Monday Mixtape #8: Flamenco Fusion

For the past months we’ve brought you the songs we love and can’t get out of our heads. This week we enter the magical world of Flamenco Fusion. Flamenco in itself is an exciting musical style, combining Romani music with Spanish, Arab, Persian and many other styles to a distinct flavor. Current day musicians like to push the envelope and find other ways on playing with the genre: by adding instruments, cross-breeding with other styles. I’m sure you will love these songs.

The French-Romani director Tony Gatlif is only partly responsible for the Balkan Music hype (credit also goes to director Emir Kusturica and his composer collaborator Goran Bregovic), but his impact on bringing Flamenco music to a wider audience cannot be disputed. When his Flamenco drama Vengo hit the arthouse theaters worldwide, moviegoers were treated to a wide variety of performances, from the pure flamenco to cross-over experiments. Today we will take a similar journey, sipping from the endless ocean of Flamenco music.

– Tomatito & Sheikh Ahmad al Tuni / Arabian Flamenco
The French-Romani director Tony Gatlif is only partly responsible for the Balkan Music hype (credit also goes to director Emir Kusturica and his composer collaborator Goran Bregovic), but his impact on bringing Flamenco music to a wider audience cannot be disputed. When his Flamenco drama Vengo hit the arthouse theaters worldwide, moviegoers were treated to a wide variety of performances, from the pure flamenco to cross-over experiments. The opening song of Vengo features one of the greatest Flamenco guitarists of the moment, Tomatito, pitching Spanish chords against the music of the Moors. On the Arabic side the captain is the Sufi Sheikh al Tuni.
– Paco de Lucia / Tangos Flamenco
Of course, innovation wasn’t introduced to Flamenco by a French director. It’s the music of the Spanish Gypsies, who absorbed bits and pieces of culture where they passed. Arabs, Indians and Iranians will recognize rhythms and melodies and still today elements are introduced that some listeners will revile, believing such innovation goes against the original spirit of the music. Paco de Lucia, one of the great guitarists of all times, also incorporated instruments such as the Cajon, the flute and the electric bass.
– Concha Buika / Mi Nina Lola
Concha Buika was born in spain to immigrants from Equatorial Guinea. Being the only black girl in the neighbourhood she spend her days with gitano friends, picking up the songs as a new language. Now she mixes the flamenco of her early days with Jazz, Rumba and Soul.
– Bebo y Cigala / Veinte Anos
When a bluesman from the Mississippi delta travels to Mali there’s enough of a common root to understand each other’s music and play together. A similar thing happens when Cuban musicians, musical descendants of the Spanish settlers join in with Flamenco musicians. Listen to one of the songs of Bebo, a Cuban pianist, and Cigala, a singer from Spain.
Ojos de Brujo / Calé Bari
The name Ojos de Brujo means Eyes of the Wizard. The aim has always been to dazzle with whatever musical components fit in the imagination of the members of the group. Here Flamenco is mixed with drumkits, trumpets, scratching, rap and more. Their own name for the music is “jipjop flamenkillo”, but whatever name you give to it, we enjoy it. Sadly a few months ago the group gave their last concert and after ten years of performing and recording has called it quits.
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