Melingo: Linyera (World Village, 2014)
I’ve been picking some pretty hardcore African music and blistering metal thus far this summer, but here’s a sweet record for all you cubicle dwellers out there. The key to this record for me is the gruff male singer. He’s a very good singer, but his rougher tone lends contrast and weight to the melodic arrangements. This is a tango/gypsy/cabaret type record with a lot of midtempo swingers and slower torch songs.
Instrumentation is acoustic guitar, electric guitar, upright bass (awesome), and appearances by the clarinet, violin, accordion, piano, a pretty standard gypsy band setup. In addition to Melingo’s voice, the arrangements on this record are outstanding — sophicticated and ear catching without being cliche. I find the arrangement on the fourth tune, La Maceta, to be captivating. Cinematic, beautiful, all the good things.
I originally had this record as a best record pick, but there are a couple of places where I felt the record lag (the third tune which I thought should have been put much later in the record), and on this blog we only give best of for records that make us jump and down. However, I recognize there are millions of folks who don’t jump and down and you might flip for this record.