⊙Europe is home to a better class of popstar. Najwa Nimri Urrutikoetxea (Najwa for short) is actually better known for acting in her native Spain (and in the United States, as well—you may recognize her from Before Night Falls and/or the film upon which Cameron Crowe based Vanilla Sky, Open Your Eyes) than for the music she's released, but she has a musical following nonetheless.
⊙Originally half of the duo named Najwajean, she released her first solo recording in 2001 titled Carefully. In 2003, Mayday followed and introduced a firmer electronic influence to provide the backing for her understated and soft-spoken singing voice.
⊙So now it's 2006. One child and a handful of films later, Najwa has returned with an unexpectedly minimal, yet cavernously deep album titled Walkabout. All but one of the album's ten songs are sung in English, despite the more than obvious fact it's her second language. But hearing how she wrestles with the pronunciation of certain words and phrases really makes the music itself more endearing and creates a stark, expressive delivery many English-speaking singers would mortgage their beach homes to possess. Naturally, the flamenco guitar flourishes come into play at points throughout the album, but there's an equally forceful undercurrent of Berlin-style beats and beeps (think of the more accessible Kompakt or Bpitch Control recordings) that keep things progressing. Download "So Often" (MP3) for a better explanation.
⊙I'd propose that we as a nation gather up our Hilary Duffs, Lindsay Lohans and Ashlee Simpsons to approach Spain with some kind of exchange offer, but I know that if we got our hands on Najwa she'd be ruined by focus groups and target marketing. It's best we just enjoy her from afar and let her exist freely all the way across the ocean where she's most appreciated.
01.I`ll wait for us
03.just in case
06.le tien le mien
07.i like it
09.one of those days