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Review: Gaby Moreno, 'Ilusión'

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.

Gaby Moreno, <em>Ilusión</em>.
/ Courtesy of the artist
Courtesy of the artist
Gaby Moreno, Ilusión.

Gaby Moreno's Ilusión represents a high-water mark in a musical career that's never been predictable. It's one of the strongest statements I've heard from a musician who ignores boundaries and genre classifications to create a sound greater than the sum of its parts.

Moreno's own descriptor, "Spanglish folk-soul," is as close to definitive as we're going to get, and yet it barely scratches the surface. The singer-songwriter infuses Ilusión with equal splashes of soul, country-inspired rock 'n' roll and Latin Alternative sounds, and she puts her best foot forward with lyrics that touch on love, the immigrant experience and violence against women around the world.

It's beyond exciting to hear an ascending artist reach that space where all her potential has finally come together. It all adds up to a statement that sets a bold course for a musical vision with no limitations.

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Felix Contreras is co-creator and host of Alt.Latino, NPR's pioneering radio show and podcast celebrating Latin music and culture since 2010.