This is the second instalment in this three-part series 'Female Drivers and Female Musicians'. To read the first post, click here
Kristin Hersh is probably every marketing person's nightmare. How do you sell someone who breaks so many boundaries? For starters, there's the voice. Good, but hard to decipher. Then, there're the lyrics. Powerful and passionate, yet intrinsic. After that comes the style. Pop? Folk? Rock? I believe it is good pop, good as in Sinead O' Connor good, The Cranberries good, George Michael good. She exudes good quality and that is why she is here. Yes, and the guy on the video is REM lead singer Michael Stipe, yes, and I know that this is a post that is trying to highlight the pluses of female drivers and musicians. But, I think that Michael can remain there in the background, as part of the furniture. He is not bothering Kristin. Magnetic.
The second track is by Pavel Urquiza, yes, he of Gema and Pavel. This song is performed by Yusa, a singer I saw a couple of times at the Cafe Cantante in Havana, Cuba, many years ago and who, I am so pleased to see, has met with success in Europe. Like Kristin, Yusa is hard to label. I have got her album 'Breathe' and it's a powerhouse of various styles and musical lingoes. Excellent.
Banned by the Brazilian dictatorship in the 70s, 'Calice' became an anthem for its creator, Chico Buarque and my favourite song of his extensive repertoire. There's a video on youtube where both Chico and Milton Nascimento are pretending to sing the song whilst not really saying the words. Maria Bethania 'lives' this song through and through and it's such a powerful sight to see her holding the mike whilst her throaty voice utters the words 'Afasta de mim ese calice, pai' (Put that goblet away from me, land). The goblet is full of blood. Heartfelt.
The last track this week comes courtesy of the Camerata Romeu which I used to follow around in Havana. No, I am not a stalker. I just think that they produce some of the most beautiful music you can ever come across. On this occasion they have Polly Ferman on piano and the Camerata Romeu is accompanying her. Readers and fellow bloggers will probably remember the song by Mercedes Sosa many years ago and I have that version, too, on CD. I love the delicacy of this cover version, though. Tender.