Aireene Espiritu – Tribute to Sugar Pie DeSanto
Tribute to Sugar Pie DeSanto
When everything goes right with a tribute album the musician making the recording is elevated along with the honored artist. Philippine-born singer/songwriter Aireene Espiritu, a fixture on the Bay Area folk scene for more than two decades, delivered a brilliant hat tip to an overlooked master with Back Where I Belong (Little Village Music), a project focusing on songs by or associated with Sugar Pie DeSanto, the R&B powerhouse of African-American and Filipino-American descent. Espiritu revisits this potent material, including songs DeSanto performed touring with James Brown in the 1950s, with her stellar band the Itch. Accompanying herself on tenor ukulele, Espiritu sings spirituals, Motown, blues, R&B and even covers several songs associated with Pinoy rock icon Freddie Aguilar, infusing Philippine standards with Oakland soul.