Every now and then a singer comes along with such an unusual approach to her voice that the Canadian folk scene stops in its tracks to make space for something they didn’t know they were missing.
Darkly theatrical and deep-voiced, Toronto-raised, Montreal- and Paris-based trilingual (English, French and Spanish) singer Alejandra Ribera is such a performer.
For her second album, she waited three years to work with her producer of choice, Jean Massicotte, who also worked with the late singer Lhasa de Sela. And judging from the warm magic of the rhythms and textures captured – including piano, marimba and bagpipes – that was a good call.
But despite the presence of roots-pop single I Want – whose chorus is anthemic, full of longing and will likely play on radios everywhere soon – Ribera sometimes comes across as a stronger interpreter than a writer. For example: check out her slow and moody version of the Proclaimer’s hit song 500 Miles.
A great original, though? Un Cygne La Nuit (a bilingual duet with French singer Arthur H). Her direct, pure voice contrasts nicely with his grittiness and sexy french accent.