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Mariana Montalvo: Piel de Aceituna

Chilean vocalist Mariana Montalvo’s new CD, Piel de Aceituna (World Village), which means “olive-skinned,” is a remarkable mixture of Chilean nueva cancion, French chanson and a splash of world-music sensibilities (reggae and West African). Montalvo delivers a cosmopolitan record that sounds as if it came from both Santiago de Chile and Paris (where it was recorded). Montalvo’s music echoes the great Chilean singer-songwriters Mercedes Sosa and Victor Jara-exquisitely written narratives accompanied by music played on traditional Andean instruments. The best cuts are the songs written by Montalvo herself, where she sings melodies that are perfectly suited for her light yet expressive voice. The session is dominated by accordion, and that instrument provides the cultural glue that makes the worldly Piel de Aceituna work as well as it does.

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