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Spanish Flamenco Music is Alive

Updated on May 7, 2015

Flamenco Music in Spain Now

When you're living in Southern Spain, Flamenco is a style of music you can listen to everyday on the radio. For e.g. on the Canal Fiesta Radio Station, a radio station that a lot of people here are tuned to. Living here is the best way to stay in touch with what's happening in the passionate and fascinating Flamenco world. I would like to share that passion here with you giving here some reviews of Flamenco CDs I like. When I find a nice video on it, I'll put it in the Video section. I will also add links to flamenco CDs that are available on Amazon, so you can always listen to hear what it sounds like. Flamenco music has got a lot of history, but I won't make any difference between "old" and "new" to keep it simple. So there will be Camaron, La Niña de las Peines, Ojos de Brujo, Chambao, Pitingo, Buika, Manolo Caracol, just to prove that flamenco is of all times.

Enjoy this great music from Spain.

Calle Bulerías (the street of the 'bulerias', a flamenco style)
Calle Bulerías (the street of the 'bulerias', a flamenco style)
album 'La Leyenda del Tiempo' by Camarón
album 'La Leyenda del Tiempo' by Camarón

Flamenco legend Camaron

La Leyenda del Tiempo by Camarón

The album La Leyenda del Tiempo (the legend of time) is called a "before" and "after" album. Released in 1979 it is seen as recording that changed flamenco as it was before that time, so just like the man Camarón de la Isla this album has become a legend. Some call it the "Sgt. Pepper's of Camarón". Yet there are a lot of people who haven't even heard of this man, or who don't know why he's been so popular.

José Monge Cruz alias Camarón De La Isla

José Monge Cruz died at the age of 41, 2nd of July 1992, a thousand kilometers away from where he was born: San Fernando in the province of Cádiz on the 5th of December 1950. His funeral was an incredible chaotic event. A huge crowd was shouting, crying, pushing to get close to the body. A myth was born.

He was indeed a great Spanish, flamenco singer, you could understand his art without any extra information just like John Coltrane with jazz or Bob Marley with reggae. He sung right from his heart and was able to express the desolation of a nation all by himself.

The album La Leyenda del Tiempo

The album La Leyenda del Tiempo contains 10 tracks and basically is an album that was dedicated to the poet Federico Garcia Lorca. The songs are based on some of his poems and quite a big part of the lyrics are literally taken from these poems.

In the time it was released it was a really controversial album and the old classic gypsies refused to buy it or even brought it back to the record store after buying it saying this was not flamenco, this wasn't Camarón de La Isla. And in fact it wasn't, Camarón de la Isla named himself only "Camarón" since that album.

La Leyenda del Tiempo is also the first album of Camarón where he is accompanied by "Tomatito" . Before that he always recorded and performed with Paco de Lucia, about ten years.

The album starts with the breathtaking title track "La Leyenda del Tiempo". A "bambera" a kind of "swing" song as it also called (cante del columpio) and that originates from the Sevilla region. Starting with the handclapping and the guitar, than at once there's something unusual is happening: the keyboards of Manolo Marinelly and the electric bass played by Manolo Rosa introduce the drums of Antonio Moreno "El Tacita". Using electric instruments and drums in flamenco forbidden by the purists, so there goes Camarón singing the song about the dream of the time "sueño del tiempo".

This song is still a favorite of many flamenco lovers especially because of the lyrics:

El sueño va sobre el tiempo

flotando como un velero.

Nadie puede abrir semillas

en el corazón del sueño.

hundido hasta los cabellos.

Ayer y mañana comen

oscuras flores de duelo.

* La Leyenda del Tiempo is followed by "Romance del Amargo" in buleria por soleá¡ style. This is the most pure flamenco style that exists and here we hear for the first time the new artistic flamenco couple: Camarón and Tomatito. They also do the next song, a buleria, "Homenaje a Federico", a tribute to Federico Garcia Lorca. When you think the song has ended, the sound of the drumset alone can be heard. Only this was very unusual for that time too.

* With Tomatito and the dancer Manolo Soler Camarón continues his recital with his personal version of cantiñas de Pinini with the song "Mi niña se fue a la mar. These cantiñas de Pinini are original song from the region of Cádiz where Camarón was born.

* Electric guitar,bass, drums, percussion and keyboards are the instruments that can be heard on "La Tarara". Because of this this flamenco music was called progressive. This was the kind of music that made it possible to start the so called rock gitano with bands like for e.g. Pata Negra.

* A top song from the album La Leyenda del Tiempo that is on a lot of other flamenco and Camarón compilations is the next "Volando Voy", a philosophical statement of the gipsy lifestyle:

Volando voy, volando vengo.

Por el camino

yo me entretengo.

Enamorao de la vida

aunque a veces duela...

* A beautiful rumba flavoured by expert musicians like Pepe Ébano or Tito Duarte on guitar, bass played by Raimundo Amador, Jorge Pardo on flute, Manolo Rosa on bass and electric guitar by Pepe Roca.

* "Bahía de Cádiz" is a song in alegrí­as style that is following exactly the dance structure respecting the silence and "la escobilla" (sliding movement with the foot). The foot percussion part is simulated with the drums and again electric bas, moog and on the front of the soundstage the guitar of Tomatito.

* "Viejo mundo" (old world) is a bulerí­a with Tomatito and Raimundo Amador on the guitars and the bass played by Manolo Rosas. "Los Tangos de la sultana" are as the title says "tangos" one of the many "palos" (musical structures in flamenco music) that has nothing in common with the Argentinian tango. Again a basic style of flamenco on this Leyenda del Tiempo album.

