María Concepción Balboa Buika (born 11 May 1972) known as Concha Buika and by the stage name Buika, is a Spanish singer. Her album Niña de Fuego was nominated for the 2008 Latin Grammy Award for Album of the Year and La Noche Más Larga was nominated for Best Latin Jazz Album at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards in 2014.
Concha Buika was born on 11 May 1972, in Palma de Mallorca in Spain. She is the daughter of Equatoguinean parents, the late writer Juan Balboa and Honorina Buika. Her brother Guillermo “Guillem” Balboa was also born in Equatorial Guinea, and he is the alcalde of Alaró, her brother Bore Buika an actor working in various TV series, such as Aída, El Secreto de Puente Viejo and Anclados, and in movies like Palmeras en la nieve, Villaviciosa de al Lado and Señor, dame Paciencia. Armando Buika another of her siblings is also an actor “Stop Over in Hell” movie and TV series ‘Aguila Roja’. Her brother Guillem and her parents were political exiles of their native Equatorial Guinea and arrived in Spain in 1969, three years before Buika’s birth. She lives in Miami, Florida, United States.
Buika is a singer, poet, composer, and music producer. Her music draws on a wide range of influences, from jazz and flamenco to pop, soul and African polyrhythm. She began her career as a drummer and bassist, turning to sing only because “in Spain, nobody wanted a female drummer, and I got tired of hearing no, no, no.” Buika then gained fame singing coplas in Madrid nightclubs in the late 1990s. She has been compared to Nina Simone, Chavela Vargas, Cesaria Evora, Billie Holiday, Edith Piaf, and Amy Winehouse.
In 2000, Buika released her first album Mestizuo (2000, Producciones Blau S.L.). This was followed by Buika (2005, DRO) and a trilogy produced by music producer Javier Limón: Mi Niña Lola (My Girl Lola – 2006, DRO), Niña de Fuego (Girl of Fire – 2008, Warner), which included her first book of poems, and El Ultimo Trago (The Last Sip – 2009, Warner), an anthology album featuring Chucho Valdés, Cuba’s standard-bearing pianist, and songs associated with Chavela Vargas, the Mexican ranchera singer.
Buika’s mostly self-produced seventh album, La Noche Mas Larga (Warner), recorded in New York City and Madrid, came out on June 4, 2013. The album contains five original compositions, including a collaboration with Pat Metheny on Buika’s own composition “No Lo Se,” and her take on the classic songs “La Nave del Olvido,” “Don’t Explain,” “Ne Me Quitte Pas” and “Siboney.”
Buika’s second book of poems, A Los Que Amaron a Mujeres Dificiles y Acabaron por Soltarse (“To those who loved difficult women and ended up letting go”), came out through Edaf (Madrid) in the fall of 2014. She continues to work on producing her first movie based on one of her poems, which is titled “From Solitude to Hell.” Buika is also working on a novel, an opera and an exhibit featuring her photography and her son’s artwork.
In the fall of 2015, her eighth album, Vivir Sin Miedo, was released, the first album containing her own compositions sung in English, Spanish and a mix of the two languages. Vivir Sin Miedo was recorded over four months in Miami, New York, London and Madrid, co-produced with producer Martin Terefe. The first track, also titled “Vivir Sin Miedo,” was released through all digital channels on July 31, 2015. The album contains collaborations, including with Me’shell Ndegeocello and Jason Mraz.
Buika has collaborated with musicians, music producers, DJs and singers in Spanish, Catalan, English, French and Portuguese, with artists such as Seal, Nelly Furtado, Anoushka Shankar, Chick Corea, Pat Metheny, Nitin Sawhney, Charles Aznavour, Jason Mraz, Martin Terefe, Apparatjik, Niño Josele, Mariza, Bebo and Chucho Valdes, Luz Casal, Ivan “Melon” Lewis, “Dizzy” Daniel Moorehead, Jose Luis Perales, Armando Manzanero, and Javier Limon amongst others. In 2019 Buika collaborated with Carlos Santana, performing the single Los Invisibles in Yoruba language.
Buika has also collaborated on the soundtracks of several films. In 2011, director Pedro Almodóvar included two Buika songs–“Por el Amor de Amar” (For love’s sake) and “Seme Hizo Facil” (I found it easy)–in his movie La Piel que Habito (The Skin I Live In). Buika also appeared onscreen for the film.
Buika can be heard in the 2010 Angelina Jolie Shiseido Pasion Commercial.
Buika has performed all over the globe, including the United States, Latin America, Japan, most of Europe, the Balkans, Australia, New Zealand, Turkey, Africa, Argentina, and Mexico in the last 12 months alone. She has sometimes toured with a small ensemble, usually with guitar, bass guitar, trombone and cajón, as featured on the Buika Para Mi World tour 2017, or with a large orchestra with up to 52 orchestra musicians and 4 Jazz musicians ‘Buika Symphonic Experience’ where classical music meets Jazz, encouraging all classical musicians to improvise and creating a fantastic experience to the audience.
The Opera, Day of the Dead was a collaborative performance by Apparatjik, Buika, and Void at Festspillene I Bergen 2016. Through real-time generated audio-, midi- and motion-reactive layered projections, a unique visual narrative accompanied the band’s performance.