Review: Various Artists, Barcelona Zona Bastarda
In previous reviews I’ve raved about Ojos de Brujo’s three albums, “Techari“, “Bari” and “Vengue“. I like the group so much that I began searching for compilations they appear on and came up with this gem. “Barcelona Zona Bastarda” is a two CD compilation of music coming out of the ethnically polyglot, non-glitz, non-tourist, non-official areas of the Spanish port city of Barcelona. If this CD is any indication, the music scene there is incandescent.
There are 35 tracks across the two CDs and every one is done by a different group. The variety of music is extraordinary. There’s touches of funk, flamenco, house, rap, electronica of many types, hip-hop, rock, jazz, Gypsy music, African rhythms, Latin rhythms, American alt-country (!), and more. Almost of all of this is mixed in various combinations with different types of Catalanian music. Songs are sung in Spanish, English, French and I’m guessing Catalan as well as others I don’t recognize.
Barcelona has been an important Mediterranean port city and a cultural melting pot for over 2000 years. They are well practiced in melding diverse cultural influences and that history has established the city with a long and rich tradition in the arts. That tradition is evident on “Barcelona Zona Bastarda”. From track to track styles of music twine, writhe and meld in one enticing concoction after another. The music captured here is especially rich in rhythm with one compelling groove after another. It’s virtually impossible to listen for any amount of time without moving some part of your body in time. Don’t play this one on your headphones at work if they don’t like to see people having a good time on the job.
If you like upbeat, rhythmically compelling music and have ears open enough to hear music outside of the typical American comfort zone check “Barcelona Zona Bastarda” out. There will be songs here you don’t like but there will be many that you do and that you can’t hear anywhere else.
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