CAROLINA MOON: MOTHER TONGUE
Reviewed by: Graham Reid
Although this enchanting album -- songs of the Sephardic Jews of Spain might seem a departure for Auckland-based jazz singer Carolina Moon, she has previously explored what we might call world music, although never with this depth and resonance.
These glorious songs -- intimate, yearning, emotional -- come from centuries ago but are here arranged for delicate piano (Kevin Field), guitars (Nigel Gavin), violin (Jessica Hindin), upright bass, hand drums and saxophones (Roger Manins). The effect is ancient music which sounds contemporary, and Moon has the vocal dexterity to explore the subtle glissandi of the style.
Where these effect a perfect marriage -- as on Como La Rosa where Moon stretches into jazz phrasing and embellishment, Yo Hanino tu hanina with keening violin and sax, the traditional Israeli song Yad Anuga -- they can be quite transporting and you could imagine yourself outside the wall of the Alhambra.
An album which embarks on a courageous journey but which will take you along for an exotic, often quite moving, voyage of discovery.