* The album ends with a "nana", a lullaby or soothing song called "Nana del caballo grande" (lullaby of the big horse). Camarón is singing almost completely alone, only a little bit of sitar and keyboards are added.

Conclusion

The album is elementary for those who want to start a flamenco collection and it gives the ability to hear a lot of different styles on one album, with of course one of the greatest voices in flamenco ever: ¡Camarón!

Flamenco from the Golden Age of Flamenco

La Niña De Los Peines

Pastora Pavón Cruz, "La niña de los peines", was born in 1890 amid a gipsy family. Her brothers Tomá´s and Arturo Pavón were also singers. She began singing in the bars of her neighbourhood. At the age of eleven she was signed up to perform in Madrid in the famous "Café del Brillante". There's a rumour that she didn't have the right dress for the event and she had to wear her first communion dress. The owner of the Café heard that and looked after a more appropriate dress for her performance. She got her nickname "Niña de los Peines" (the girl of the combs) because of a song she was singing in Madrid, a "tiento tangos" ( a slow type of tango flamenco) with the words : "Péinate tú con mis peines que mis peines son de azúcar" (Comb yourself with my comb, as it is made of sugar). The audience clapped their hands and adopted her with this artistic name for always.

Which Flamenco styles could La Niña de los Peines sing?

Pastora Pavón was a versatile artist along her entire career, she had personality, could sing all the flamenco style, the "palo" "bulerias" being her favorite. She also sang "peteneras", "banderas" and "lorquianas" at such a high level that nobody in her epoch could surmount. She was one of the pioneers in recording slate records about the year 1910, together with other important figures of the time such as Don Antonio Chacón, Juan Breva and Manuel Torres.

Reina del Cante Flamenco, The Queen of Flamenco singing

Her discography was very wide, recording about eighty records, with a total of more than 350 traditional songs. She recorded with the most prestigious guitarists of that epoch, Ramón Montoya, Luis Molina, "Manolo de Badajoz", "Niño Ricardo", "Melchor de Marchena", Antonio Moreno and many others. She got married with Pepe Pinto and they formed an exemplar couple not only as personalities but also in the art of flamenco. In the press she was called "Reina del Cante Flamenco" (Queen of the Flamenco Song)

For many years they made tours all over Spain, performing with Antonio Chacón and Manuel Torres who were artists of the same level.

La Niña de los Peines was an intimate friend of Manuel de Falla and Garcia Lorca. The latter accompanied her on several occasions with his piano. She was also friend of the painter Julio Romero de Torres, who reflected her in one of his paintings. Fernando de Triana told about her that she was the best "festera" ever known, only imitated in her "cantes" by Manuel Vallejo.

In 1968 a statue was erected in her honour in the Alameda de Hercules of Seville. She suffered a long illness and mental derangement and had a serious arterioesclerosis that put an end to her life on november 26th 1969.The "faraona" of the "cante por fiestas" passed away and it will be very difficult to equal her.

Listening to the restored recordings from the slate records of the years 1920-1950 it is possible to get a better idea of what is supposed to be traditional flamenco. The voice of La Niña de los Peines is amazing and it is no wonder she was invited to perform at the so called "Opera Flamenca" of that time. The recordings also give the opportunity to hear great guitar maestros of that time like Niño Ricardo, Melchor de Marchena and Manolo Badajoz.

The Junta de Andalucí­a (regional authority) has declared her discography of cultural interest and an Award with her name has been given to Fosforito and Paco de Lucia.

Awesome Spanish Vocal Sensation

Niña de Fuego by Buika

Since Concha Buika's album Mi Niña Lola came out , now they call her simply Buika. In Spain she's a real sensation. The album Niña de Fuego has only confirmed her incredible talent. She was born in Mallorca, daughter of a political exile from Equatorial Guinea, a former Spanish colony in Africa. She grew up there between poor gypsies in the neighbourhood were her family lived and there was no one else there of African origin.

Her mother had a large collection of jazz records and at home they sang African tunes. She started singing in clubs on Mallorca and Ibiza and later she sang in casinos in Las Vegas as a Tina Turner look alike.

With her striking voice Buika impresses with a mix of flamenco, soul, funk and jazz. She certainly is one of the big revelations in music of the last years. Buika undresses herself on Niña de Fuego, she is leaving us and herself alone with only the emotions. In her songs she is drinking the emotions. Love songs and above all songs about the lack of love.

Niña de Fuego is an album produced by Javier Limon (known from Lagrimas Negras with Bebo Valdes and Diego el Cigala) with a beautiful overall sound. On this third album Concha Buika is singing coplas like La Falsa Moneda, which are typical Spanish emotional songs about lost love and passion. Bittersweet songs in a way it has never been done.

Her interpretation is so emotional that sometimes it seems she is crying or shouting. The vocals on Niña de Fuego are awesome. Listen to Volver Volver, a ranchera, which is a mexican song type, but it doesn't need mariachi on it. Mienteme bien, again is a ranchera, but how, what a version!

The Spanish flamenco guitar is present on tracks like Arboles de Agua and No Habra Nadie en el Mundo. La Niebla is written by David Trueba with music by Buika, a true jazz track. Mentirosa is a rumba about lying in a love relationship. Buika wrote it during a night without sleeping in Tokio. On percussion Cuban super drummer Horacio "El Negro".

