“Best-kept Secret of Argentinian Tango”

Maria Volonte: Portrait
Network Medien – 4 Stars

CD Review in Songlines (UK) — March 2011
By Chris Moss

Well established and widely respected in her native Argentina, Maria Volonte is largely unknown in Europe. This, her European debut, gathers together tracks from her five previous albums and shows off a singer who can switch between jazz and blues-influenced vocals, intimate Argentinian-style folk singing and classic big tango diva numbers. The album opens with “Yo soy Maria” from a Piazzolla/Ferrer operetta and, while Volonté has the necessary gusto to own the song, she doesn’t bring anything particularly novel to it. That gratifyingly, can’t be said of her renditions of “Vuelvo al Sur” or “Gracias a la Vida.” The former is slowed down and stretched into a passionate end-of-the-night torch song, while the Violeta Parra song – which Mercedes Sosa always bellowed like an earth-mother – is turned into an almost sensual, bossa nova-inflected whisper.

Hailing from the pampas town of Ituzaingó, Volonté has a home-girl’s instinct for folk rhythms, and plays a mean acoustic guitar and frame drum. She’s also at home with fado and Cuban music, and writes her own boleros. She’d be one to watch — only we should have been watching for at least two decades.