Album Review of
Punto de Partida

Written by Mark Gallo
September 23, 2017 - 12:00am EDT
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Amanda Tovalin has yet to reach her 30th birthday and, if this disc is any indication, she is on her way to a successful career. Recorded in Spanish, with liner notes in Spanish, it magnifies the concept of music as a Universal language. In possession of a beautiful voice, Tovalin is an accomplished classical violinist, as well. Punto De Partida (“Starting Point”) is a nine song treasure. From the opening original, “Quiero” to the closing re-mix of “En El Rio” there is scarcely a less than perfect note. “Quiero” has Tovalin singing over a chorus which may be her multi-tracked, with each track offering vocal rhythms. The following “Ella” reminds of the great Flora Purim vocally and is couched in the glorious “chopis” of Emmanuel Cisneros and Hans Avita’s drums. It features Tovalin’s exquisite violin, reminiscent in sections of Regina Carter. The combination of her voice and violin is delightful. “Cactus” features Tovalin’s voice again and she solos on violin, Alonso Magana takes a beautiful guitar solo and the piano of Cisneros is equally captivating. Alex Mercado’s piano is dazzling on “Desespero,” a song that gives room to bassist Agustin Bernal and drummer Yaury Herandez Fernandez, indication that she has surrounded herself with world class musicians. “En El Rio” has an after-hours feel, with piano and drums setting the pace over which Tovalin swoops and sings with the full command of her range. A very nice vibraphone from Gustavo E. Satas is also featured in this musically full piece. On the traditional song “La Bruja” her violin introduces the piece on which she sings commandingly. This is a master work and work in progress of Tovalin’s budding career.