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Laura Lahera and Fulvio Paredes - A Duet in One
By Ben Ohmart
(more articles from this author)
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Mezzosoprano Laura Lahera and guitarist Fulvio Paredes work as one, weaving romance and passion out of a very embraceable album called Entre Nosotros, containing the following songs:
1. Madreselva (MP3)
2. Gracias a la Vida (MP3)
3. Lamento Borincano (MP3)
4. Pedacito de Cielo
5. La Mentira
6. Toda mi Vida
7. Anahi
8. Amarraditos
9. Na Baixa do Sapateiro (MP3)
10. Taconeando
11. Maria
12. Violin de Becho
13. Pajarillo Verde
14. Oblivion (MP3)
15. Serenatero de Bombos
16. Como dos extraños

Occasionally there is a guest, as on "Gracias A La Vida," but the percussion here is so soft as to merely be a faint underlining to a haunting love song. The same can be said for "Lamento Borincano," one of the most breathtaking tunes here, from 1930s Puerto Rico. It is a Latin hot night stirred up with sea breeze and latent sexuality - the theme of the album.

As Laura herself admits, "In reality, this CD is an intimate dialogue between a few instruments and the singer. That is the way we wanted it. We have shows that create this atmosphere, as well as shows with full orchestras and dancers in which we sing Argentinean tango, with all its splendor and strength."

My personal favorite is "Pedacito De Cielo," which contains a breathtaking vocal performance, yet the addition of Matias de Oliveira Pinto's cello to "La Mentira" gives a rich vibrancy that the other tracks simply cannot achieve, not wallowing in such a heartbreaking lower register like that.

The most arresting component of Entre Nosotros has to be Laura Lahera's voice. Born in La Plata, a province of Buenos Aires, she began her music career there at Escuela de Bellas Artes, continuing at the Conservatorio Manuel de Falla with classical singers Maria Fullin and Maria Jordan. She debuted in 1977 in El Viejo Almacen with the six guiartists of Edmundo Rivero. The next year she began touring, and has since circled the globe via London, Israel, Holland, Belgium and everywhere else the language of music does not need to translate.

Argentinian guitarist Fulvio Paredes was born in Buenos Aires where he began guitar studies at age 6 with Professor Eduardo Frasson. From there, he studied jazz, harmony and improvisation at the Berklee School of Music in that same country, and enrolled in the Conservatoire of Popular Music in Geneva, Switzerland in 1985. After years of performing with jazz and rock groups, he finally found the perfect collaborator in Laura Lahera.

"I have sung very little for the Spanish speaking public," says Laura, "nevertheless, even though the public does not understand the words, a lot of people 'feel' what the song says. My Latin audiences love Latin poetry; they have sensitivity. I chose the work not only because of the music, but also the lyrics. They are always songs that tell a story, and I prefer the stories that are well written, the stories that could be literature, such as certain tangos and boleros."

She loves Brazilian music, her favorite singers being Gal Costa and Chico Buarche. "My inspiration was the singer Elis Regina. She still lives through her beautiful interpretations. In the USA, I like Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys and especially all jazz."

The internet has also been very useful for bringing the world closer to Paredes' and Lahera's door. Finding and hearing them online helps if you can't make it to European theaters such as the Concertgebough of Amsterdam, Palais Des Beaux Arts in Brussels, and the Tonhalle of Dusseldorff. That's where they've had their huge successes, especially with the big tango shows.

"In general, we rehearse very intensely for 15 days before any tour. When we toured Israel, we rehearsed for two weeks, 8 hours a day. This was a very complex show, it was an opera called Maria De Buenos Aires. For a tour with a quartet, one or two weekends is fine, and then each one of us practices alone."

More on Laura Lahera and Fulvio Paredes
* Genre: Latin Jazz
* Hometown: Belgium
* Duo's Website
* Label: Ardel Records
* Buy Laura Lahera and Fulvio Paredes' CD "Entre Nosotros"
* Contact CatDesigners

They are not currently touring. They were going to participate in the Festival De Tango De Tarbes, an event they had been involved with for the past six years. But they needed a rest. "We are getting ready for a flamenco/tango show," says Laura. "We are working on the concept. We are thinking of mixing the genres using the common elements. Playing with the lyrics and rhythms."

The passion for beauty is the standout concept in their work. "Music is an extraordinary adventure with no limits except those brought on by our own creativity. A song is sung different each time. That is why it is always new and passionate every time, for the artist and the listener both."

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