The word “one-of-kind” is bandied about way too much in the entertainment industry. But it certainly applies to Alejandra Ribera.
Toronto born with Scottish and Argentinean roots, Ribera is a seductive performer and innovative songwriter.
Although Canada likes to claim her as our own, the cosmopolitan recording artist belongs to no one as witnessed by the release of her sophomore album La Boca.
In it she draws the listener into a world of abandoned satellites, deep-sea landscapes and mythical deities. And in Ribera’s world, the songs are sung with equal ease in English, French and Spanish.
Translated from Spanish, La Boca means “the mouth.” Inspiration for the title song was drawn after reading about bioluminescent creatures living in the Antarctic’s sub-glacier levels.
“I pictured oil drilling and I pictured the creatures hearing the drilling through the sheet ice and being aware that something was about to happen. It’s about openings where certain kinds of light can only be found if you go really deep into the darkness,” said Ribera.
And the darkness was precisely what Ribera was crawling out of after battling a bout of depression. Her marriage ended and an adopted aunt, a close family friend, died of cancer.
One of the best signifiers of Ribera’s underworld journey is the song Goodnight Persephone. But it’s I Want that morphs into her personal anthem for regaining a foothold on life.
In recording La Boca, Ribera spent one year with renowned producer Jean Massicotte laying out the tracks.
“We played and built slowly with lots of space and reflection. We didn’t use any drums. The only percussive elements were sounds we created in the studio with tables, chairs, light fixtures and other available things.”
Ribera is working on a third album, something rich and layered like a film, she says.
“In my next one, the direction of my writing will change. It will be more vulnerable, more open. And it will have the energy of a live off the floor. I want to go into a bubble and make something warm and intimate.”
Ribera, who was visiting Eastern Canada for a short stint is heading to the Arden Theatre on Saturday, Feb. 27, before leaving on a German tour.
Guitarist Jean-Sebastian Williams and bassist FrĂ©derick Dind-Lavoie will provide support at the Arden concert.
“You know when I was little I always wanted to be in Europe. I have to confess, I hate the winters in Canada. It’s too cold.”
Saturday, Feb. 27 at 7:30 p.m.
5 St. Anne Street
Tickets: $32 plus facility fee. Call 780-459-1542 or at ticketmaster.ca