Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Women Singers Break through Cultural Constraints on CD, Radio

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Women Singers Break through Cultural Constraints on CD, Radio

Article excerpt

'Divine Divas" is far from the only music compilation showcasing international female singers, but it is singular in purpose while being enthralling as musical entertainment.

Brooke Wentz, producer of the new three-CD set, has chosen songs by 37 female vocalists from every continent who are involved with defining their feminine identities through their art. More specifically, more than a third of the performers are bicultural, meaning their art reflects a constant engagement with living in two cultures.

"Great music comes out of bi-culturalism," notes Ellen Kushner, host of the weekly "Sound and Spirit," a radio series seamlessly linking the quest for spiritual meaning with world music. Produced by WGBH Radio in Boston and aired nationally on public radio, her forthcoming program on "Bi-Cultural Women," which airs March 3 through 10 (check local listings), highlights one of the stars of "Divine Divas," Tish Hinojosa. "Some artists choose a single allegiance, either to the mainstream culture or a ghettoized culture, but that kind of a choice doesn't give us the art of a Tish Hinojosa," Ms. Kushner remarks. Hinojosa is a captivating Mexican-American singer who sings in Spanish and English, often within a single song stanza. Like a number of international female vocalists, she gains musical inspiration from her maternal roots. Hinojosa's mother was a renowned singer in her Mexican village. Hinojosa's "Let Me Weep" is a sweetly moving tribute to her mother's talent, which was never commercially or professionally recognized during her life; it is an example of the bicultural daughter's art embodying the unlived dreams of her tradition-bound mother. Also worth considering is Claudia Gomez, whose stirring song "Tierradentro" (Inland) opens this three-hour collection. After learning the music of her native Colombia from her mother, she moved to London as a young woman interested in formalizing musical training; she now lives and performs in California's Bay Area. …

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