Tracklist:

1. La falsa moneda

2. Culpa mí­a

3. Miénteme bien

4. La niña de fuego

5. Árboles de agua

6. La niebla

7. No habrá nadie en el mundo

8. Volver, volver

9. Volverás

10. Mentirosa

11. Hay en la luz

Listen to the Soul of Flamenco....

patriarcas de la rumba
patriarcas de la rumba

The Godfathers of the Rumba

Vuelven como Fieras by Patriarcas de la Rumba

Who are Patriarcas de la Rumba?

Patriarcas de La Rumba are the Buena Vista Social Club from Spanish gypsies hailing from the North of Spain where the "Rumba Catalana" originates. The men are called Patriarcas, patriarchs in the sense of paterfamilias. All between 60 and 75 years of age there is of course this similarity with the Buena Vista Social Club from Cuba that became so popular about ten years ago. Another similarity is the rhythm of the rumba, originally from Southern America but imported again by the gypsies from Northern Spain, especially in the Barcelona area, hence the name rumba catalana.

What the Patriarcas de la Rumba do is play and sing the rumbas of the old times, sometimes more than 50 years ago, only known by the catalan gypsies. The sound they produce is authentic , it's all guitars, percussion, bass, vocals and especially the "palmas" the handclapping.The ritmo de ventilador, the ventilator rhythm is the base of a lot of songs and refers to the fast moving of the hand, like a spinning ventilator, on the guitar strings.

"Young" Bands like Ojos de Brujo, Gertrudis and La Troba Kung Fu...are picking up this style again with a lot of success.

Vuelven Como Fieras, meaning they come back like wild animals gives a bit of an idea what to expect from these men who all are legends already. Their names or better nicknames are Tio Toni,Tio Palo, Tio Pepe El Chino, Tio Rafael and Tio Joanet. Some of them never sung as professionals, only on weddings and parties. Others were guitar players or "palmeros", musicians doing the handclapping for Peret, La Camboria or El Chacho. Perhaps the most famous name here is Peret, who still is seen as the King of the Rumba (Catalana).

The Rumba Catalana developed in the fifties and it is supposed to come from the Calle de La Cera in Barcelona. If Peret is the King of the Rumba, we could say Tio Toni is the Sammy Davis Jr of the style and when you see him there is no other way to describe him better than an old fashioned dandy.

Rumba Catalana is dance music to and it was developed to perfection by El Gato Perez, an musician from Argentina who was inspired by this music of the gypsy community from Barcelona.

The CD Vuelven Come Fieras

The album Vuelven Como Fieras comprises 11 tracks and right from the first track it is clear this is a CD for parties. "La Fiesta" is the introduction to a great party coming up. Let's go to the party and dance. Right from the beginning the "ventilaor" is already spinning.A great rumba party with a lot of salsa.

The album track Pueblo is a song about a small village (un pueblo). Barking dogs and a horse neighing are the introduction to this little story of the small village where there are only dogs(perros), horses(caballos), goats(cabras) and cows(vacas), so the singer complains.All he wants is a girl to dance with, hey!

"El Reloj", the Watch is starting with an intro like a Cuban countryside song, but again soon it evolves into a rumba catalana with a lot of Cuban influences especially in the female vocals chorus. Listen to the nice guitar rhythm breaks and the Cuban tres guitar with its nice metallic sound over the complete sound.

The fourth track is a ballad "Grande" so we can take a break and dance a slow on this emotional song accompanied by the piano and violin.

"El Parrandero" sets off in high speed tempo with a nice flute melody, superb tres guitar and the choir singing as if they're in a salsa band.

"Hermandad" means brotherhood, and that's exactly what this song is about. As the rumba is a very popular style in Cuba it is obvious that Cubans these wild man from Catalunia. "Hermandad Cubana, Hermandad gitana, son un mismo pueblo una misma alma" meaning Cuban or Gypsy brotherhood, they're the same people with the same soul.

The seventh song from the Vuelven Como Fieras album is about a jealous women and the singer is warning us "No la dejes entrar", Don't let her in because she want to kill you (ella te quiere matar).

Cai Kai, Quitate de ahi, Sera porque te amo and El Calambre continue the never stopping ventilador rhythm to party till the end. No doubt, this is a party CD. So dance and clap your hands and enjoy the revival of the good old rumba catalana.

Vuelven Como Fieras is the second album from Patriarcas de la Rumba and was released in 2008.

Track list of Vuelven Como Fieras by Patriarcas de la Rumba

1. La fiesta

2. Pueblo

3. El Reloj

4. Grande

5. El Parrandero

6. Hermandad

7. No la dejes Entrar

8. CaiKai

9. Quitate de ahi

10. Sera porque te amo

11. El Calambre

Great Stuff on Amazon

La Niña de los Peines, Año 1930-40
La Niña de los Peines, Año 1930-40

The very best of the Golden Age of Flamenco. If you really want to know how "classic" flamenco sounds, don't look any further. For the male voices, check out Manolo Caracol for e.g.

 
Bari
Bari

Ojos de Brujo from Barcelona is a band that has really understood the spirit of Flamenco. If you have the opportunity to see them live, don't hesitate, they are really a great live band.

 
Zyryab (Instrumental)
Zyryab (Instrumental)

A wonderful melodic album from the great flamenco guitar player showing his incredible talent and a tribute to the great Zyryab and the Arab legacy in music.

