New Obsession: Maria del Mar Bonet

posted by Tom on July 12, 2012 at 5:06 pm
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The other week, some friends came over for an evening of listening. As usual, there was wine, bourbon, good food and an abundance of music – whenever we gather, at least one person brings a recording that rearranges the molecules in the room and sends us all searching the neglected corners of the back catalog.

This time, Tony introduced us to the veteran singer Maria del Mar Bonet, from the island of Majorca. A student of the varied, interestingly interconnected folk musics of Spain, the Mediterranean and North Africa, Bonet is a living bridge between worlds, the rare singer able to assimilate specific performance devices and songs from several cultures, and churn them into profoundly moving, utterly organic-sounding art.

She’s recorded all kinds of music – just in the Spotify database, there are examples of her doing cabaret-style jazz, flamenco and slick, high-gloss pop, and her voice prevails even when the arrangements lean toward the bombastic. That’s partly because of her clear and unflashy phrasing, and partly a function of tone and timbre. This is one mighty voice, at once fierce and fragile, luminous and earthy and possibly in touch with lost wisdom. When Bonet sings long-tone laments about love, she sounds wrenchingly heartsick yet fully capable of transcending any momentary setback. When, as often happens, her songs wrestle with existential questions about life, she seems at peace with the notion of not knowing, and her gestures take on a calm, searching aspect.

This playlist offers just a small sampling of Bonet’s work; it focuses on her more intimate less orchestrated material. There’s plenty more to explore…..

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#1 from Arsonval Mazzucco Muniz, São Paulo/Brasil - 08/17/2012 10:11

I knew Maria Bonet in Barcelona, year 1979 and I never forget him. Marvelous singer!

#2 from Jason Perot, Tenerife - 08/24/2012 10:50

Beautiful platlist. Thank you for sharing.
The music from the Canary Islands is very similar but a bit more assertive.

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