NPR Music: Alt Latino
By: Felix Contreras
April 3, 2018
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.
CD Baby/ DIY Musician
By Brad Bush/ April 4, 2018
Eleanor Dubinsky didn’t start creating her new album Soft Spot of My Heart with a particular genre in mind. Why would she? Her recordings thus far have deftly defied easy categorization, due not only to the deeply varied international influences she draws upon, but also her ability to seamlessly compose and perform lyrics in English, French, and Spanish. In fact, whatever rough sketches Dubinsky envisioned when this years-long journey began were quickly rendered obsolete: it was the musicians she met along the way that truly gave her new record its life, love, and ultimate direction. You can see and feel those connections being forged in this short video she released late last year, which not only offers a preview of the upcoming album, but also shows the creative process and the intimate bonds formed by musical collaboration, even across languages.
How Eleanor Dubinsky spans genres, crosses borders, and communicates it all through video(s).
Eleanor Dubinsky didn’t start creating her new album Soft Spot of My Heart with a particular genre in mind. Why would she? Her recordings thus far have deftly defied easy categorization, due not only to the deeply varied international influences she draws upon, but also her ability to seamlessly compose and perform lyrics in English, French, and Spanish. In fact, whatever rough sketches Dubinsky envisioned when this years-long journey began were quickly rendered obsolete: it was the musicians she met along the way that truly gave her new record its life, love, and ultimate direction. You can see and feel those connections being forged in this short video she released late last year, which not only offers a preview of the upcoming album, but also shows the creative process and the intimate bonds formed by musical collaboration, even across languages. “I’ve had a lot of life experience with a lot of people from a lot of places…after a certain point the borders fall away and the people are what emerges,” she says in the video, once again acknowledging the inimitable power of meeting and working with new musicians, all of whom lend their own talent and influence to a project that stands alone, its individual elements combining to form music that is, once again, beautifully hard to categorize. It speaks for itself, in many languages.
Soft Spot Of My Heart Album Review by Angel Romero, March 30, 2018
American composer, songwriter and vocalist Eleanor Dubinsky uses various musical genres to express her finely-crafted songs. She has a delightful, engaging vocal style and her lyrics transmit her concern for the marginalized, longing and understanding of human beings from diverse cultures.
On Soft Spot of My Heart you’ll find a captivating collection of songs that incorporate jazz, gospel, soul, Americana, pop and world music elements.
The album was recorded in Portugal and New York City, which allowed Dubinsky to collaborate with a group of artists representing different musical genres and nationalities, including musicians from New York, Brazil, Cape Verde, and Portugal.
Eleanor Dubinsky spent several years abroad in Europe, Argentina and Mexico, where she learned French and Spanish. She writes her songs in English, French and Spanish. Meanwhile, she was exposed to Cape Verdean and Angolan music. Portuguese-Cape Verdean singer Sara Tavares became a major influence. Eleanor Dubinsky met of the musicians Tavares works with frequently. Three of these talented musicians, bassist Rolando Semedo, percussionist Miroca Paris, and drummer Ivo Costa appear on Soft Spot.
Dubinsky sings in Spanish on two songs. “El sabor de la vida,” includes a fascinating mix of world percussion, soulful vocals and gospel. “Cuando voy a mi trabajo” features vocals in three languages and is the most world music-oriented track featuring global rhythms, great bass lines and acoustic guitars.
There’s a great blues-infused climactic song titled “I Let Go,” in which Dubinsky adds cello, which is one of the instruments close to her heart.
By George W. Harris, March 26, 2018
Female vocalist displaying charm and flexibility…
Not only does Eleanor Dubinsky sing on this album with Rolando Semedo/bass, Frank Ponzio/piano, Wesley Amorim/guitar, Ivo Costa/drums and Miroca Paris/percussion, but she composes the wide ranging selection of tunes. Her voice has a folksy casualness to it, being confessional with Ponzio on “Free Again” and comfortingly poppish on “Turn It Around.” Sarah Abigael Stone’s cello adds drama to Dubinsky’s vocal climax on “I Let Go” whereas the nylon strings add droplets of dew on the tensile “Wait For You.” Some international lyrics as she gets Spanish on “El Sabor De La Vida” and Iberian for “Cuando Voy A Mi Trabajo” displaying a calm and assuring charm all throughout this alluring session.
March 9, 2018
Soft Spot Of My Heart is a cerebral, thought-provoking and enchanting album that has the capacity to captivate. It is full of melodic and memorable music which Eleanor Dubinsky delivers against a series of carefully crafted and polished arrangements...poignant, powerful and thought-provoking.
James A.Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Soft Spot of My Heart- Music album
Soft Spot of My Heart is an emotional, Lisbon-inspired music album by jazz songwriter Eleanor Dubinsky. The original songs reflect on the difficulties and the delicate balance of human relationships, from friendships to family bonds to love. Soft Spot of My Heart is sweeping, inspirational, and rapturous to experience, highly recommended especially for connoisseurs of the genre. The tracks are "Turn It Around", "Soft Spot Of My Heart", "Wind Won't Knock It Down", "Wait For You", "Free Again", "El Sabor De La Vida", "Morning Song", "I Let Go", "Cuando Voy A Mi Trabajo", and "You Are Special, You Are Beautiful".
PONLE NOTAS – Eleanor Dubinsky es una cantante y multiinstrumentista estadounidense que creció en St. Louis, Missouri, que se maneja como pez en el agua entre el jazz, el pop y las músicas del mundo, y que se mueve con naturalidad entre el inglés, francés, checo, español y portugués. Antes de esta producción “Soft Spot Of My Heart”, ya puso en el mercado “Touch The Sky” (en 2011) y “Listen To The Music” (en 2012), además de colaborar en otros proyectos como “Sugar On My Mind” junto a Erik Lawrence y Charlie Burnham. Según ella misma confiesa, una de las mayores influencias fue la de la artista caboverdiana Sara Tavares. Soft Spot of My Heart sale a la venta a finales de este mes de marzo.
ELEANOR DUBINSKY/Soft Spot of My Heart: So who ever talks about New York/Portugal mash ups? The heart wants what it wants and Dubinsky's heart wants some Portugal in it. Jazz takes a new tangent as this vocalist with touchy feely lyrics points the armchair traveler in a new direction. Fun stuff that passes the time in breezy fashion with style.
This next one goes out to anyone feeling down on their luck, helpless to upend a downward trend. It’s “Turn It Around,” an uplifting sonic movement from singer, songwriter, and confidence cultivator Eleanor Dubinsky.
First taste of her upcoming album Soft Spot Of My Heart, the gospel-tinged jazz piece was written with one specific message in mind, take the initiative to mend what’s broken. She says of the track:
It’s about taking the first step to make things better when you feel down and out. Remembering to look up from your mess can be hard, but once you do, you often find a change and a new way outside of your own head.
That mantra reverberates through a coalescence of piano, tempered brass, pronounced percussion, and an effervescent outpouring of vocal optimism. And you can’t forget about the contribution from Brooklyn-based gospel ensemble Greg Stamper & Soul21 that gives the song a fuller, more conscious feel.
A cut that can only warm your spirits, stream below and spread some of your own social love.