This is the first album we made with Susana Baca. Up until this she had never released a record before. She had recorded some but they never came out. This was because in Peru, Afro Peruvian music was not considered to have any value. At one point her mentor, the famous Peruvian singer Chabuca Granda, told her record label to make a record with Susana. Susana and her husband Ricardo went down to the companies’ offices and the owner met with them and said, “Of course you will have to wear a wig and a much shorter skirt for the cover.” And Susana thought, ok, if that is what I have to do to make a record I will do that. A short while later Chabuca Granda died. When Susana called the record company again to ask what was happening with making her album, the company president said, “Chabuca has died, I don’t need to make a record with you anymore.” Susana was the first black musician to be on the cover of the newspaper in Lima. She was the first black person to be appointed a minister in Peru. She has a museum of Afro Peruvian culture in Peru at this point as her life’s work has been studying and performing this music. She was for a time also Peru’s Minister of Culture. She has come pretty far from when she was going to have to wear a wig and a short skirt.
Songs about “hard work, dancing, love and black pride, in a voice that has a halo of breathiness around a core of gentle determination.”
– New York Times
“Baca’s gorgeous voice seamlessly blends traces of Brazilian pop breeziness, Cape Verdean morna sadness, and Afro-Cuban son spiciness into an invigorating whole.”
– Chicago Reader