Saturday, March 20, 2010

Black Girl in Spain -- Can Sing. Will Stir Your Soul!

It's Saturday morning and I'm still in Charlottesville getting ready for another day at the Virginia Festival of the Book. So far it's been great. The temperature has been in the low 70's. My panel on travel writing yesterday was packed, and I've met some amazing authors. Don't tell my precious little ones back home, but it's been an absolute delight to be on my own these 48 hours to soak up the creative energy flowing all around. I sat at an outdoor cafe with three amazing writers yesterday, unconcerned about time, sipping coffee and talking about, well, writing. It was glorious.

One of the writers whom I shared the stage with yesterday was Philip Graham. Graham is a prolific fiction, non-fiction writer and poet. He's also a traveller. A real traveller. And he writes a lot about his travels and living abroad. Yesterday he spoke about his love affair with Lisbon, where he lived for a year with his wife and child. You'll definitely be hearing more about Graham here on the Meltingpot, but for now I just wanted to share something that he shared with me.

Even though he claimed all of his Portugese friends would call him a traitor for saying so, Graham introduced me to one of the most glorious Spanish singers I've ever heard. Her name is Concha Buika and she's Black. Born in Palma de Mallorca, her family hails from Equatorial Guinea, which makes her one of those rare Black Spaniards. Now, I'd post about her here even if she wasn't all that, but just listen to sing her award winning hit, Mi Nina Lola and tell me she doesn't make your soul ache.

Of course I want to now find out everything about her. In case you do too, here's some links to know more about Ms. Buika.

An interview on NPR.

A current Q&A

And now let the music speak for itself.



jeanette nicole* said...

Oh. My. Lanta! Those were my exact words when Concha opened her mouth. Her voice is one of those that seeps into your pores & wraps itself around your soul. Thanks for the introduction, I'm definitely going to look for more of her music. Amazing!

Dee said...

Anything about being black and being in Spain catches my interest now. What a cool find! To have African parents, be born in Spain and have a Spanish name---Concha, which I believe can be said in many ways: Concepcion, Concha, Conchita. Am I right? Now I want a Spanish name! Names sound sexier in Spanish anyway. I haven't heard the clip yet, but I'm glad you found this hidden gem.

P.S. Enjoy your writing getaway and please post some more giveaways in the near future!

LT said...

Right. I hear you. I'm her new biggest fan.

I have to disagree. I think Concepcion in any language doesn't sound good :) Working on the giveaways for you.

Amy said...

Hi Lori,

I'm so glad you posted on Concha Buika...I'm in love with her and her music...I really think the world would be a better place of more people knew her story and were exposed to her words and heard her heartachingly beautiful voice. That NPR piece was very informative. She recently came out with a new CD with Chucho Valdes called El Ultimo Trago. It's a tribute to Chavela Vargas. Here's one of my favorite youtube videos of Concha:

it's from a live concert in Madrid. the first song is an original composition...powerful.

Amy said...

And here is a video clip of Chucho and Concha Buika doing some of Chavela's songs:

Sujatha said...

Oh wow, Lori. Thanks for sharing this.Amazing. I met you at the Festival of the Book at the author reception and I was just coming to say hi and got caught up in your blog. Very nice.

Dee said...

You can disagree...excuse me if I was over-enthusiastic about everything Spanish, names included. I was just making a point that names steeped from the Spaniards, French and Italians like Giuseppe, Paolo, Jose and Manuel, Pierre and Michel--sound WAY better than the run-of-the-mill American names like Sue or Bill, not that I'm dissing anyone named Sue or Bill, get my point.

I was mainly surprised at the fact that a Spanish-born African singer would have the very Spanish name of Concha. But I do hear you on the Concepcion part. The derivatives of Concepcion are better than Concepcion itself. Concha and Conchita are nice names--especially attached to a woman of color, like Concha.

So I really meant that Spanish names aren't exactly sexier, but more interesting.

This Time Now said...

Just discovered your blog, really like it. I'm sitting here in Seoul about to meet a client and decided to surf the net a little and lo' and behold here's a story about a musician that I discovered some months ago. Buika blew me away. My brother introduced me to flamenco music before he traveled to Andalucia and I've been in love with it every since. I'll read more of your blog later. Keep up the great work.

Felicia, Photographer

Iván said...

HI, Dee. I think the reason for her spanish name can be in her origin (Equatorian Guinea), because as an ex-colony of Spain, i think some people there get spanish names. Just saying.
She's a great flamenco singer, because she grew up among gypsies in that hood of Palma de Mallorca. By the way, she's openly lesbian.