At birth, you don’t have to know a Spanish dialect from Latin America in order to create honorable Latin American tunes. Marta Topferova, a Czech immigrant who moved to the United States with her parents when she was eleven, empathized with fellow immigrants. Her nascent gift led her to learning about Spanish and Latin American cultures, especially the music.
Although she sings in English and Czech, many of her albums are in Spanish. The one I am reviewing today is “Trova.” Already, the title refers to a Cuban music genre. Also, the songs “Come to my place without knocking” and “The fireflies” refer respectively to the Argentine “chacarera” and the Chilean “cueca.” The “chacarera” is music while “cueca” is a dance.
Religion and nature feature themselves prominently in the songs. The album starts off with a lament akin to ‘Ay, ay, ay’ in “Hooligan,” where a homeless man gives a spiritual epiphany to a total stranger. Then the stranger pays attention to nature with great enthusiasm in “Come and walk to the hill,” which mingles with spiritual darkness in “The meadow.” No acid rain can destroy the hope living inside the stranger. She is smitten with a stork, who colors her dreams with vivid sights and experiences.
Hope turning into joy, the itinerant celebrates in “The long road” and “The hopeful jam session.” Then that child-like happiness gets burned away with the light of the “Dawn.” An “Orange-colored sunrise” reveals the murky green and black combinations that color the soul’s overall mood. Where has the spiritual seeker been led astray to the point where thoughts creep in that shut out her enthusiasm for life, especially the natural beauty surrounding her line of vision?
The next song, “Come to my place without knocking,” leads the little person into wisdom. Comfort comes from recognizing the need to connect with people, especially where familiar comings and goings are concerned. That’s how the love of the “native land” comes in.
The Christian symbol of the dove cannot be ignored in “The poppy flower.” The seeker relates to the “meek” plant in the song. The spiritual darkness continues but she has a determined intention to pay attention to signs in nature that will help with her dark feelings.
Reaching some sort of finish line, she celebrates her spiritual accomplishments in “Fireflies.” She doesn’t want to be alone anymore. But the album’s not over yet with its storytelling. A new determination arises in the writing. In “Sea and Sky,” she recognizes how different she is from the person who is like “the sea.” She possesses comparable attributes “to the sky,” in her estimation. Knowing this, she takes a stand against the person she’s tied to “because a paper says so.”
The music is either celebratory or reflective, depending on the song. The overall result is envisioning musicians who talk and play very close to each another. The temptation to sleep is very great, even in the early afternoon. Maybe a siesta is in order? Not a practical option, but it can make the mind more receptive to a peaceful state as the day continues.
Selma Khenissi, Leisure/Music Staff Writer
Biography from http://www.martatopferova.com/ (Biography link)
Discography from http://www.martatopferova.com/ (Recordings)
Image Source: http://www.martatopferova.com/presskit/marta_topferova_5_web.jpg (Selma K.)