Concha Buika, performing this Thursday at the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts, is not your average flamenco diva. Born in Mallorca to parents who were refugees from Equatorial Guinea, she was originally influenced by R&B and jazz divas such as Whitney Houston, Sarah Vaughan, and Tina Turner; she even briefly impersonated Turner during a stint as a lounge singer in Las Vegas. Buikas gypsy roots ultimately beckoned her back home, where she blossomed thanks to her dramatic voice and charismatic style.
The years listening to and performing American music were not lost, though. Strains of jazz and blues come through in her voice and also in the arrangements of tunes such as Falsa Moneda and Volverás, which subtly bring together the two worlds she has inhabited throughout her life. Her acclaimed album, Niña de Fuego, was recently nominated for a Latin Grammy, proving that one can return home and be successful.
Thu., July 9, 8 p.m., 2009