Tuned In To Music

Reflections from a lifetime

Review: Various Artists, Flamenco Nuevo

“Flamenco Nuevo” is a compilation disc from Rough Guides, the people who publish travel guides, that collects music that is based, more or less, on traditional flamenco.  I am just flamenco nuevobeginning to learn about flamenco and can’t comment on the extent to which these tracks stray from what is considered classic or accepted among traditionalists in the genre. 

I was drawn to “Flamenco Nuevo” because it includes a track, “Ventilaor R-80”, by Ojos de Brujo, a band I very much enjoy.  (“Ventilaor R-80” appears on Ojos de Brujo’s second album, ““Bari” .)  As an attempt to find other bands that are playing music like Ojos de Brujo “Flamenco Nuevo” was a disappointment in that I didn’t find anything on it that is as exciting in it’s blend of flamenco with other forms of music, both traditional and contemporary, as the music of Ojos de Brujo.  On the other hand, there is some interesting music here.  Rodrigo y Gabriela, an acoustic guitar duo, deliver a blistering live version of “Floc” (“Fire” in Catalanese) that is a master class in fast, precise, powerful guitar work.  Son de la Frontera’s “Buleria Negra Del Gastor” is an uptempo and exciting guitar, vocal and primarily palmas (handclaps) workout.  The Gitano Family’s “El Coco” is a lilting ballad that I’m finding I enjoy more every time I hear it. 

Most of the tracks on “Flamenco Nuevo” sound to me like they are changing the form more in the direction of traditional acoustic influences than contemporary electric or electronic ones.  A number of the tracks stress vocals and flamenco vocals often are microtonal, which means that they rely on pitches between the pitches of  the twelve-tone scale familiar to listeners of Western music.  Think of the sound of the ululating vocals that can be heard in some forms of Middle Eastern music.  This can take some getting used to for a Western listener.  The two tracks on the CD, Solar Sides’  “El Duende Organico” and Mystic Diversions’ “Beneath Another Sky” that are categorized in the booklet blurb with Ojos de Brujo as adding “novel contemporary elements” are pretty much light and not very interesting Ibizia-type soft dance treatments.

While I found a couple of interesting tracks and bands to look into further I think that I am unfamiliar enough with flamenco to see how most of the songs on “Flamenco Nuevo” might be of interest to someone familiar with the genre.  If you’re looking for more in the Ojos de Brujo vein, you won’t find it here.


08/08/2007 - Posted by | CD reviews, music, music reviews

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