Since her introduction to the American marketplace in 2007 with her album Mi Niña Lola (My Little Girl Lola), Buika has experienced a meteoric rise, earning lavish praise from The New York Times, The Miami Herald, and The Wall Street Journal, as well as NPR, which quickly included her in their "50 Great Voices" radio gallery. Despite just a few concert appearances she earned two Latin Grammy nominations in 2008. Her next release, Niña de Fuego (Fire Child) paved the way for relocation to Miami in 2011 (she lovingly calls the US "the country of happiness and noise").
Before her career took off in the US she had already achieved success in Europe, performing on screen in the Pedro Almodóvar film The Skin I Live In and dueting with pop singer Seal. Music from those projects and more were collected in 2011 on the essential 2-CD set En Mi Piel (In My Skin) to satisfy a growing demand for her music in her new country. Rare is the artist to garner comparisons to Nina Simone, Chavela Vargas, and Cesaria Evora, but Buika has been compared to all of them. She has clearly inherited their steely independence and uncompromising creative vision.
"I tour through all of these different countries and I sing mostly in Spanish," says the dynamic Miami-based singer Buika. "I want to prove that it doesn't matter where a musician comes from-people understand it. It doesn't matter where I perform- Turkey, France, Japan, the U.S.-something in the atmosphere tells me they understand the words I am singing."
On her latest and most diverse album La Noche Más Larga (The Longest Night), the Spanish-bred singer of African descent continues to break down the walls that surround flamenco, the root source of everything she does, but a tradition that can't contain her ever-evolving vision. That CD has now garnered Buika a nomination in one of the Latin GRAMMY's most prestigious categories, "Recording of the Year" for the song "La Nave del Olvido" (Ship of Oblivion).
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"A mesmerizing, cross-cultural stew featuring the wailing emotionality of cante (flamenco song) and coplas.... with undercurrents of Latin jazz and soul."
"She can write emotions just as well as wringing them out of somebody else's words."
"She has a husky, layered and imperious voice, something like Nina Simone's but more flexible and virtuosic."
-NEW YORK TIMES
Saturday, February 28, 2015
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This event is sponsored in part by a grant from Grants for the Arts and Union Bank