate atmosphere of the jazz club. But, although getting out of the tracks is always daring and enriching, her proposal in principle attractive does not make the sparkle jump. This new amalgam of expressive nuances and first class instrumental accompaniments, does not serve much when accompanied with lyrics that say little. With its ups and downs, Confluencias returns the artist to the Cuban musical scene, while representing another step in a trajectory that is worth taking into account.

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