Artist/Band: Susana Baca
Release date: 2017/06/22
Venue: The National Concert Hall, Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin 2
Reviewer name: Grainne Farren

This concert was another winner for Waltons World Masters, who have an impressive record of bringing outstanding international artists to Ireland over the years. Susana Baca (vocals) was backed by Hugo Bravo (percussion), Ernesto Hermoza (guitar), Oscar Huaranga (bass) and Maria Helena Pacheco (violin).

The Peruvian singer has a splendid voice, a broad emotional range and a great sense of rhythm, expressed not only in her singing but in her graceful movements. She performed a varied programme of contrasting songs in Spanish: plaintive, dramatic, joyful, playful and passionate. Some were based on traditional Peruvian folk music, the fruit of many years’ research on her part. Others, from her album Afrodiaspora, showed a strong African influence on songs from Cuba, Columbia, Brazil and Venezuela as well as Peru.

Her backing musicians were equally superb and totally on her wavelength. Hugo Bravo’s percussion was irresistible, Ernesto Hermoza’s guitar and Maria Helena Pacheco’s violin full of feeling, while Oscar Huaranga’s double bass underpinned the group rhythmically. The instrumentalists also contributed vocals on the call-and-response numbers, and audience participation was encouraged in the form of hand-claps. The audience evidently included a number of South Americans who were enthusiastic fans of the singer and her band. But even those of us who were less familiar with them enjoyed every minute.

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