The voice of Katja Cruz is not exactly what you’d call a model of intonation. In an album like Primeval Sounds Of The World she had managed to elicit a measure of interest, while the most recent solo outing Mi Corazon – based on traditional Argentinean tunes – was so awful that I refused to review it. Nonetheless in Light And Shade, a duet with pianist Carolyn Hume, one locates a new glimmer of hope and tends to consider things with a modicum of tenderness. Consisting of six long tracks whose range of moods comprises sadness, contemplation and mystery, the record will not make truly dedicated listeners change their mind about the impossible-to-miss unsteadiness of Cruz’s lines; however, it permits to reflect on those very imperfections as courageous attempts of expressing something coming from within in the only possible way beyond words. The downcast vocalizations, accompanied by Hume’s sparse chording, are comparable to messages communicating an otherwise unspeakable sorrow. In some instances, the wavering pitches mixing with the gorgeous resonances of the piano involuntarily create flashes of unexpected aural gratification, and forgetting the technical deficiencies to give in to our softer side becomes easier. Sometimes flawed instruments emit sounds that still manage to touch someone. I’m not sold, but the singer’s effort is commendably earnest.

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