This edition of Boss Ladies is brought to you by member Tori Roze, who reviews Gaby Aparicio's new album, La Bella Vita.
A love letter to her mother, La Bella Vita rounds out seventeen plus years-worth of Gaby Aparicio creating alluring audio - seamlessly blending Latin-based music, pop, and that of the traditional singer-songwriter. A musical rarity of deep substance and beauty, Aparicio delivers her unique musical Uruguayan, Italian, North American flavor in three languages with the perfect amount of passion, precision, and intention. As the writer of every song on an album that generously rotates through a considerable amount of San Diego all-star talent; Aparicio definitively conveys her wishes to grow, to love, to help others, to dream, to experience life, to succeed, to fail, to show you her heart, and to embrace all of herself throughout the process.
The album opens with the enigmatically seductive song “Captivate Me.” Spanish guitar (played by Aparicio and Israel Maldonado) gently invites you into the cozy arms of Aparicio’s unbelievably clear voice. Her vocal quality bears a whispery closeness - the cinematic picture in one’s mind of an all-consuming love affair becomes imaginatively vivid once she begins singing. A range of majestic animals hits you between the eyes as her lyrics paint gorgeous metaphors over a tapestry of meticulously layered music. While this song is written in English, it hints at what is promised to you as a listener entering the world of La Bella Vita – a fastidious melting pot of sound with a clear message: to authentically “be you.”
The second track, “Se Va,” kicks-off with a rootsy nylon-stringed guitar, bringing forth Aparicio’s singer-songwriter musical foundation. With the music and vocals in tandem, there is a driving undertone of yearning to its sonic affect. The first song of many where we get to experience lyrics in another language; one gains an even better sense of the primo vocal clarity Aparicio touts regardless of the language she is singing in. The rhythm section (Gaby Aparicio, Gregg Montante, Saul Timba, James East, and Jake Najor) is tight. Aparicio tastefully conquers Spanish-style nylon-stringed guitar techniques while singing all of the female vocal parts. Many will venture, but few will succeed – and Aparicio elicits vibes reminiscent of Lila Down’s notable genre-bending multi-lingual music.
“Tango Triste” sounds and feels like a song directly out of a Cirque du Soleil show. There is an inescapable sensibility of heavy emotion affecting you from the first note. Leading with a thematic picky surf-rock electric guitar echoed by a writhing violin (played by Jamie Shadowlight), the emotional tug-and-pull of dissonant music unavoidably grabs you. The layered percussion, played by Julien Cantelm, is so well-executed that you can hear each and every tonal and textural detail. The bass (played by the producer of this particular song, Jacob “Cubby” Miranda) picks up at the chorus and pushes the action of the song forward. Speaking from a filmic perspective – “Tango Triste” might find itself strategically placed in a suspense movie just as easily as it could fit into a scene between fiery lovers. Violin enhances the intense sultry vibrancy that the song effortlessly embodies. There is an immovable strength to the Spanish-sung lead and backing vocals as they reinforce the melodious back-and-forth sewn into the fabric of the music. This song makes you involuntarily feel the lustful torture of longing for a once familiar love with its impassioned chorus: “Una tristesa, bien colorante//Me penetra desde el cielo//Como me llena//El tango llorante//Devo cantarlo asi.”
“Corazon” cools the heat of the previous song and gives off a vibration of peaceful existence with a bouncy nylon guitar as your guide. There is a sense of calm that washes over you as the dynamic percussion - with the combined efforts of Julien Cantelm (drums), Marcus Alcantarilla (Cavaquinho), and Halysson Silva (percussion) – gently caresses your ears. Altogether, it feels like a pleasant vacation you never want to return home from.
Aparicio’s voice on “Best Version of Me” evokes Sara Bareilles’ tonally bright musical style, but with an easy-going twist of Uruguayan/Italian zest. The brush work provided by Julien Cantelm sustains a rhythmic pace while a tenor saxophone, played by Stefanie Schmitz, dances over a delightfully balanced rhythm section. Aparicio speaks to the simplicity of loving yourself to be the “best version” of you. She adds that through the vehicle of receiving and accepting love from another, one stands to become a consummate version of oneself.
Aptly named “Tangled Heart,” bongos and shakers (played by Enrique Platas) juxtaposed against a pyramid of flowy guitars (played by Aparicio and Maldonado) temper a self-reflective sentiment ever-present in both the music and lyrics. There is an intentional conversation between the instruments and lyrics; each replying to the other like a dialogue in smoothly-laid-out time. As Aparicio illustrates with candid vulnerability, our internal selves can be a dazzling yet chaotic place to navigate. Aparicio comments on her own internal complexities as she acknowledges that her heart will always be an exquisite work in progress: the journey is the destination and acceptance of one’s humanness is vital for growth in one’s personal evolution.
The backing vocals on “Bella Vita” enter the scene like a breeze blowing through a seaside town. An audible warmth overtakes you as three distinct languages envelop your ears. Love, as described here, is comparable to the natural relationship between land and water at a coastal meeting point – they are always touching and whirling into each other, ebbing and flowing. That type of relationship is the quintessential depiction of a complimentary part: one lends to the other harmoniously counterbalancing where the other falls short. This song is so unmistakably enjoyable that one could imagine themselves singing the choral “la, la, la’s” whilst driving along the Mediterranean Sea in a convertible car with the top down.
