The Rough Guide to Flamenco (World Music Network RGNET1189CD, 2007)
One CD does not do justice to Flamenco. However this Rough Guide compilation (second edition) provides a look at some of the most interesting current Flamenco acts. Most of what is contained in this album is Nuevo Flamenco and hybrids, which makes it appealing to world music fans.
The compiler brilliantly chose many pieces that feature collaborations between some of Flamenco’s biggest stars. The most famous duo was guitarist Tomatito and singer Camarón de la Isla. The legendary singer Camarón died years ago, but Tomatito is still around and has become one of the leading guitarists of his generation.
Another collaborations feature masterful Flamenco jazz pianist Sergio Monroy with expressive Flamenco singer Raúl Gálvez and the always fabulous Andalusian singer-songwriter Javier Ruibal. They are accompanied by guitars and palmas (handclapping).
Two of the young darlings of flamenco have matured well. El Potito and Estrella Morente collaborate on a juerga-style piece. Accompaniment is limited to guitar, jaleos and palmas.
Perennial innovator Diego Carrasco appears twice. First with a solo piece and later in a collaboration with neopurist Miguel Poveda.
Two families of Flamenco royalty are represented by singer Enrique Morente and guitarist Pepe Habichuela.
One of the great masters of Flamenco guitar is Gerardo Núñez. He lacks the PR machine of other guitarist, but, technically, he is probably the best of his generation. He is also a great composer, although not very prolific with his recordings.
Son de la Frontera raised some controversy because of the use of the tres, a Latin American instrument rarely used in Flamenco. However, they pay tribute to their heritage by making some of the most interesting Flamenco music.
Other artists featured are not exactly Flamenco. Martirio is an extravagant singer who sometime uses Flamenco stylings while Ojos de Brujo are known for their world beat rumba.
Something that attracted my attention was the fact that the compilation producer, Jan Fairley, chose many tangos pieces. Tangos is one of my favorite flamenco genres. It is known for being a beautiful style, which is also relatively easy to listen to.
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 produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and 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. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.