"Eva! Leyenda Peruana"
Lima-born singer Eva Ayllon is well known as the "Queen of Lando" throughout South America, but you needn't be familiar with Afro-Peruvian folk traditions to fall under her spell. Her voice is an instrument of enchantment, sensuous and soulful, and her repertoire, colored by native rhythms as well African and Spanish influences, is seductive in its own right, insinuating and invigorating by turns.
Though she has been a prolific recording artist for 30 years, "Eva! Leyenda Peruana" marks Ayllon's first album produced in the United States. It's awash with different tempos, rhythms and moods, variously influenced by Peru's coastal Afro-Peruvian and Creole culture. "Negra Presuntuosa," the opening tune and the first of several balladlike landos, weds her splendid voice to an undulating pulse before the tune gives way to the infectious rhythmic syncopations that drive the festejos. These include "Inga" and "Jolgorio de Eva," which are punctuated by lively call-and-response exchanges. Several waltzes, including "Cuando Llora Mi Guitarra," a sparkling showcase for guitarist Tito Manrique, also place Ayllon's voice in an extremely attractive light.
At other times the cajon, a wooden box widely used as a percussion instrument in Peru, generates the kind of propulsion that Ayllon thrives on. The instrument also evokes parallels with Cuban and Spanish folk forms that radiate similar vitality and spirit.
-- Mike Joyce
Appearing Saturday at Lincoln Theatre. * To hear a free Sound Bite from Eva Ayllon, call Post-Haste at 301-313-2200 and press 8102. (Prince William residents, call 703-690-4110.)