Soema Montenegro

The voice is enough to make you find religion. That something could take hold of you so instantly, so against the norm, and cradle you in such a way that nearly leaves you in tears — Soema Montenegro’s U.S. debut is a stunning collection of songs that do all this and more. Mouth stands agape at the passion, at the exquisitely controlled abandon, the space between the notes as important as the tones themselves, to paraphrase Miles. That the musical accompaniment is sparse — a lightly picked guitar here, a tap-tap-tapping of percussion there — only serves her instrument all the more. A smarter man once made the observation, “I have no idea to this day what that lady was singing about. Truth is, I don’t want to know. Some things are best left unsaid. I’d like to think they were singing about something so beautiful it can’t be expressed in words and makes your heart ache because of it.” Wrap your ears around Pasionaria and feel free, if only for a moment.