Damaleona, “new” album by Vanessa Zamora. Hit replay.
After slowly unveiling Damaleona a volume at a time over the past few months, the Mexican songstress has finally stopped the tease and released the full masterpiece. More than worth the wait. Possibly the best thing she has ever done.
I fell in love with Vanessa Zamora and her music after seeing her live – and that was before I knew any Spanish and so had no idea of the honesty and depth and occasional wink-wink humor in her lyrics – a sign of supreme confidence in her talent. Her voice is both sultry and serious; she can deliver anxiety, anguish and soul-filling joy, sometimes in the same song. It is almost bi-polar music – anguish to ecstasy – and she carries you along with it.
Damaleona repeats songs on earlier albums and then adds new ones – making it a complete collection of the songs of Damaleona. The album holds 11 songs, most also on the previous volumes, but each one a standalone jewel and when grouped together they form a classic collection that will stand the test of time. Most of them have been written, performed and produced by Zamora, although she is joined by Ruzzi, Daniel Salazar, and Dan Solo on a few songs as co-producers or co-writers.
The new songs are “Mar”, a heavy, powerful ballad that projects determination, driven by measured beat with a floor tom and electronic claps. Her voice rises and sails,offering a sonic contrast that is unforgettable. It segues into a light, skipping Lento – well,not quite skipping since the name of the song in English is “Slow”. The third new song, “Opuestos”(Opposites) is more rocky – slow rock – but leavened with her flattest, deepest voice that occasionally flits up and around before retuning to the level ground. A brilliant production.
She moves to the gentle and mysterious “Reprogramar” a gentle, swaying melody that hints at The Girl from Ipanema but with more pronounced hooks. The next song, “Subcosciente”, combines violin picking with her production style that moves her voice o a distant space but also inside your head at the same time. She manages to talk to you intimately and stay in another dimension.
“Morir Naciendo”(Die Being Born) to me is most addictive song on the album. It is a song that holds you close in the verses and lets you go in a long instrumental glide that coasts someplace above your consciousness.
“Transcender” does just what its title implies; she stretches out her voice and the lyrics so that the song transcends your expectations of where she is going with it. Thesongshowcases the subtle skill she brings not only to the microphone, but to the production studio.
She moves on to “Contracorriente “(Countercurrent), a gentle ballad that makes good use of the childlike side of her voice, backed by a harp and guitars and violins. It sways like a cobra emerging from a snake charmer’s basket while a flute plays.
For the penultimate song on the album, she returns to “Subconsciente” but slowed down and with reverb. I am sure it was interesting to do but sonically, but I think it distracts from the rest of the album.
The 23-second instrumental “Secreto” finishes up the album with whispers in your earbuds. You are left thinking, “wow – that was a beautiful trip. Can we do it again?” And you hit replay.
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