Saturday, October 27, 2007

Mano Suave - Yasmin Levy

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The chances are that you will not have even heard of the language Ladino. But then why would you have heard of a 15th Century language spoken by Spanish Jews that is now spoken by a couple of hundred thousand people at most?

It therefore may put you off to learn that Yasmin Levy, a striking Israeli singer in her early 30's has a mission to revive the language and one such result is Mano Suave. But anyone who would ignore this album on that basis alone is missing out on a treat.

The real strength of the album is Levy's passionate and charismatic voice which transcends the language of the lyrics. It's all the more striking when set amid sparse percussion arrangements.

Highlights include the soaring title track (which features guest vocals from Natacha Atlas) and, with it's infectious blend of piano and fiddle, Komo La Roza.

By it's very definition it's not going to be an album for everyone, but anybody with a love of "world" music or someone with a suitably open mind will surely find much to delight them on this stunning album.

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