Vocalist Eleanor Dubinsky is slowly, but steadily, building a body of work that consists of elegant and thoughtful songwriting that slides easily between genres and geography through top-notch musicianship, all in service to a voice that stopped me in my tracks when I first heard it. Her new album, Soft Spot Of My Heart, is her strongest work yet.
Dubinsky's journey is similar to that of so many songwriters — the story of finding a voice to match the music she hears in her head. In her case, that means the songs arrive in either English, Spanish or Portuguese. She lets them determine which language is best suited to express the emotion within.
Dubinsky is a vocalist, cellist, guitar player, songwriter and an intrepid musical explorer, yes — but what she is not is from Latin America or of Latin American heritage. Still, her approach to writing in Spanish, as well as her affinity for Latin music and rhythms, come from a place of respect, aided by musicians from various parts of the Spanish-speaking world, organic and true to a sensibility consistent with the best folk music of Latin America. It proves there is plenty of room under the umbrella we call Latin music to accommodate those who did not have the benefit of a birthright to contribute and, at times, expand the traditions.
But don't take my word for it. Tune in to the conversation below to hear her explain it.