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Bill Frisell & Vinicius Cantuaria - Lagrimas Mexicanas

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  Lagrimas Mexicanas, epitomizes a union of two extraordinary musicians. Frisell’s and Cantuária’s own music have clearly distinctive origins, but with complimentary styles. Through the blending of emotive rhythms and harmonies, and the melding of classic and experimental sounds, the two artists have found an easy home with one another.

As a guitarist, composer, and bandleader, Bill Frisell has established himself as a visionary presence in American music, best known for his innovative and improvisational guitar playing. Brazilian singer-songwriter, guitarist and percussionist, Vinicius Cantuária flawlessly merges the classic sounds of bossa nova with contemporary music, creating distinctive compositions and arrangements. Having played together in a variety of settings over the past 25 years, including on one another’s albums, Frisell and Cantuária had been looking for the right opportunity for a full-on collaboration. Lagrimas Mexicanas presented itself as the perfect occasion.

When Cantuária moved to New York from his homeland of Brazil, he was struck by the amalgamation of sounds emanating from the streets of New York City. In particular, the diversity of Spanish-speaking people affected him. Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Colombians, Venezuelans, Mexicans and countless others formed a rich multi-cultural collage. As these sounds filled Vinicius’ head and heart, he returned to his Brooklyn apartment and started writing Lagrimas Mexicanas, heavily influenced by the melting pot of New York City.

Similar to the bossa nova movement in the ‘50s and ‘60s, on Lagrimas Mexicanas Frisell and Cantuária collaborated to fuse traditional Latin rhythms with improvisational jazz methods. Bill understood Vinicius’ vision for the album, and their musical spontaneity inspired Bill’s orchestration. While Cantuária wrote the lyrics in a mix of Portuguese, Spanish and English, both musicians easily fell into the rhythm of writing the arrangements together. Although their styles differ, Frisell and Cantuária create charged and breathtaking music, as in “Calle 7,” inspired by Vinicius’ stroll down 7th Avenue in Brooklyn’s Park Slope.

At the heart of the album, Frisell and Cantuária demonstrate their expertise: Frisell experimentally plays with the arrangements and Cantuária weaves poetic lyrics with moving rhythms. Together these two great guitarists generate a sublime, beautiful, and accessible world of music. From the opening notes of the first track, “Mi Declaracion” to the final song “Forinfas,” Frisell’s intricate guitar playing effortlessly couples with Cantuária’s dreamy vocals and his stirring declarations of love to form a united vision.

Bill Frisell and Vinicius Cantuária view Lagrimas Mexicanas as a singular movement, all emanating from one simple, but powerful place: Love. Together, they communicate a passionate sense of optimism, opportunity and hope.

Vinicius Cantuária/ vocals, percussion and acoustic guitar
Bill Frisell/ electric and acoustic guitars, loops
All songs composed by Vinicius Cantuária and Bill Frisell.
Produced by Lee Townsend.


from RonnieScotts website


All Music Guide review   4Stars


by Thom Jurek

Lágrimas Mexicana is a completely unique collection of songs that draws heavily from traditional Latin and Brazilian rhythms, and weds them to 21st century jazz improvisation and sonic effects in a luxuriant braid of colors, textures, styles, and languages.

Having known one another for 25 years, Brazilian guitarist, songwriter, and percussionist Vinicius Cantuaria and American guitarist Bill Frisell have occasionally played on one another's albums. They have long sought the opportunity to collaborate on an album-length project. After Cantuaria moved to Brooklyn from Brazil, it presented itself. Arriving in New York, Cantuaria was deeply taken with the sheer diversity of the Spanish-speaking people and sounds he encountered on the streets, from Cubans, Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, Colombians, Venezuelans, and Mexicans; they drew him in, and his songwriter's instincts began to address what he'd heard.

Here he plays acoustic guitar, percussion, and sings in his beautiful airy baritone. Frisell, who understood and orchestrated Cantuaria's vision, plays electric guitar and employs loops and efx that meld provocatively yet seamlessly with these songs. The various languages -- Spanish, Portuguese, and English -- concern themselves with the various manifestations of love, from spiritual to carnal to platonic.

The opener, "Mi Declaracion," begins with organic and synthetic percussion; Frisell plays a nocturnal, breezy wah-wah funk line before the tune asserts itself as a present-to-future Mexican sonidero. Cantuaria's and Frisell's guitars meet and play off one another on the utterly haunting and lovely "Calle 7," that touches on both ranchera and norteño but is its own sleek, sexy (post-)modern animal.

Afro-Colombian rhythms meet samba in the lilting ballad "Lágrimas de Amor," where Frisell's guitar loops itself to create a counter rhythm and elongate the elegant textural elements at work in the structure. The lyric is tender, the melody is heartbreakingly beautiful. "Aquela Mulher" brings together a nuevo cancion melody with Afro-Brazilian rhythms.

The only tune that deviates from the Latin and Brazilian tapestry is the brief closing number "Forinfas," which melds early jazz and pop, but from Cantuaria's voice, it becomes something wholly other. Lágrimas Mexicana is an ambitious yet utterly accessible album that would have been just as at home on David Byrne's Luaka Bop label. It is at once warm, sexy, and visionary.

It presents two different yet very complementary artists in a collaboration that borders on brilliant.


Bill Frisell & Vinicius Cantuaria - Lagrimas Mexicanas 


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