“Matter” closes out the album with a final message straight from Aparicio’s heart – to remember to be present and act out of love towards the people around you. Recorded and engineered by San Diego favorite Jeff Berkley, the intimacy and balance of sound is pure. Believing this to be by design, it is the only song on the album solely comprised of vocals and nylon-stringed guitar. The tender conveyance of the backing vocals is similar to a lullaby that softly cradles you. Aparicio’s wish to leave her audience with a sense of hope, self-kindness, and patience towards pursuing their own personal transformation is the culmination of her intention to create. She urges you to find out who you are and where you fit into the world, but in your own time.
La Bella Vita is a more than just a love letter. With rich musicianship and catchy musical earworms abound, these eight tracks will leave you humming along while inspiring you to reflect on your own life’s path. Aparicio’s multi-faceted and vulnerable elegance are a gift she lovingly bequeaths to her listeners. And although it was primarily recorded by Alan Sanderson at Pacific Beat Recording, this album is clearly a collaborative labor of love by all involved. They say “it takes a village” and what a handsome waterfront village Gaby Aparicio has built. Life truly is beautiful, and this album is proof.
Link to buy album - https://www.gabyaparicio.com/music
Meet the Writer: Tori Roze
Our Lady Brain blog writers work on a volunteer basis in support of their fellow members. If you enjoyed this article, please consider making a small donation to Tori via Venmo, which will help support her creative endeavors.
Lady Brain members are out and about in full force this summer - make sure to catch them at one of these upcoming shows/events!
Friday, August 2 - Jessica Lerner with Full Band at Kensington Club
Jessica Lerner and her band will share the bill with Jehlad and The Rogue Pilots. $5 Cover. More info.
Friday, August 2nd - Julia Sage and The Bad Hombres at The Black Cat Bar
Sonic Attack at Black Cat Bar: Don’t miss this lineup featuring Tormenta Rey, Lana Rebel and Michael Mayfield, Julia Sage and the Bad Hombres, Gary Hankins, and from Robert's Western World in Nashville TN, special guest DJ Brendan Malone! $5 cover. More info.
Saturday, August 3 - Astra Kelly at Helix Brewing Co. La Mesa
Delicious brews, Kokopelli's food truck and a beautiful patio! Family owned and family friendly. Astra Kelly plays solo/acoustic from 6:30-9p. No Cover.
Wednesday, August 14 - Tori Roze & The Hot Mess at The Casbah
Tori Roze & The Hot Mess plays the Casbah with The Routine and fellow Lady Brain band The Anodynes. Show starts @ 9pm w/The Anodynes on first, followed by Tori Roze & The Hot Mess second. Come thirsty and ready to get soulful! $8/21+. More info.
Wednesday, August 14 - Bonfire Jam Circle at The Heritage Ranch in Encinitas
Hosted by Cathryn Beeks of Listen Local Radio. Bring a chair, your beverage of choice and an appetizer to share. Songwriters rotate clockwise and everyone plays on everyone's songs. 7pm to 11pm small donation appreciated. More info.
Friday, August 16 — Lady Brain Presents Showcase at Art on 3rd
The next installment of the Lady Brain Presents series will be a showcase in a Chula Vista artist-owned gallery. The event will feature short musical sets from Chris Avetta (with Jules Stewart), Marie Haddad, Dixie Maxwell (with Paige Miller), Carissa Schroeder, and The Spiritual Motels (Amy Day, Omar Musisko), as well as video from Mary Bee, and visual art from Chris Avetta, Julia Sage, and other Lady Brain artists. All ages, $10 suggested donation. The event will run from 7pm - 10:30pm. More info.
Thursday, August 29 — Lindsay White at The Pointe Westfield UTC
Join Lindsay White for outdoor happy hour at Westfield UTC featuring cover songs by some of her favorite artists including Fleetwood Mac, Aretha Franklin, Amy Winehouse, and more. No cover. 5-7pm. More info.
Thanks to SoundDiego for reminding folks about Lady Brain Fest today! Read the feature here! Online ticket sales have closed, but tix will still be available at the door for cash purchase!
Thank you to Rosemary Bystrak for including a shout-out to Lady Brain Fest on the San Diego: Dialed In blog. We appreciate the support!
Thanks to Seth Combs and San Diego CityBeat for this great feature on Lady Brain Fest in their list of cool things to do this week. They also selected us as PLAN A on their “If I Were You" column! You can read the full article here and purchase your pre-sale tickets here. (Online sales end Saturday at 3pm)
Thank you to the San Diego Reader for including Lady Brain Fest in their weekend event roundup! We appreciate the local love (though we were all the headliners cause that's how we roll in the Lady Brain crew, lol).
Thanks to Tim Pyles, Rowley, and the 91X Loudspeaker team for inviting Cathryn Beeks and Lindsay White to come on the air and chat about the upcoming Lady Brain Fest. Tim also spun tracks by festival performers Tori Roze, Gaby Aparicio, White, and Marie Haddad. Lady Brain Fest is less than a week away - you can purchase pre-sale tickets for $12 online or $15 at the door!
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