Michele Dominguez Greene
Luna Roja (Appleseed Recordings APRCD 1095, 2006)
The release, Luna Roja by bicultural singer- songwriter, Michele Dominguez Greene couldn’t have arrived at a better time. While this recording is hardly a political or social manifesto, Greene does explore issues of immigration, Mexican-American border crossings and justice. And whether we follow current events or not, immigrant and workers rights affect each of us in one way or another. With lyrics sung mostly in Spanish and backed by talented multicultural musicians on guitar, bass, percussion, tres, accordion, bass, trumpet and other instruments, Greene dives into the hearts of immigrants seeking a better life north of the border. However, since Greene sings most of her songs in Spanish and she possesses a sweet voice, I advice listeners unfamiliar with the Spanish language to pick up the liner notes and read the English translations. Otherwise, you might just think Greene sings love songs over a Tex-Mex backdrop.
She sings in English too and this can be heard on her cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Across the Border” and her original song, “Sal Si Puedes.” And I think both songs hammer away at this thing called humanity and compassion for all. Both songs speak of hope and disillusionment as do many of the songs on the album. The only weak song on the album is “Little John,” which is too cloying for my taste. For those of you who do not wish to delve into social issues and just want to hear intriguing musical arrangements, turn your ears towards, the opening track, “Julieta,” with its Latin American guitars, bass and percussion and Greene’s warm vocals sweeping over the top. And turn your ears to “Piedra y Libertad,” with its lush arrangements of trumpet, accordion, guitar, bass and percussion.
The lyrics to “Piedra y Libertad,” “The little dove comes tired and dirty knocking on your door, believing in your word. She brings the seed of her dreams. I beg you not to abandon her,” provides a poignant picture of the hopes of immigrants, both illegal and legal. Greene has peppered the recording with her thoughtful observations and by the time the CD stops spinning, the singer’s message comes across loud and clear. Without preaching any sermons or hitting us over the head with the liberal person’s version of self-righteousness, Greene causes us to stare humanity in the face and find mercy for all our brothers and sisters. In the end, Greene’s soft gentle vocals offer us a contrast to a harsh world that often grates on our nerves. She reminds us that the dove does bring peace by reminding us to get in touch with the humanity the exists in our own hearts.
by Patty-Lynne Herlevi
May 19, 2006. World Music Central received a notice from thre artist’s record company on May 17: “As of May 17, Michele Dominguez Greene has requested that her new “Luna Roja” CD (APR CD 1095), sent to you within the past several weeks, be withdrawn from all distribution and sales. “