Music News

CRITIC'S CHOICE

Irene Farrera, Friday, February 9, at Swallow Hill Music Hall, is certainly ambitious; the singer/guitarist says her main musical objective is to "change the minds of the world's racists, homophobes and political and religious fanatics." Fortunately, this heavy agenda is presented in a fascinating manner. Born in Venezuela but based in Oregon, Farrera is a physical beauty in the classic sense, and her original compositions and covers of tunes from Brazil and the Caribbean are distinguished by her dusky, androgynous voice (she sings in English, Spanish and Portuguese) and a sturdy, powerful guitar technique. The Redwood Records release Alma Latina--a new album featuring Farrera's passionate interpretations of numbers by various Latin American composers--may not accomplish all of her goals, but it's certainly a step in the right direction. You could do far worse than to follow her lead.

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Linda Gruno