Among the many gifts that duendita’s outstanding debut album offers is a blessed pause. A moment when the busy world buzzing around slows and goes quiet. Meditation. You float. And, amidst the crush and noise and pace of a humanity that daily seems intent on lighting itself on fire, there is this sudden space for….grace.
duendita wrote and produced direct line to My Creator over the span of two years and the result is a richly soulful, assured, and cohesive album. It’s not easy to create stillness that captivates on a record. duendita does this with unhurried, almost whispered instrumentation (channeling Sade) and songs that breathe and expand individually while forming a unified sound and artistic statement. And, throughout, there is duendita’s voice whose range and warm, deep bass tones sound thrillingly like Sarah Vaughan.
This record is utterly transporting. I tack back-and-forth between the reverent feel of a hushed church sanctuary with a handful of parishioners scattered among the pews (bury me) and an image of smoking in a cramped, basement jazz cafe adorned in red; duendita alone on stage, spotlit, owning the room with her dusky vocals and delicate touch on the keys (thunder).
But, miss the lyrics while being carried away by the music and you miss the great emotional depth and heart that duendita brings. An Afro-Latinx artist born and raised in Queens, duendita explores spirituality, faith, love, anxiety, and vulnerability while delivering hammer blows against police violence and the sustained disenfranchisement of black and brown communities.
“This is a prayer for my kind / I wish you a long, long, long black life / This is for the girls that vanish in the night to blue hands.”blue hands
This record won’t let go.