 
Vuelven Como Fieras
Vuelven Como Fieras

Age doesn't mean you can't swing in rumba style, listen to these veterans of the Rumba Catalana!

 
CD Zyryab by Paco de Lucia
CD Zyryab by Paco de Lucia

Guitar God Paco de Lucia

Zyryab by Paco de Lucia

Zyryab is one of Paco de Lucia’s best compositions, it is the track the album from 1990 is named after. And Zyryab was the nickname of the the musician Abu Ali al Hasan ibn Nafi who lived between 789 and 857 and who was very important for the development of the traditional Arab music on the Iberian Peninsula in that time.

Zyryab was born in Baghdad and came to Spain through Algeciras centuries before flamenco was there. Some people say it is no coincidence Paco de Lucia comes from Algeciras too and believe he is the reincarnation of Zyryab “the black bird”.

On the CD the song is 6 minutes 14 and there is a live version on the album Paco de Lucia & Sextet Live in America of 12 minutes 53.

A live version can be seen on the documentary DVD “Francisco Sanchez”, the real name of Paco, where he is accompanied by the excellent Juan Manuel Cañizares and José María Bandera.

The album Zyryab is recorded with great musicians from the flamenco world Manolo Sanlúcar, Carles Benavent, Jorge Pardo, Rubem Dantas, Ramón de Algeciras, Pepe de Lucía and the young El Potito with his high pitched voice singing on Soniquete and Playa del Carmen.On the other hand there is Chick Corea, a great jazz musician and friend of Paco who’s adding the jazzy flavour to this recording on the third track Chick, on Canción de Amor the main theme from the movie Montoyas y Tarantos, on the title track Zyryab and on Almonte a flamenco style called Fandangos de Huelva.

Guitars are the main element in Compadres, two flamenco guitars of course, bulerías played by Manolo de Sanlúcar and with the palmas, the handclapping as only accompaniment. Counterpoints between Manolo and Paco all the time and great harmonic musicality. And finally there is also a tribute to another great guitar legend Sabicas with the second track Tío Sabas, por Tarantas.

Tracklist:

1. Soniquete. Bulerías

2. Tía Sabas. Tarantas.

3. Chick.

4. Compadres. Bulerías

5. Zyryab

6. Canción de Amor.

7. Playa del Carmen. Rumba.

8. Almonte. Fandangos de Huelva.

Album "Con Otro Aire" by Chambao
Album "Con Otro Aire" by Chambao

Flamenco Chill?

Chambao "Con Otro Aire"

Con Otro Aire is the 4th album of Chambao which offers a fresh new ethnic sound. La Mari, lead female singer of the band that has been categorized as flamenco chill, defines the typical sound with her high pitch voice. The album Con Otro Aire, meaning "With a Different Breeze", probably refers to the wind coming from Northern Africa, so close to where La Mari lives in the South of Spain.The overall sound and feel of the album is quite different from what we heard before on Pokito a Poko.

The first track Papeles Mojados (wet papers) is a song about emigration and the big difficulties people are suffering who want to cross the border from Africa to Europe. It contains a lot of arabic style elements and has a very happy sound contrasting with the lyrics.

The second track Duende Del Sur is a song that can't be categorized easily. It is relaxing music and contains rhythmic and lyric elements of flamenco with a lot of harmonic synthesizer arrangements. An element that is also often present is the flute, which gives it a very relaxing sound. Detalles, the third track on Con Otro Aire, is based on a flamenco rhythm too and has beautiful melody lines.

The album won Platium in Spain and came out in twelve countries. She gave more then 90 concerts in eleven countries.

El Canto de la Ballena, the song of the whale sounds like a chill out track and contains very fine percussion and acoustic instruments. Caprichos De Colores is a atmosperic track about sounds and colours with a nice flamenco percussion break. Track six Voces takes a change in rhythm with a more salsa rumba feel and makes the Con Otro Aire CD a perfect holiday soundtrack.

The seventh track Yo Soy Quien is a duet with the Mexican band Camila originally based on a traditional Zapotec song. It is followed by a song full of happiness and hope Despierta (Wake up!), with nice children's vocals in the background and a band that is really "playing" music. Sera is a rumba in Chambao style where the cajon, the wooden box used by a lot of flamenco artists now has an important role for the rhythm.

Shaking Caribbean and funky bass rhythms drive El viejo San Juan and the Con Otro Aire album ends with two huge artist from the flamenco world: Estrella Morente on Lo bueno y lo Malo, bringing the beautiful song to a great end. Enrique Morente, Estrella's father can be heard on Respira, can we hear the soul of flamenco there?

Tracklist:

1. Papeles mojados

2. Duende del sur

3. Detalles

4. El canto de la ballena

5. Caprichos de colores

6. Voces

7. Yo soy quien

8. Despierta

9. Sera

10. El viejo San Juan

11. Lo bueno y lo malo

12. Respira

Album cover Bari by Ojos de Brujo
Album cover Bari by Ojos de Brujo

Funky Rumba and Flamenco from Barcelona

Bari by Ojos de Brujo

When the fan is running at full speed in the summer heat Ventilaor R-80 on the CD Bari by Ojos de Brujo is the perfect summer track. The Barcelona based band makes a very nice blend of hip hop, funk, rumba, salsa and flamenco.

