Spanish Roots in 2008

Following their annual tradition, the Fundación Autor and performing rights organization SGAE released the 2008 Spanish music boxed set. The box includes 6 albums: SGAE is Roots, SGAE is Jazz, SGAE is Pop, SGAE is Rock, SGAE is alternative, and SGAE is Urban.

The two parts of the collection that I find more appealing are the Roots and Jazz CDs. SGAE is Roots contains some of the best of current Spanish world music, including Flamenco innovator El Lebrijano, Afro-Spanish sensation Buika, Flamenco newcomer Pitingo, renowned Celtic acts Luar Na Lubre and Xosé Manuel Budiño,  the mesmerizing global folk of Acetre, legendary Flamenco guitarist Tomatito with Pansequito, Malagasy immigrant musician Justin Tchatchoua, the increasingly popular La Shica and several artists from new independent label El Pescador de Estrellas (the fisherman of stars).

Flamenco and Jazz have had a cozy relationship for several years. Miles Davis experimented with it and it blossomed in the 1970s. Keyboardist Chano Dominguez is one of the leading figures included, as well as highly regarded producer and musician Javier Limón. SGAE not only represents Spanish acts. It is is also one of the leading performing rights organizations in the Spanish speaking world. Cuban piano masters Chucho Valés and his father Bebo Valdés are also featured in the collection. A veteran in the Spanish Latin jazz scene, Pedro Ruy-Blas, appears, with a piece that digs into Spanish roots music. The rest of the jazz CD contains straight ahead contemporary jazz.

The pop album is a double CD set. Most of it is chart friendly fare, but a few gems have been included that perhaps belong in the Roots CD. One of them is Flamenco chill out sensation Chambao. Other artists that stand out are singer-songwriters Jorge Drexler (a brilliant Uruguayan singer and composer based in Madrid) and Canary Islander Pedro Guerra.

The Urban album is also a double set. Most of it is Spanish hip hop and electronica. Mestizo music band la Kinky Beat is found there, although it probably belong in the Roots CD as well.

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