Viento A Favor (Wind In My Favor)
It’s a relatively different Alejandro Fernandez than what the masses have grown accustomed to after 15 solo albums and a career that has spanned the same number of years.
But it also showcases a musically evolving and fresh sounding Fernandez, who willingly expands his horizons while maintaining a touch of his ethnicity with a sprinkle of mariachi guitars and trumpets.
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For the last several years the ranchera prince/pop balladeer beefcake has reached a lofty status – and at the same time been vilified in Mexico - by infusing traditional Mexican music with commercial pop. Fernandez gets even riskier with Viento A Favor as the 12-track production features romantic ballads and dance tunes with plenty of pop and rock flourishes produced by the ever-creative Aureo Baqueiro.
It also highlights a more mature sounding Fernandez – with the same vocal capacity – despite the album’s light texture and somber tone. “Te Voy A Perder” (I’m Going To Lose You) in which he implores a love interest not to leave because there are still many promises to fulfill, offers intimate lyrics that Fernandez conveys tenderly and with heart-warming ease over Baqueiro’s light acoustic piano. There is more of the same in “Amenaza De Lluvia” (Threat of Rain), another lyrically gripping ballad that Fernandez turns into his own playground of pain by convincingly drawing out verses like “Hay amenaza de lluvia en mi Corazon”/”There’s a threat of rain in my heart” with utmost conviction.
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One of the best at transmitting raw emotion, his come clearly through in “Amenaza de Lluvia”, “Tanto Amor” (‘So Much Love’) and “Cuando Estamos Juntos” (‘When We’re Together’). Fernandez’s range and diversity are in full-display in “Amor Gitano”, an up-tempo and sensual pop-flamenco duet with Beyonce Knowles. The song, written by Beyonce along with Grammy-award winning composers Reyli and Jaime Flores, validates his vocal prowess as Fernandez delivers virtually each verse with profound authority all the while never losing command of his delivery. The manner in which he interprets the track makes it even more sensual than what it is – Beyonce not withstanding. No doubt one of the finest pure singers in any genre, Fernandez does nothing to damage that reputation in Viento A Favor.
Fernandez will begin a tour on the west coast of California next month before heading to South America, where “Amor Gitano” has created quite a stir in recent weeks. Although a date has not been Fernandez could land in Miami sometime early next year. -- Fernando Ruano