Pure energy is what you feel when they play live and with Bari they have made a great album that shows that they are one of Spanish best live acts around. Bari is a "caló" word, a word from the language of the gypsies. It means something like "duende". You can't see it, but when it's there, it has the color of a piece of jewelry. Strength, thrust and courage. Essence and virtue like children. Light and wisdom like older people have. You cannot teach "el Barí", you can only learn from it. (free translation from Spanish text on the CDs inner sleeve)

All tracks transmit a universal message reflecting the old traditions of flamenco into today's world. The lyrics of the song after the intro Tiempo de Soleá were written in the Barcelona underground and are dedicated to the people of the street, and to the women that sells roses.

Ojos De Brujo are famous for their "Rumba Catalana", the flamenco style played by the gypsies around Barcelona and so it is no wonder that Ventilaor Rumba 80 became a hit in the Spanish charts.

Naita is a song about injustice in the world and that begins with popular flamenco words. On the album Bari several tracks are co-written with Macaco MonoLoco like for e.g. Quien Engaña, no gana (the person who is cheating will not win).

Zambra is a very rhythmical song driven by a simple bassline that speeds up to a climax and slows down at the end again.

Ley de Gravedad and Memorias perdí­as are two more quiet songs showing that Ojos de Brujo has got a lot of talent in different styles and with a lot of instruments.

Tanguillo de Maria is a flamenco based rhythm again that flows into a festive rumba. Ever heard a funk guitars in a flamenco song? Listen to Buleria de Ay! The Bari album ends with Caló Bari and is dedicated to all gitanos who have brought their art and their music in life.

On the special edition of Bari there are 2 extra tracks: Acción Reacción Repercusión and Tahitá¡ K Lorro Mix.

The first is an incredible cajon percussion track, great for rhythm freaks…. And Tahitá¡ is a DJ remix of the song from their debut album Vengue.

Tracklist:

1. Intro

2. Tiempo de Soleá¡

3. Ventilaor R-80

4. Naita

5. Quien Engaña no Gana

6. Zambra

7. Ley de Gravedad

8. Memorias Perdías

9. Tanguillo de María

10. Bulerí­a de Ay!

11. Caló Barí

Extra Acción Reacción Repercusión, Tahitá¡ K*Lorro*Mix

Flamenco Video documentary

Flamenco can be old, new, modern, with fusion, with jazz, with rock, but above all I think it's got a lot of 'Soul'. In this documentary about the life of Paco de Lucía you get a good idea how flamenco evolved since the sixties until recently when this documentary was made, just before the great Paco died.

Camarón and Paco de Lucía

In the documentary 'La búsqueda' Paco is saying that the best thing that ever happend in his artistic life was meeting Cámaron. Have a look at this great performance.

The Soul of Flamenco by Pitingo

Souleria by Pitingo

Soul-eria comes from Buleria + Soul

Souleria isn't about changing flamenco, it's giving it a different color. The album that came out in 2008 as a set CD + DVD contains 12 studio tracks and 16 live video tracks showing the vision of young flamenco talent Antonio Pitingo. As Antonio Alvarez Velez, Pitingo's real name, explains on the extra's of the DVD this Souleria is a project he was dreaming of doing since a long time.

Who is Pitingo

He grew up singing flamenco and also liked a lot soul music, gospel and pop music. Pitingo was given the opportunity by Dewaristas en acción (Dewarists in action) to do the project Souleria as a fusion of Soul and Buleria. This project became a real hit in Spain and he received a lot of good reactions on his concerts promoting the album. The fact is that even for Spanish listeners this is really something new.

Souleria is an an album with links between flamenco and other popular music styles, making it an accessible flamenco album. The first track De Ayamonte a Mississippi features the London Community Gospel Choir and is a good starter for the overall happy atmosphere the album has. Killing Me Softly With His Song is a cover a lot of you certainly will recognize as it was a great hit sung by Roberta Flack in 1973. The song is partly in English and partly in Spanish. Pitingo sings it in a way that combines soul and flamenco type singing, quite strange to hear that combination in one song.

Silencio belongs to the flamenco song category and is a Fandango de Huelva, the place where Pitingo comes from. This is a good introduction for those who are not familiar with flamenco as it is a very nice arranged song, especially the guitar played by Juan Carmona. En Algun Lugar del Mundo could as well be a Ketama song. It is a buleria, another "palo" flamenco and Ketama, the band in which Juan Carmona has played for many years, was one of the most popular ones around. Percussion is played by Antonio Carmona and Juan Carmona Junior.

Pitingo sings a "tiento" combined with the London Community Gospel Choir again on the fifth track Yo No Te He Dado Motivos, a song where he demonstrates he knows the Arte del Flamenco. Sólo sé que no sé nada (I only know I know nothing) is a tango flamenco sung with soul and is followed by another cover "Gwendolyne" written by Julio Iglesias. Quite a different version!

On 'A Fernanda de Utrera' Antonio brings a tribute to Fernanda, who is seen as the best female singer "cantaora" ever singing the Soleá. Followed by two covers Yesterday and On Bended Knee, in Spanish called Me Rindo Ante Ti and Ayer, it gives the album Souleria a bit of a strange combination of songs, but once you've seen the live versions on the DVD it makes more sense. After all flamenco is all about emotions from sad to happy and anything in-between, so in the end it doesn't make it any different from the most popular pop song themes.

The CD ends in beauty with another tango flamenco Los Tiempos Estan Cambiando and a "taranto", popular song in the flamenco world with very nice guitar playing.

