Posting a raving review after listening to an album once, is a bad idea. But not so if that album is by the hand of Andrés Calamaro. This Argentinian singer-songwriter / rock legend / trovador has issued 29 albums over the last two decades, climaxing in El Salmon, his 2001 magnum opus counting 103 equally brilliant songs. All of his albums are milestones in Argentinian pop music, and his latest Tinta Roja will be no exception.
A first listen reveals a very pure album, Calamaro is seldom accompanied by more than two instruments. Most songs feature a virtuoso tango rhythm on acoustic guitar, evoking the atmosphere of a dimly lit Buenos Aires bar around midnight. Sur (video) is a good example. On Mano a Mano (video) we hear the signature hand-clapping of Andalucian flamenco. The last two songs, Como Dos Extraños and Nostalgias (video), have Calamaro on piano, transporting you to a fifties blues joint (imagine the singer looking like the picture above, to complete the frame).
Two small remarks: first, this is a tribute album, so Calamaro doesn't deserve any credits for the beautiful lyrics. Most songs were written in the twenties and thirties, but their poetical words remain timeless. The language of love and passion is universal, and what are tango and flamenco other than pure passion? Title song "Tinta Roja" is a 1941 tango written by poet Cátulo Castillo:
Y aquel buzón carmín,Second remark: if this is the first time you listen to a Calamaro album, you'll have to get used to his rough voice. Tinta Roja might not be the best introduction to his extended oevre, but even to new listeners I would say: buy this! Twenty-nine other albums are waiting to be discovered :)
y aquel fondín
donde lloraba el tano
un rubio amor lejano
que mojaba con bon vin.
Andrés Calamaro - Tinta Roja