Recordings Solo Orchestra
Salsa Roja
[ CD Album ]

Since her emergence on the classical guitar scene several years ago Paraguayan guitarist Berta Rojas must by now have gathered thousands of musical admirers around the world; her instinctive musicianship and technical expertise allows her to instil excellence into everything she chooses to play. This latest album release focuses upon sounds inspired by the music from Costa Rica, Mexico, Argentina and the U.K. The album begins with a very special track composed by Costa Rican composer Edin Solis. The "special" refers not so much to the actual composition – which in itself is most enjoyable – but rather to the extraordinary guests who take part with Rojas in this performance. She is backed by the "Recycled Instruments Orchestra of Cateura" (also known as the "Landfill Harmonic"); this unique orchestra conducted by Edin Solis is comprised of impoverished children and young men and women who have constructed their instruments – violins, cellos, saxophones, percussion, etc. – from recyclable material gathered by their parents from sifting through trash heaps. The resulting sound they produce is remarkable in the extreme and this first track is one which I found myself returning to time and again. In its relatively brief lifespan, Street of the wind, by the same composer, is one of the most memorable on this programme, its nostalgic mood and sorrowfulness would surely emotionally "move" anyone listening to this lovely piece of writing. Vincent Lindsey-Clark's contribution to this programme is a four-movement suite written at the request of Berta Rojas who asked for a collection of pieces of Latin American influence. These fit the bill exactly and it is a tribute to Lindsey-Clark's talent that they sound as if they originated from a composer from the Americas. In the midst of all the gaiety and rhythmic high spirits gushing forth from three of the movements there is an exquisitely delicate and emotive piece titled The Flight of the Butterfly, a work which could easily become a celebrated stand-alone piece; such beautiful writing from highly talented composer. The main body of work in this programme is given over to the music of Mexican composer Julio Cesar Oliva. Here is someone who has written over 200 compositions with the majority being for the guitar. His is the music of romanticism and impressionism in a contemporary idiom. The works on this programme are all of outstanding stature, full of lovely melodies, lush harmonies and inventiveness all evoking the romantic side of music. Argentinian composer and guitarist Quique Sinesi's exuberant and optimistic Endless Dance fittingly concludes this programme of beautiful music. All is performed to perfection by an artist who seemingly takes everything in her stride. This is not an album of rapid, fantastic pyrotechnics around the fingerboard, rather, it is one of those which makes one really appreciate what true music making is all about. One runs out of superlatives when writing about Berta Rojas, it has all been said before, countless times. Highly recommended.

Steve Marsh
Classical Guitar Magazine
[ England ]