Track list of Souleria by Pitingo (first version)

1. De Ayamonte a Mississippi Amaya

2. Killing Me Softly with His Song (Mátame Suavemente Con Tu Canción)

3. Silencio (Fandangos de Huelva)

4. En Algun Lugar del Mundo [Bulería]

5. Yo No Te He Dado Motivos [Tientos]

6. Sólo sé que no sé nada [Tangos]

7. Gwendolyne Iglesias, Julio 2:44

8. A Fernanda de Utrera

9. Ayer [Yesterday]

10. Me Rindo Ante Ti Samuel, Harris James III/Steven, Lewis Terry 4:21

11. Los Tiempos Están Cambiando [Tangos]

12. Taranta al Tío Juan Habichuela

Flamenco Music with Soul

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Flamenco Fusion

If you like this fusion of flamenco and soul you will probably like these too

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La Leyenda Del Tiempo
La Leyenda Del Tiempo

To start with, or if you only want to choose one flamenco CD in your collection, here's the one. The legend of flamenco "Camaron"

 
Manolo Caracol
Manolo Caracol

Manolo Caracol, the legendary singer from the golden age

Manolo Caracol compilation CD

Spanish Flamenco History from 1920-1950

"El Niño Caracol" and later named "Manolo Caracol" participated the famous prize that was held in Granada during the Fiesta de Corpus Christi June 1922 in Granada and won it in his category. This prize was organised by Manuel de Falla, Federico Garcia Lorca and other famous artists of that time to keep Spanish flamenco alive. The famous music composer from Cádiz De Falla sought to encourage and enhance the performance of flamenco, which had fallen into a period of decadence. He recognized in flamenco a musical art form of great value.

Manolo Caracol

Manuel Ortega Suarez whose artistic name was Manolo Caracol was born in Seville in 1909 and died in Madrid in 1973. He was a descendant from three generation of flamenco artists being known his father with the artistic name "Manuel el del bulto" or "Caracol el viejo". About the origin of his artistic name "Caracol", it is said that when he was a child and being with his aunt Gabriela Ortega at home, mother of "Joselito el Gallo" and "Rafael el Gallo" she was cooking a pot of snails (caracoles), the boy was playing around the pot and kicked it, causing it to fall down. His aunt shouted "Well now, I told you it was going to happen Caracol!"

Flamenco roots

Surrounded by all these people with flamenco roots it was clear Manolo was going to be an artist too. He grew up hearing flamenco rhythms and dancing to the music with his whole family. At the historical contest of 1922 of the "Cante Jondo" (literally "the deep singing") mentioned above it happened to be that Don Antonio Chacón, who was given the task to look for undiscovered talent, was a good friend of his father "Caracol el Viejo" (the old Caracol). So this way the boy heard about the prize and decided to present himself to Don Antonio Chacón. His father had to approve his participation in the Prize of the Cante Jondo (Concurso de Cante Jondo). The festival was very successful for "El Niño Caracol" and he shared the first prize with "El Tenazas de Moron" being a thousand pesetas.

After this event in Granada he went to Seville to perform together with El Tenazas and the next year he was touring all over Spain with Antonio Chacón, Manuel Torres and "El Niño Gloria". When the Spanish Civil War started in 1936 started acting more in theatres where he had great success together with Lola Flores in the show called "Zambra" that was on for several years in Spain.

In 1951 he was the most important flamenco artist of Spain. His artistic career was filled with a lot of success, admiration and victories. He was granted the The Order of Isabella the Catholic. Manolo Caracol and Lola Flores were cinema partners in "Embrujo", "La niña de la venta" and others. In the flamenco world he has one of the widest discographies.

He sang with the guitar accompaniment of Niño Ricardo and Melchor de Marchena but his first recordings were with Manolo de Badajoz. He created the "fandangos caracoleros" and sang very well the "bulerias". Old men said that hearing Manolo Caracol was a privilege and that he made his fans cry with the emotion of his voice. He died in a traffic accident in 1973.

The CD Manolo Caracol (Vol 8 of series "Antologia La Epoca Dorada del Flamenco") with the tracklist below will probably be hard to find, but as mentioned above Manolo Caracol has the largest discography in flamenco history, so if you can find a CD with some of the tracks below you will soon hear how this great voice in flamenco sounded like.

Track list of CD Antología La Epoca Dorada del Flamenco:

1. Bulerias Festeras - Popular

2. Fandangos - Popular

3. El florero - Bulerias - popular

4. Mi barco velero - Fandangos - popular

5. Salen a siete mujeres - Alegrías

6. De la gloria de tu mujer - Solerares

7. Me dicen que soy demente - Fandangos

8. Bulerias - popular

9. De gloria a petenera - Fandangos

10. Como las campanas - Fandangos Popular

11. Fandangos - popular

12. Solerares - popular

13. Gitana blanca - popular

14. La sentencia - alegrias

15. Y como loco variaba - Fiesta gitana - popular

16. Fandangos - popular

17. Tientos - popular

18. Zambra - popular

19. No quiero na contigo - Bulerias - popular

20. Fandangos caracoleros - popular

8 guitars and a piano by El Pele

Contemporary Traditional Flamenco Music

Manuel Moreno Maya "El Pele" was born in Córdoba in 1954. He's a flamenco singer that has reached a high level of success in the 80s with Vicente Amigo and has even been support act for David Bowie. The album 8 guitarras y un piano (8 guitars and a piano) was released in 2008 and is really worth a listen because he is accompanied by nine exceptional musicians, 8 flamenco guitarists and a pianist, and sings several very traditional songs but with a very personal style and expression.

