While recording two albums as a trio (mostly), Seattle's Duende Libre has worked with singers Chava Mirel and Frank Anderson in live settings almost since the group's founding. In a recent visit to the KNKX studios, Mirel and Anderson truly felt like integral members of the band.
You can hear Mirel's wordless vocalizing on three songs on Duende Libre's recent album "Drift." Beginning the session with Stevie Wonder's "Open Up Your Heart," her voice showed equal skills with lyrics.
To be sure, this trio does not lack for energy. With these two singers, though, it's a party from the first note. Mirel danced enthusiastically to the music throughout, and Anderson's got his own dance moves to go with skilled percussion work.
Along with a fresh version of keys player/band leader Alex Chadsey's tune "Bosphorus" from the recent release, our studio audience was treated to a mesmerizing arrangement of a Maninka rhythm Anderson learned while living in West Africa.
"Fefo" brought out the best in drummer Jeff "Bongo" Bush, and bassist Farko Dosumov gave us more reasons to name him one of the top players in the Northwest.
Without obscuring the exciting rhythmic and melodic duende of the trio, Mirel and Anderson take the band's music to the proverbial "next level." Performing live on KNKX between a stretch of live shows and a recording session for a new album, we were lucky to host Duende Libre at the its sharpest as the group explores a compelling, new, bigger sound.