February, 2014: With an African background, growing up in Europe and now living in Miami, Buika is World Music.
Whilst singing almost entirely in Spanish her music transcends linguistic boundaries.
Her deep and husky voice, portends a new sound to Flamenco music.
After a hectic global touring schedule, she has touched down briefly at her home pad of Miami before jetting off our way, for WOMADelaide.
This will be her first trip Down Under. On the phone, she seems humbled by the experience.
With a politically active father, her family escaped from violence prone Guinea and took refugee in, of all places Majorca just before her birth, a playground for the rich in Spain.
Unusually black amidst the fair skinned, sun tanned Majorcans, she identified more closely with the enclave of local gypsy culture and adopted their music form. She learnt flamenco styles.
Why Miami then? “It’s an easy place to work”, she says.
“I live where my music lives, well first of all because I am a nomad. My music lives everywhere. There is no place in the world that I cannot live in”, she says.
This would appear to be a natural response for someone who has led a cosmopolitan life on the road from her teenage years. Perhaps yearning for a less fluid national identity, she continues,
“I sometimes think that my music comes from my desire to belong to someone or to somewhere, sometimes I feel that my music comes from the freedom that I feel to not to belong to someone or somewhere”.
After five years of touring in the US, she believes she’s now confident in her style.
“When you sing the truth… people connect, your tribe knows what you are singing, even if you are not singing in the same language, they know what you are talking about.”
She has collaborated with some big names, including Nelly Furtado and Seal. She even performed a cameo in the hit Spanish film ‘The Skin I Live In’ released in 2013 in Australia.
Once marginalized Latino Music was popularized with the likes of Ricky Martin, Shakira, Enrique Iglesias, became a marketable global force.
Her music is not easily pigeon holed. If she is riding the Latino wave, Buika still refuses to be defined. Her roots and influences are global, not simply Spanish.
A self-defined workaholic, her only ambition is to keep doing what she does best, and keep creating new music. She claims to be a free spirit, unrestrained and open to all influences.
Metaphorically she calls this the loin in the jungle.
Buika will no doubt win hearts and minds when she takes to the WOMADelaide stage. (VP)
WOMADelaide, Mar 7-10, 2014, Botanic Park, Adelaide, womadelaide.com.au
BY VANESSA POWELL