Aurelio: Landini – album review
Aurelio – Landini (Real World Records)
Traditional Honduran artist, Aurelio, releases his new album, Landini. Louder Than War’s Paul Scott-Bates reviews.
The Garifuna are descendants from Western and Central Africa situated on the Caribbean coast of Honduras. An idyllic sounding place if ever there was one, the village of Plaplaya was the home to Aurelio Martinez who learned music with his mother without the aid of electricity.
His new album, Landini, has an interesting blend of traditional music fused with Latin rhythms to make a surprising, though sometimes patchy, record. The songs are also tinged with a little surf style which maybe you’d expect – or not – but it’s catchy, very danceable with lots of hooks.
Though performed in his native tongue, it’s quite easy to spot that the lyrics often contain sadness, maybe even regret; that they combine with the upbeat music often confuses the ears. Songs of tragedy mix with tracks written by Aurelio’s mother in which she offers advice to her son.
Some songs are steeped in pain. Milaguru, for instance, describes a ferry accident in the 90s when all the travellers were killed, the words written by a grieving relative of a victim who begs the Captain of the ship to be careful. The song is sad, almost like a version of Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game with its lovely sliding guitar.
The clear African influences add interest to the album, and together with the surf sound makes it a unique listen. The title track is upbeat and tells the story of how difficult life in Plaplaya can often be.
Working with the same musicians he has performed with for fifteen years, the backing is slick and well-timed. Lirun Weyu and Durugubei Mani provide vocals from a choir of voices over very simple beats letting the tunes and melodies do the work and carry the songs along with ease.
Almost as an ambassador for Garifuna, Aurelio is the only artist representing his people in the world putting forward his and their voice to a larger audience and on the strength of this album he does them proud.
All words by Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found here. Paul’s website is hiapop Blog. Paul is working hard to save Radio Lancashire’s On The Wire, the BBCs longest running alternative music programme. Follow him on twitter as @saveonthewire for all On The Wire news or follow hiapop Blog on Twitter, @hiapop.