Live in Ronda

In the summer of 2009 I saw El Pele on the Festival de Cante Grande de Ronda. His performance was impressive and I heard several "aficionados"(real flamenco enthousiasts) encouraging him with "jaleos"(shouting words like "olé and "agua").

El Pele is a flamenco artist that is seen as an innovator. He belongs to the "caracolera" school. This means in the style of Manolo Caracol. Critics of flamenco say his voice has the right "cuerdas vocales de excelente metal flamenco", the vocal chords made of excellent flamenco metal.

The CD 8 guitarras y un piano

1. Soguero, Taranta y cartagenera con Miguel Angel Cortés, flamenco guitar player from Granada who already accompanied top artists like Carmen Linares. Throughout the whole CD El Pele shows he knows how to bring several classic flamenco styles. The taranta is a style from the group of cantes called Cante de Levante (from the East) and within that group it belongs to the "cantes de las minas" (song from the mines).

2. Alfonsina y el Mar, Cancion bulería con Daniel Mendez known before as Dani de Moron. Presenting a different guitar player on every track is a great way to get to know different styles of playing and accompanying. Here we can hear the way they do it in Moron de La Frontera. The place where the legendary Diego del Gastor started his career.

3. Solea del Olvido, Soleá¡ con Juan Carlos Romero who toured with Manolo Sanlucar and accompanied fine artists like José Merce, Chano Lobato, Paco Toronjo etc. A soleá is seen as one of the richest palos of flamenco. Difficult to describe in words, this is pure emotion and probably the best performer at this moment here and now.

4. Amigo Vicente, buleí­a con Moraito Chico,Manuel Moreno Junquera, from Jerez who had his debut with the famous Paquera de Jerez. The song and the lyrics are by El Pele himself and there's also a collaboration of Antonio and Rafa "Los Cherokees".

5. A Mi Nieto(to my grandson), Fandangos with Moraito Chico.

6. Calle de la Memoria, Seguiriya y cabal con Jose Antonio Rodriguez, guitarist and composer from Córdoba who could be seen in the movie "Flamenco" by Carlos Saura.

7. Marineros, Alegrias con Diego del Morao, son of Moraito Chico, who supported artists like La Macanita, José Mercé and Diego Carrasco on their tours.

8. Lucía, Zambra. This is the most innovating song on the album and features the great flamenco pianist David Pena Dorantes an supporting voice Maria Toledo. It can be seen as a statement by El Pele of the way he sees the development of flamenco. The piano has not really been accepted yet in flamenco, but it's not the instrument that counts, as Dorantes says, it's the musician who plays flamenco. Well here's the best example.

9. Carihuela, Malagueña con Niño De Pura, flamenco guitar player born in Seville, who believes that the most important thing is to have a style of your own.

Track list 8 guitarras y un piano

1. Soguero

2. Alfonsina y el mar

3. Solea del olvido

4. Amigo Vicente

5. A mi nieto

6. Calle de la memoria

7. Marineros

8. Lucí­a

9. Carihuela

Paco de Lucia declares his independence

Solo Quiero Caminar by Paco de Lucia

The album "Solo quiero caminar" released in 1981 is a special one in many ways. It is the first record with the participation of the Sextet. With this recording Paco de Lucia defines a new sound for the flamenco music. The cajón, the drum box, an instrument from Peru is introduced into flamenco as a basic rhythm instrument and the excellent musicians playing with Paco: Rubem Dantas (percussion), Jorge Pardo (flute) and Carles Benavent (bass) start a style of playing that afterwards will be called with their names.

Solo quiero caminar track by track

"Solo quiero caminar" (I only want to walk) is the first track and the only track with vocals. To me it is one of the masterpieces of Paco de Lucia in his whole career. The quintessence of flamenco I would say. It has the rhythm style called tangos which is one of the basic flamenco styles with variations in the provinces of Cádiz, Málaga, Sevilla and Granada. The strength of the song is the evocative music, the lyrics sung by Paco's brother Pepe are few but very strong. It is more or less a declaration of the gypsy spirit, those who want to have a nomadic life.

Yo solo quiero caminar

como corre la lluvia del cristal

como corre el rí­o hacia la mar

lorei lorei loreilo......... (bis)

The second track, instrumental like all the rest from here, is in the bulerias style, another basic flamenco one. It is called "La Tumbona" (Lounger). Paco uses the Arab lute here, just like he did on Almoraima. The chords are traditional "toque por medio", which means it is played with A major and B flat for the basic rhythm. Quite simple, but the master from Algeciras does incredible arpeggio's and great "falsetas" (melodic phrases).

"Convite", a rumba starts with a series of descending chords and has a latin jazz feel about it that way. It's a demonstration of his great skills and also shows the possibilities of the Sextet that is going to accompany him for a large period of time in his career as a guitar concert player.

"Montiño" (Fandangos de Huelva), the fourth track on Solo Quiero Caminar is a song Paco is playing with his brother Ramon. He always wanted to revitalize this style from Huelva and he does with "rasgueados" (right hand technique unfolding the fingers one by one over the chords) as rhythmic element and there's also a fabulous "picado" (technique using right hand index and ring finger) he is doing here.

The fifth track "Chanela" is another rumba, this time Paco is playing with melodic influences of jazz and Brazilian music in the second part of the song. There's also fine bongo and handclapping percussion to be heard here.

