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MP3 Ana Laan - Chocolate and Roses

Joyous Latin-Baltic alternative songstress sings of love and loss in English, Spanish, French and Swedish, artfully combining acoustic, traditional sounds with crisp electronica.

13 MP3 Songs
LATIN: General, ELECTRONIC: Lounge

Show all album songs: Chocolate and Roses Songs

I was born in Madrid, but grew up in Stockholm, Sweden, in a trilingual home (English, Spanish and Swedish). In my teens I moved to England and from there to Spain, where after studying English Literature and Language at University, I moved on to a musical career, recording and touring with a wide range of Spanish-speaking artists, among others, Javier Álvarez, Sergio Dalma, Jorge Drexler, Diego Vasallo, Christina Rosenvinge and David Broza.
I also recorded two CDs under the pseudonym Rita Calypso for Spanish indie label Siesta, working closely with producer Ramón Leal. With Siesta I participated in other projects, among others, girly-pop duo Magic Whispers. Rita was quite a success in the indie scene, and her first CD, "Apocalypso", was awarded a 4-star rating in Spanish newspaper El País, and a rave review in British Mojo.

However, much as I love my collaborations with other artists and my work for Siesta, my heart has always lain in my own solo project. In my first solo release, "Orégano", I recorded my songs with the help of wonderful musicians like Juan Campodónico and Luciano Supervielle (Bajofondo Tango Club), Jorge Drexler (winner of an Oscar for his song in the film Motorcycle Diaries, where incidentally the backing vocals are all my own!), and coproduced with Leo Sidran. The album was released in 2004 in the US and 2005 in Argentina, and enjoyed excellent reviews in both countries. Subsequently, I performed in New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Buenos Aires, and was a featured showcase artist at the 2005 LAMC in New York.

In December 2004, the Chicago Tribune included Orégano in its list of the year''s 10 best Latin albums. Ernesto Lechner wrote: “Aside from the intriguing electronic pop of Ana Laan, the year in Latin music was marked by the absence of any exciting new voices... Laan''s sultry electronic pop could very much turn her into the Hispanic version of Bjork. The title track, a bittersweet vignette describing the quiet frustration of a housewife on the verge of a nervous breakdown, is probably the most poignant Latin song of the year.”

"Para el dolor", the second track on "Orégano", was featured on the Putumayo "Music from the Wine Lands" compilation. I also won the 2006 Independent Music Award for Best Latin Album for "Orégano¨.

I spent the summer of 2006 in New York recording my sophomore album, Chocolate and Roses, also co-produced with Leo Sidran. Although in this CD I remain faithful to my Latin roots, I have gone out on a bit of a limb as a songwriter, with a larger portion of songs in English, and even a couple of bilingual tracks, along with a smattering of French and a traditional Swedish folksong. Here are some reviews from the US press:

"The electronic pop of Spain''s Ana Laan can come across like the Latin sister of Thom Yorke''s Eraser" (Austin Powell, The Austin Chronicle).

"Swedish-American-Spanish Ana Laan is one of alternative folk music''s best kept secrets. She blew us away during LAMC 2005 and we''ve been dying to see more of her (she played at SXSW in Austin in March but we couldn''t make it to the show!!). Why is she so amazing? Multi-culti singer songwriter, she plays subtle songs, creatively using electronic loops of her own voice and chants, very original". (NYRemezcla)

"On her forthcoming second album, Chocolate and Roses, this Madrid-based singer-songwriter slinks into and out of various styles, moods, and languages whenever the fancy strikes her. Aided by producer Leo Sidran, she manipulates samples of her own voice to craft elegant yet playful arrangements that give her catchy tunes a lighter-than-air grace, putting a blissful, slightly careless gloss on tales of leaving a marriage in midlife and finding new romance. Her shy charm and use of electronics remind me of Juana Molina, but at heart Laan is relatively traditional, both in her slightly loungey melodies and in her more direct subject matter. Whatever language she sings in—Spanish, English, French, Swedish—she conveys a genuine sense of tasting long-denied pleasure". (Peter Margasak, The Chicago Reader).

I showcased this album at SXSW, as part of the KUT-sponsored World music stage, and then toured the US in August, performing, among others, at Joe''s Pub, New York.

I am currently working on the release of the CD in Spain and Japan in February, and in Argentina in the spring of 2008.
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