Compact Disc (CD), Vinyl LP
Brazilian cellist and singer-songwriter, Dominique Pinto, has dedicated her life to the cello—an instrument that led her away from her family in Brazil at the age of 13 and later led to a performance whirlwind, playing with Jane Birkin, Jeanne Moreau, and Etienne Daho, and collaborating with Julieta Venegas. For her own records as Dom La Nena, Pinto gives her cello a supporting role, letting her soft, feathery vocals lead the way. On her third full-length, Tempo, Pinto draws on experiences from a childhood spent between Argentina, Brazil, and France, to compose songs with rich instrumentation that accompines her dream-like vignettes about birth, love, fear, death, and the value of time.
Tempo plays like a fairytale. Twinkling piano and guitar lines drift alongside cello on songs that feel enveloped in mystery. The title track opens in the album in a minor key, its fluttering melody meant to evoke the passage of time. It’s an eerie introduction, and it leads directly into “Oiseau Sauvage,” which takes the melancholy and whimsy of French chanson and expands on it with lush harmonies and lyrics in Spanish and French. The song was written during Pinto’s pregnancy, and it explores the mystery, joy, and fear of new life.
The album expands from there, with Pinto incorporating a host of styles into her songs. “No Tengas Miedo” fuses cumbia with tango’s distinctive dramatic cello style; “Valsa” is a klezmer-influenced waltz, and “Quién podrá saberlo,” her collaboration with Mexican artist Julieta Venegas, is sweeping chamber pop. With Tempo, Pinto has created a collection of tracks that cement her place in the Latin American songbook, all of them radiating whimsy and magic.