"Monasterio de Sal" is the first song in columbianas style Paco de Lucia is performing. This "palo" has probably its origin in Columbia and is a so called "estilo de ida y vuelta" (a returned style) because the musical rhythm traveled over the Atlantic Ocean to Southern America and returned in a somewhat different form. The song title refers to a monastery situated in a salt rock that exists in Colombia. The song is one of Paco's most popular ones and he often plays it at the beginning of a concert. Again, just like 'Solo Quiero Caminar' this is one of the Spanish flamenco guitar artist's masterpieces. An excellent version of this composition is also played by Chano Dominguez, excellent jazz musician from Cadiz and Jorge Pardo on the album "10 de Paco" released in 1995.

Original falsetas are played by Paco again in the bulerias "Piñonate". The only accompaniment here is the handclapping and "jaleo" (shouting to encourage the player with words like "toma, olé, agua, !vamos allí¡"). This makes this song sound the most pure flamenco one on the album.

Solo Quiero Caminar ends with a rumba called "Palenque". Starting slowly with the guitar playing solo it soon develops as a very quick tempo, almost like a Brazilian samba with Rubem Dantas playing the cajón, the so versatile drum box that now is used in nearly all music styles but it is present now in almost every flamenco concert. So in fact, the Paco de Lucia Sextet introduced it more than 25 years ago.

Conclusion


Sólo quiero caminar

Great flamenco CD, if there is one CD you should have from Paco de Lucia, this is the one.

What's new about Flamenco Nuevo?

The Rough Guide to Flamenco Nuevo

Flamenco Nuevo

Worldmusic label World Music Network released The Rough Guide to Flamenco Nuevo in 2006. Which direction flamenco is going in the 21st century? Compiler Chris Moss tries to give an answer to the question with this compilation. An interesting extra are the data on the CD that can be watched and listened to when the disc is inserted to the PC. There's an interview with the compiler and also music and travel information from the Rough Guide books.

The CD Flamenco Nuevo contains fourteen tracks and starts with Elena Andújar "Perdí la Voz"(I lost My Voice). Taken from her self-titled debut album this is an example of flamenco pop that stands out a bit weak compared to the next three tracks.

Son de La Frontera is a flamenco band from Moron de la Frontera that dedicated their first album to Diego del Gastor, a legendary flamenco guitar player from Moron de la Frontera who lived in the small white village El Gastor when he was a young boy. The new element Son de la Frontera bring into the flamenco is the Cuban tres guitar with its metallic sound that probably gives a bit the sound of the old days when the flamenco guitars were strung with metal strings.

Ojos de Brujo with their hitsong "Ventilaor R-80" are the band that represent the rumba catalana now. They have a great live act and if you have the opportunity to see them live, don't hesitate.This is very exiting rumba flamenca from Barcelona. In the Catalan language fire is "Foc", the title of the next song by Rodrigo and Gabriela. They mix flamenco with heavy metal, rock, funk, pop and mariachi. The song is recorded live and it's an amazing showcase of their talents on the acoustic guitar.

The compilation Flamenco Nuevo also contains other types of influences and fusion with flamenco like Digitano, Solar Sides and Mystic Diversions, who are the ones who like to play with electronic drums, samplers etc. A very funny track is the "Aserejé" aka "The Ketchup Song", virtuoso version by Diego Carrasco, a real flamenco artist having fun with this nonsense song. Jerónimo with the song titled "Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart" gives a flamenco interpretation of the great composer and so he fuses flamenco with classical music. The song starts with a piano intro and continues with flamenco guitar.

Arabic influences can be heard on Javier Ruibal's "Perla de la Medina" and to prove that there are no frontiers anymore now in flamenco Israeli singer Yasmin Levy sings "La Alegria".

Conclusion:

This compilation brings together different fusions of flamenco with other music styles. I wouldn't call this new, because flamenco has always been a genre that is a fusion of different musical styles in history and the label Nuevos Medios from Spain, that was the first to present this Nuevo Flamenco or New Flamenco, already celebrated its 20th anniversary seven years ago. It's an eclectic collection that seems a bit too chaotic to me. Anyway it shows how diverse the flamenco genre has become now.

Track list :

1. ELENA ANDÚJAR: Perdí­ La Voz

2. SON DE LA FRONTERA: Bulería Negra Del Gastor

3. OJOS DE BRUJO: Ventilaor R-80

4. RODRIGO Y GABRIELA: Foc (Live Version

5. DIGITANO FEAT. EVA DURAN & NANO GARCCA: Donde Quiera Que Estes

6. GITANO FAMILY: Coco

7. DIEGO AMADOR: El Llanto De La Lluvia

8. JORGE PARDO: Mi Sueño

9. DIEGO CARRASCO: Aserejé©

10. JERÓNIMO: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

11. JAVIER RUIBAL: Perla De La Medina

12. SOLAR SIDES: El Duende Orgánico

13. MYSTIC DIVERSIONS: Beneath Another Sky

14. YASMIN LEVY: La Alegria (Happiness)

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    • ananimoss2 profile image

      ananimoss2 5 years ago

      I used to love Flamenco dance a couple of decades ago and used to take a class, just to find out that I got no rhythm. I think I managed to do one very simple dance called, Sevillana or something like that... All the wrists rolling...bring back fun and painful memories!

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      miaponzo 6 years ago

      Thanks for this site! :)

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      anonymous 7 years ago

      I put this on my facebook.

      Ojos de Brujo, I have seen this group twice in Belgium. !Qué ritmo!