A Slice of Spain

Various Artists -  Putumayo Presents: España
Various Artists – Putumayo Presents: España
Various Artists

Putumayo Presents: España (Putumayo, 2009)

Putumayo’s most recent release focuses on the music of Spain. The compilation’s producer has chosen to focus on mostly pop oriented songs, some of which have Spanish folk roots. The album begins with Peret, one of the legends of rumba catalana (Catalan rumba), which is a very pop oriented form of Gypsy rumba. Peret was a chart topping artist in the 1970s and was "rediscovered" in recent years.

Other highlights include Calima, an exciting band that was started by Juanlu Leprevost, one of the founders of Ojos de Brujo. Calima draw some of their influences from Flamenco.

One of the new international darlings of Spanish music, De Pedro, participates with one track. De Pedro is the project of singer-songwriter Jairo Zavala. He has worked with American band Calexico and De Pedro is the first signing of the new Nat Geo label.

Biella Nuei hails from Aragon in northeastern Spain. Even though the group started as an effort to recreate Aragonese folk music, the band has expanded its scope by adding elements from other countries and genres.

Surprisingly, Madrid’s thriving scene is only represented by one its best mestizo groups, El Combolinga. The band mixes Spanish roots with reggae, Afro-Cuban and other Latin sounds. the pieces chosen for this compilation incorporates Colombian cumbia beats.

Gecko Turner combines reggae, funk and other styles. He is a familiar name in international circles since several of his recordings were released in the United States and other countries.

Representing Galicia is singer Uxía. She is known for incorporating and exploring Galician, Portuguese and other global sounds. Galicia is one of Spain’s "Celtic" regions and is well known for its master bagpipers and all-female tambourine groups.

Burguitos is a singer songwriter from Valencia who blends pop, rumba and global sounds.

Also included in the album are Basque singer Xabier Lete, Catalan rumba band Gertrudis and rock band Gossos.

I found it baffling that no Flamenco artists were included in a compilation about Spain.

A percentage of Putumayo’s sales will be donated to Intermón Oxfam, the Spanish branch of Oxfam International, which supports the empowerment of fair trade artisans and farmers worldwide.

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Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. He was also the executive producer of the first Latino feature film made in North Carolina titled “Los sueños de Angélica.”.

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