Chameleonic Gecko

Gecko Turner

Gone Down South (Lovemonk LMNK35, 2010)

Spanish soul singer Gecko Turner is back with Gone Down South. On this occasion, the man with the mesmerizing deep voice, who describes his music as soul afromeño, expands his repertory. There are pieces inspired by American soul and funk music from the 1960s and 1970s, flamenco, reggae beats, blues, Tijuana Brass-type arrangements, and the Afro-Cuban song “Cuanta Suerte,” recorded in Madrid, by way of Havana.

I recorded with a couple super cool Cuban musicians there,” Turner explains, “the upright bassist and piano player. It was so easy and nice and rewarding to record with such talented cats. They give a whole other quality to the song.”

And then there is the best track on the album, which is the delightful world music piece ‘Mbira Bira’ that takes you to a dreamy Africa with the trance-like sounds of the mbira (thumb piano) and an African singer.

Being born in Spain, it’s funny that I feel American soul music so deeply,” he chuckles. Turner was born by the Guadiana River that runs through Extremadura, the western Spanish region on the Portuguese border. “I’m a river boy,” he reflects. “I’ve tried to create my own Mississippi atmosphere, with the river that runs through my songs like it runs through the blues.”

Gone Down South” was recorded in Extremadura, Texas (with Tim Gerron), London (with Antonio Feola), Madrid and California (with Sunny Levine) with a line-up that includes Madrid-based Brazilian musician Irapoan Freire with his characteristic trumpet sound and Cuban pianist Javier “Caramelo” Masó.

Gone Down South comes four years since his previous album Chandalismo Ilustrado” was released. During these four years, Gecko Turner has performed throughout the world and has interacted with musicians from various global cultures.

I’m in the deep south, as they call it in the States,” he muses. “I’m not talking about somewhere down in Alabama, say, but the south with all the music styles and cultural richness. That’s where I come from.”

Gecko Turner’s Gone Down South is a soulfully innovative album that evokes elements of Motown era soul, Spanish essences, Cuban beats and the music of southern Africa.

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