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A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Linton Corbie
Caricia (translated: caress) is the title of the beautiful debut CD by Peruvian singer Olga Milla. Amazingly, Olga achieves several goals with this release. While passionately and eloquently unfolding the experience of love along with its many attendant ecstasies and trials, she also succeeds in showcasing the musical sophistication of Peru's folklore with its exciting and varied rhythms and instrumentation. The African derived element of Peruvian music is especially highlighted throughout the album. This lends a lushness and rhythmic sensuality that makes for the perfect late-night reverie or romantic indulgence. If you enjoyed David Byrne's internationally acclaimed 1995 compilation release, The Soul of Black Peru then you will most definitely love Caricia.
The CD contains eleven songs all sung in Spanish, with most of them being substantial in length. The title cut, Caricia sounds just like what it means. Here, Olga sings tenderly and with a restrained passion as she is accompanied by Jose Luna on the Afro-Peruvian cajon (a box-like drum) and the immensely talented Edmundo Vargas on classical guitar. Speaking of the guitar, if you love this instrument then you will be in for a really special treat with this CD. It is becoming increasingly known amongst guitar enthusiasts that Peru possesses some of the finest and most rhythmically accomplished guitarists in the world. Nylon-string virtuosos, Edmundo Vargas, Pepe Diaz and the versatile Jose Luna demonstrate their sweet and technical facility throughout. I particularly enjoyed their contributions on the selections, En la Grama, Para Tenerte, Despertar and Jarana para Vicente-Augusto, Dueno del Santa.
No genuine album of Peruvian music would be complete without the presence of the charango, an indigenous Andean stringed instrument. On Aguacerito Cordillerano, Olga is accompanied by one of the world's finest charango players, Jaime Guardia. The charango with its high-pitched timbre has the unique ability to convey the melancholy and longing so ubiquitous in Andean folk music ...and love ...as Olga so poetically illustrates through her lyrics.
I can't say enough about how much I enjoyed this recording. Olga's rich, soothing and sultry voice just speaks directly to the heart. While listening, it is easy to believe her testimony in the wonderful and informative Spanish/English CD liner notes regarding the substantial amount of love, national pride and commitment involved in making this recording possible. Caricia is filled with great vibrations from beginning to end. Audiophiles will also be pleased with the warmth, clarity and pristine quality of this album's recording.
With the talent, depth and artistic integrity exhibited on Caricia, I believe that we will certainly be hearing the name, Olga Milla a lot more in the years to come.
Edited by Jim Zimmerschied