Gonzalo Grau & La Clave Secreta, De verdad verdad Review
by Rudy Palma
Gonzalo Grau & La Clave Secreta’s new album De verdad verdad is a captivating world music journey. Seamlessly blending diverse global influences and styles, Grau and his ensemble present a powerfully compelling sound brimming with infectious energy.
The album’s opening track, “Comando Z,” grips the listener’s attention with its vibrant energy and innovative rhythms. Manolo Mairena’s voice enters this original Grau composition with clarity and warmth, providing a solid foundation for the complex melodic exploration. The balance of his bright yet warm timbre echoes beautifully throughout the ensemble, illustrating the symbiotic relationship between vocals and instruments.
Following is “La ruñidera,” an exuberant celebration of human creativity. Here, Mairena’s improvisational skills take center stage. His voice dances over the underlying rhythms, twisting and turning with the music, his phrasing, delivery, and musical intuition bringing the upbeat track to life.
The album’s rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Don’t You Worry’ Bout a Thing” features the splendid LaNesha Latimer, bringing a unique level of depth to this classic song. Latimer’s voice blends and contrasts with the Latin rhythms, embodying the essence of hope that Stevie Wonder envisaged, but in a swaying, rumba-infused arrangement.
MV Caldera’s vocals on “Las cajas” add a depth of emotional resonance to the song, expressing the essence of its rhythm and meaning. Her expressive and strong voice guides the listener through the melody, creating a textured and compelling narrative that makes you feel her energy. The intricate rhythms and her delicate yet powerful vocal delivery make for an immersive listening experience.
In “Moros y cristianos,” the inclusion of flamenco vocalist Ismael Fernández proves to be a masterstroke. His authentic, soul-stirring voice carries the flamenco spirit within, seeping through every note and phrase. Fernández’s singing is an emotional tour de force, demonstrating the flamenco vocal tradition. The interplay between his voice and the ensemble creates an intoxicating mix, rich in texture and rhythm.
Jeremy Bosch’s contribution to “Buscando la melodía,” another standout Grau composition on the album, shows his remarkable technical skills. His unique ability to embody the song’s emotional resonance shines as he navigates through the high-energy, rhythmically intricate melody with a sense of playfulness, transitioning effortlessly into the introspective, somewhat melancholic chorus. His articulation and diction command enhances the lyrical content, making each phrase a beautiful journey. In addition, the contribution of the Brooklyn Rider string quartet is excellent.
In conclusion, Gonzalo Grau & La Clave Secreta’s De verdad verdad album is an organic and textured musical suite into the world music genre, not just because of its eclectic mix of styles but primarily due to its emphasis on powerful and compelling vocal performances and Grau composing, arranging, and leadership. De verdad verdad is a truthful, emotive, and organically delightful listen for lovers of Latin music and anyone who appreciates great music and outstanding vocal delivery.