Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Malena Pérez's STARS is one of those rare gems that you find and tell the world about. Hailing from Atlanta's vibrant music scene and now residing in Brooklyn, NY, the nu Latin jazz songstress draws upon various musical influences such as Minnie Riperton, Flora Purim, Omara Portuondo and Sade, creating a unique sound that is soulful, organic and sensual. Raised by a Cuban father who started a Latin music series at Atlanta's public radio station WRFG in the late 70's and a mother of German descent who was a pianist and organist, Malena grew up around music. Her debut single, Free To Fly introduced the bilingual vocalist and her jazzy latin grooves to the house music scene in 2004, immediately making her an artist to watch.

On her debut album STARS, released on her own Cubanita Groove label, Malena fuses downtempo and progressive nu-jazz sounds with Afro-Cuban percussion and rhythms. The lead-off single is the meditative, inspirational Chase The Butterflies, which is also reprised on STARS with a Kenny "Dope" Gonzalez (Masters At Work) remix fusing the tender soulfulness of the original with bumping deep-house beats. Another highlight, Praise The Day, showcases Malena's angelic, soulful vocals over a spicing of Latin drumming with sultry beats courtesy of Osunlade. Elsewhere, the self-written album features production work and collaborations with Carlos Niño (Ammoncontact, Build An Ark, The Life Force Trio), Alix Alvarez (SOLE Channel Music) and Michael Johnson (KetchaVibe). STARS is an introspective, refreshingly pretty and uplifting album that is a true expression of Malena's soul and heralds the arrival of a new world talent in style and grace.

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