Amanda Martinez Amor

Amanda Martinez Amor
Toronto, ON-based songstress Martinez certainly made a splash with her 2006 debut, Sola. It sold a very impressive 7,000 copies and earned positive notices and award nominations. The much-anticipated follow-up, Amor, is a definite creative step forward. Her supple and pleasingly melodic vocals remain a prime asset, while her songwriting shows real progress. More than half the tunes are Martinez originals, with "Lupe's Song," a moving tribute to a late comrade from the Toronto world music scene, being a highlight. Covers of Mexican favourite "Cucurrucucu Paloma" and "Alcoba Azul" (from the film Frida) are also very effective. Aiding her cause are the superb core band, featuring guitarist Kevin Laliberte, bassist Drew Birston and Cuban players Rosendo Leon, Alexander Brown and Osvaldo Rodriguez. Martinez is usually described as a Latin jazz singer but her style is more eclectic, with world music, cabaret and pop elements also coming into play. Opening track "Gitana," for instance, has an appealing gypsy flavour. This is a well-constructed work. (Independent)