Miguel Zenón and Luis Perdomo – ‘El Arte Del Bolero, Vol.2’ (Miel Music. Album review by Sebastian Scotney)
The 1999 Wim Wenders film “Buena Vista Social Club” features a memorable scene where Ry Cooder and his son Joachim enter a backstreet studio in Havana. Inside, they encounter the captivating voice of Ibrahim Ferrer singing “Silencio” from 1932, a song penned by Puerto Rican singer-songwriter Rafael Hernández (1892-1965). Despite the global success of Buena Vista Social Club, the origins of the songs they sang received little attention.
Exploring the Latin-American Songbook
In ‘El Arte Del Bolero, Vol.2’, Miguel Zenón and Luis Perdomo delve into the Latin-American Songbook, focusing specifically on the Bolero genre. Their goal is to showcase the songs themselves as the main characters. The duo’s previous album, ‘El Arte Del Bolero’, was reviewed by alto saxophonist Sam Norris, who praised their “uncanny musical chemistry.”
A Thoughtful Selection of Songs
While the first volume was created from an impromptu duo session, the song selection for ‘Vol.2’ is more deliberate. Zenón and Perdomo enjoyed a lengthy process of discussing which songs to explore. The chosen tracks come from multiple countries and have compelling backstories, reflecting the duo’s passion for the material.
One standout track is “Motivos” from 1965, originally by Venezuelan songwriter Italo Pizzolante. The duo’s rendition showcases Zenón’s clear-thinking improvisation and the pair’s ability to create a complete statement as a perfect take.
Bolero: Uniting Cultures
Zenón and Perdomo’s exploration of Bolero highlights its unifying power, as the music transcends borders and connects people. Currently, Mexico and Cuba have submitted a joint application to UNESCO for Bolero to be recognized as an item of intangible heritage. The application highlights the creativity and fusion of cultural elements present in Bolero.
As Zenón and Perdomo demonstrate their love for these songs, ‘El Arte Del Bolero, Vol.2’ could help tip the scales in favor of UNESCO’s recognition. The album is set for release on 25 August 2023.