Wilfran Castillo: Desigual

November 9, 2015

castillo2A Composer’s Voice

Listening Post 20. For two decades, Wilfran Castillo has been the preferred composer for many of Latin America’s most popular singers. With Desigual (Unequal), the Colombian musician demonstrates that he can not only write songs that trip well from the lips of other artists, but also blend his own tenor superbly with their voices—whether those voices soar or quaver. A mix of romantic ballads and social commentary, the album’s nine duets and four solos cover a musical spectrum from vallenato and Latin pop to merengue and ranchero. In Don Manuel, Castillo partners with the Cuban singer Amaury Gutiérrez in relating a common tragedy: a man trades his rustic life for the poverty of Bogotá, coming to his end while crossing a busy highway (video 1). In the plaintive Como Duele el Frio (So Cold It Hurts), performed with Pasabordo, a jilted lover imagines turning the tables: “I would say it doesn’t hurt, and feel guilty for your tears… I want you to love me madly, and know the worst of my fears” (video 2). Amid the string of compelling torch songs and cautionary tales, another standout is Sapos y Cigarras (Toads and Cicadas, video 3), with touching lyrics about a departed father who answers a prayer by sending a serenade through the sounds of nature; it’s one of 13 examples of a singing composer without equal. (Sony Music Entertainment S.A.)





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