Uncompromising Flamenco Billy

Mártires del Compás ~ No Papeles - No Papers
New York City (New York), USA – Martires del Compas’ latest release, Sin Papeles/No Papers, sees the Seville-based band returning to its roots, while further exploring themes of globalization and immigration. “This is a very personal album for us,” explains band leader Chico Ocaña. “We produced it ourselves, and worked many of the songs out a small cafe right here in mi barrio in Sevilla. We specifically wanted to get back to a ‘Martires’ sound; to return to our flamenco billy roots.”

They do this in style, with such inspired tracks as “Petebuleria,” which addresses exploited foreign labor, and “Negrapata,” which takes on African immigration, and “0h! Galicia calidades,” which addresses the environmental havoc wrought by oil spills on northwestern Spanish beaches.

Politically, socially, we’re uncompromising,” Ocana says. “I don’t write from any ideological perspective or belong to any party, but as an artist I write about the things that move me-and I won’t silence myself or only write about happy topics. Illegal immigration, terrorism, globalization, these things are part of my world, too. I don’t think it’s a contradiction to sing about these things alongside songs about love or passion. It’s all part of our experience as human beings.” Of course, songs of love and passion remain the staples of flamenco, and Martires continue to deliver the goods. “Colores” is a celebration of sensuality, and “Inoxidable” offers a message of love’s staying power, while “Serengueti” is a sexy, playful ode to animal passion. But through it all, Mártires continue to speak for the common man with tracks like “Estoy tieso” or “Flat Broke.”

Before we felt like we had to explain ourselves through our music,” Ocana says of Martires’ continued appeal. “But now we’re comfortable and don’t have to prove ourselves to anyone anymore.”

We know where the goldmine is now,” he adds, laughing. “All we have to do is dig.”

Recordings available: No Papers, Mordiendo El Duende, Flamenco Billy, Sinpapeles Es Conpapeles Son, Prohibido Da El Cante

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