Manisero, from Zoho Music, reminds me a lot of my father who passed away in 2020. He loved all types of classical guitar recordings, was a big fan of Rodrigo and John Williams, and in the last few years he realized, through me, that he might have been an audiophile too if given half a chance. I truly enjoyed playing DJ for him during his visits to my home, and I discovered we had much in common. I’ve talked about this before, and I realize I’m saying the same things I said when I reviewed some other Latin guitar recording. It might have been the last time I reviewed a Carlos Barbosa-Lima album.
That album was Delicado. I just pulled up that review and no, that was back in 2019. But that emotional connection has been permanently installed in my head, and that’s why Manisero caught my attention so quickly. This magical album consists of Brazilian guitarist Carlos Barbosa-Lima, fellow guitarist Johannes Tonio Kreusch and occasional piano from Cornelius Claudio Kreusch. It’s a simple and beautiful approach–two acoustic guitar virtuosos playing some of the most familiar Latin classics, everything from Jobim and Villa-Lobos to “Cielito Lindo.”
I’ve mentioned my recent care package from Zoho Music, six CDs that were recently released and sent to me because I mentioned, in my Alexis Cole review, that I hadn’t seen anything from this remarkable and normally prolific label in a while. The two recordings that I noticed first was the Bruckner album I just reviewed–a classical release from Zoho?–and Manisero. My holidays were odd and quiet, marked by the lone wintry blast so far this year. Manisero was a respite, a way to get away from the business of the season and think about everything and nothing.
It surely helps that Zoho spends so much attention to excellent sound quality. For the last few years, I’ve been pushing the idea that Zoho Music, deep down, is an audiophile label that many audiophiles have yet to discover. That’s why it’s hard for me to pick this music apart and critique, because if you love Latin-influenced acoustic guitar recordings, you’re probably already streaming Manisero. As for me, I can only say, “Cheers, Dad, you would have really liked this one.”