Catina DeLuna – Lado B Brazilian Project (featuring Otmaro Ruiz)

October 20th, 2015 - By Dee Dee McNeil

Independent Label


Catina DeLuna, vocal/piano/body percussion; Otmaro Ruiz, piano/accordion/ arrangements; Larry Koonse, guitars; Edwin Livingston, bass; Aaron Serfaty, drums; Alex Acuna, percussion; Bob Sheppard, flute; Nick Mancini, marimba; Mike Shapiro, percussion; Clarice Cast, percussion; Greg Beyer, percussion.


Her voice is clear, poignant; flush with feeling. I am entranced. When you listen to Cantina DeLuna, (or any world artist who is not performing in English), you begin listening with your whole body, not just ears. Perhaps, because you can not understand their language, you begin listening for the emotion. DeLuna puts plenty of feeling into each of these eleven compositions, both vocally and on the piano. This production, along with the artist and her competent Lado B Band, transports me to Brazilian shores. Something about this production reminds me of an old friend of mine, the famed Brazlian composer, Moacir Santos. “Ipanema” takes on a whole new meaning when DeLuna and ensemble approach this familiar standard by Jobim. They have spiced it up with an arrangement full of creativity and surprisingly beautiful, with unexpected chord progressions. The melody remains solid, rigid atop the arrangement like a gliding seagull, flying above a beautiful wave. This is 63 minutes of rich, lovely compositions and creative arrangements. DeLuna’s voice soars above the mix; helping to paint a fresh face on tunes by Antonio Carlos Jobim, Milton Nascimento, Pixinguinha, Egberto Gismonti and others. Tradition is respected, but the arrangements make a modern statement. The choir voices on “Chovendo Na Roseira” are startlingly provocative and add wonderful depth to this piece as they harmonically chant, “Here comes the rain.” DeLuna whisks me to Africa with her folksy and child-like rendition of “O Canto Da Ema.” Several Los Angeles musicians are featured on this piece of CD art, including Edwin Livingston on bass, Larry Koonse on guitars, and Bob Sheppard on flute to name only a few of the great players herein.  The album foreword is written by Tierney Sutton.

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