Espíritu Vivo

Like its predecessors on David Byrne's Luaka Bop label, the latest effort by Peruvian sensation Susana Baca reflects the artist's ongoing fascination with her country's black music heritage, which tra

Like its predecessors on David Byrne's Luaka Bop label, the latest effort by Peruvian sensation Susana Baca reflects the artist's ongoing fascination with her country's black music heritage, which traditionally has been overshadowed by Peru's Andean folkore legacy. But on this album, Baca digs deeper than on her earlier releases, pulling well-chosen covers from outside the Peruvian diaspora, including Mongo Santamaría's "Afro Blue," Caetano Veloso's "13 de Mayo," and Björk's "Anchor Song." Backed by a world-class Peruvian band and guest musicians Marc Ribot (guitar) and John Medeski (keyboards), Baca sings her heart and soul out on this album, which was recorded live in a New York studio the week of Sept. 10, 2001, as the city and the U.S. struggled with how to cope with the events of Sept. 11. Baca's voice, and the warm, sympathetic sounds of her studio ensemble offer flickers of hope in the wake of such gloom.—Pv