"I've read that the gestation period of an African elephant is roughly 645 days. That's approximately what it took to make La boca".
In an industry increasingly driven by the instant gratification factor, it's rare to find an artist willing to let an album gestate a whole year before declaring it complete. It's rarer still to leave the finished product in a vault another year whilst refining the creative team and art direction. That's exactly what Alejandra Ribera did in preparing the longawaited release of her second album, La boca (Pheromone Recordings).
Following the success of Ribera's selfproduced Navigator, Navigather in 2009 and after being discovered by CBC Radio during her residency at Toronto's legendary Cameron House, Ribera began performing at folk, jazz and world music festivals across the country (Festival International de Jazz de Montreal and Luminato Festival).
Her sound, unmistakable as it is undefinable, has garnered the attention of her contemporaries. She was invited to sing "I Am Cuba" on the Skydiggers album She Comes Into the Room and performed alongside blues queen Jackie Richardson, Steven Page (exBarenaked Ladies), Teddy Thompson, the Art of Time Ensemble and Quartetto Gelato at Koerner and Massey Hall respectively.
At the moment most artists would feel pressure to return to the studio, Ribera decided to leave the country. "I wasn't ready to record, so I went to Spain to collect my thoughts." What resulted was the crafting of her first three Spanish songs and a landmark decision to enlist the help of Montrealbased producer Jean Massicotte (Pierre Lapointe, Patrick Watson). "I needed someone I trusted implicitly, and Jean's work told me he was that person. I waited three years until he was available. The day we met, I knew I made the right decision." Two weeks later Alejandra moved to Montreal to commence recording.
Upon arriving, Ribera received a second affirmation via an invitation to perform at an hommage for the late Lhasa de Sela at Montreal's Rialto Theatre. The show included guests Ariane Moffatt, Plants and Animals, Andrew Whiteman (Apostle of Hustle) and Brazilian singer Bïa. It would prove a prophetic introduction and led to repeat performances in France with Patrick Watson and The Barr Brothers at Printemps de Bourges. It also inspired a collaboration with esteemed musician and producer Yves Desrosiers. A similarly fated introduction to French singer Arthur H resulted in the only duet that appears on La boca. Jean Massicotte had previously produced Arthur's duet "La chanson de Satie" with Canadian star Leslie Feist. The track, entitled "Un cygne la nuit" was adapted to French by renowned songwriter Jim Corcoran who has long championed Alejandra as "serenely sensual, poetic, playful and profound ..."
Asked to describe the record Alejandra muses that "at the centre, each song is about having the courage to follow your instinct and the wonderful strange places it can lead you.”
La boca, a richly textured, multilingual album that reflects the artist's roots as much as the journey she took to bring it to fruition. The artist, who cites amongst her greatest influences Rufus Wainwright, Chavela Vargas, and bagpipes, now divides her time between Montreal, Paris and Malaga where she continues to create. Most of all she continues to follow her instincts and respond to her heart which has faithfully led her this far.
Alejandra Ribera is ready.