Drom New York, NY
Contact: [email protected]
Players: Bárbara Martínez, vocals; Albert Alabedra, guitars; Bob DiGiacomo, fretless bass; Gonzalo Grau, piano; Arturo Soriano,flute; Olayda la Cubana, background vocals and claps; Laura Peralta, background vocals and claps; Keita Ogawa, percussion; Engin Günaydin, drums; Ernesto Llorens, violin; Baba Moussa, talking drum; Tim Ries saxophone; Adriana Olivares, dancer; Nelida Tirado, dancer
Material: Performing together for the past decade, Barbara Martinez, a native of Venezuela and Albert Alabedra, who hales from Barcelona, took their alliance one step further, adding songwriting to their resume. In the wake of the pandemic, they penned songs that would bring light and joy to the aftermath of a very dark time. Pooling their collective Latin influences, they touch upon salsa, flamenco, blues, and world music. The lyrics are entirely in Spanish, but even if you don’t speak the language, the underlying feeling of their music is still easily conveyed.
In “Te Oro,” (translation) “I Wish For You,” we see one partner who is more committed than the other: We’re always taking two different roads/And I am always waiting for you/At the train station/In case I see your train coming from the platform…I pray for you. “Sunflowers,” which is the track for their official music video, paints a magical landscape graced by a field of sunflowers and a woman who finds inner peace as she walks through what is likened to a Van Gogh painting. “Words,” a charming duet performed by Martinez and Alabedra, showcases the duo without any backing band, a tender and quiet respite from the larger instrumental sounds.
Musicianship: Martinez’s vocals are strong, especially in the mid-range, and well balanced in relation to the band, considering their size. Alabedra’s guitar work is lyrical and smooth and a good fit with Martinez. The band they have assembled is top-shelf in every way and full of intriguing sounds.
Performance: There is an emphasis on the relationship between music and dance, and Martinez performs some flamenco with her supporting dancers, infectious enough to have some of the audience up on their feet. As striking as the band was, there were ample opportunities to break down further into smaller musical groupings that would feature the duo as the song “Words” did, while adding even more variety to the show.
Summary: Alba Musik is a highly professional outfit brimming with musicality and warmth and a keen sense of what it means to entertain. With so many talented musicians on stage, further division of labor might have featured more of the duo, since everything emanates from their collaboration. Their debut album Dawn, was released this past May.