This is the second record from Josephine Foster & the Victor Herrero Band and continues their poetic rearrangements of traditional Spanish songs, bringing more Spanish sunshine into our lives. Which is much appreciated while I sit here, staring out the window at the British drizzle. Josephine and band have taken it up a gear this time with excellent arrangements involving Dylan-esque harmonica solos, brilliant rainbow harp crescendos, thundering percussion and united voices.
The songs ‘Peregrino’ and ‘Abenamar’ are old poems who’s authors have been long buried, however the Band have expertly breathed new life into them, with music so appropriate that you could be easily fooled into thinking that they were plucked from an isolated Spanish village of the 1800s.
It seems that not only has Josephine Foster been influenced by the traditional Spanish music itself, but the social structure of the musicians involved in making the music, with husband Victor Herrero, his brother Jose Luis Herrero and childhood friend Jose Luis Rico making up The Victor Herrero Band. The intimate chemistry of this group of individuals glows outwards and warms the listener’s heart in a way that’s all too rare these days.
Singing in a foreign language is nothing new to the unpredictable American born singer Josephine Foster with each new recording revealing an intricate new fold in an ever progressive career, her unique operatic voice bends and loops around the Spanish language with playful joy.
These songs project good times, siestas and wine soaked evenings, with Victor Herrero firing out powerful Spanish guitar finger flourishes, backed by Jose Luis Herrero’s solid bass lines and Jose Luis Rico’s sparse but wellplaced percussion, while Josephine’s vocal floats above them all and takes everyone off into the ether.
The last track ‘Brillante Estrella’ projects a more sombre tone, almost as though that it’s looking back at all the sunshine beaches, good times and adventures of the album with a nostalgic nature that have been expertly recorded and performed to create an astounding sense of timelessness that brings to mind some of the more subtle Duke Ellington tracks. The song is punctuated by a brilliant harp pluck that serves as a full stop to the album and reminds you of all the colourful life in the world. The apparent narrative nature of the album is all the more impressive considering I don’t speak a word of Spanish and is a testament to the powerful drama contained within the music.
Review by: Harry Wheeler
Video Feature: In Conversation with Josephine Foster by Architects of Harmonic Rooms
Perlas is released Fire Records