Born María Concepción Balboa Buika, the Spanish-born
singer of African descent best known simply as Buika has been blessed with a vibrantly rich
voice. Raw and smoky, with a tenderness that hits right at the heart, her sensual and husky
instrument has garnered comparisons to Nina Simone, Chavela Vargas, and Cesária
Buika makes music without limitations, a fact reflected in the variety of her
collaborators who include Pat Metheny, Anoushka Shankar, Chick Corea, Niño Josele, Mariza,
Bebo and Chucho Valdés, Javier Limón, Charles Aznavour, Luz Casal, Seal, Armando Manzanero,
and Nelly Furtado.
Over the course of her 15-year recording career, Buika has continued to confound
expectations. Listening to her discography, a pattern emerges of growing confidence and
boldness. She experienced a meteoric rise after her introduction to the American
marketplace in 2007 with the album Mi Niña Lola (My Little Girl Lola),
winning awards as well as lavish praise from The New York Times, The New
Yorker, Miami Herald, and NPR.
Her latest album, Vivir Sin Miedo (To Live Without Fear), follows her
acclaimed 2013 release La Noche Más Larga (The Longest Night), which won
a Latin Grammy and received a Grammy nomination in the Best Latin Jazz Album category. On
Vivir Sin Miedo, she makes a striking departure from the Spanish flamenco, Latin
jazz, and world music for which she is known, into something best described as global pop.
And for the first time, she sings more in English than in Spanish (and often mixes the
In her work to date, Buika has already fulfilled the prediction that filmmaker Pedro
Almodóvar--one of her many admirers--made a few years ago when he said, "Seeing her draw
from such different genres as coplas, tango, bulerias, bolero, Cuban
music, and jazz, mix them all together with such grace and spontaneity, one cannot help but
think that there is a brighter future as long as one can witness the boundless evolution of
this infinite performer." Almodóvar helped introduce Buika to a wider audience when he cast
her in his 2011 psychological thriller The Skin I Live In. Upon the film's
release, Warner Music issued the double-LP of her recordings En Mi Piel (In My
Skin) to meet a growing demand for Buika's music in the US.
Like a true artist, Buika makes each song her own. "I just do what my heart is demanding.
Sometimes in the music business people do what they think other people will like, but
that's a limitation. I just want to be true. I want what Charlie Parker's got--I want