For the past 30-plus years, Yvette and I have made it a family tradition to visit Spain (about twice the size of the U.S. state of Oregon) every couple of years or as often as possible. It all started back in the 1970s when I was stationed in its capital city of Madrid while serving in the United States Air Force. We lived in the historical town of Alcala de Henares, the home of the legendary Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (author of Don Quixote). It was in Madrid during the 1970s that I was able to musically expand my mind and music palette via the awesome international parade of artists, bands and entertainers that frequent this amazing European city.
Since that time, the cosmopolitan flavor of Madrid has spread across the entire country, with Barcelona and Valencia ruling in the eastern/northeastern part of the peninsula; Bilbao and Santander in the north, Cáceres and Badajoz on the west, and Malaga and Sevilla in the south, just to name a few hot spots close to my heart. On our recent trip to the Iberian peninsula we decided to drive across Andalucia (the southern region of Spain), which reflects the Moorish influence on the country's history, landscape, culture, cuisine, and of course, its music. While flamenco rules throughout Andalusia more than anywhere else in the country, the new hybrids of the genre are what keep this music fresh, interesting and popular for its fans and aficionados.
The new interpreters of Nuevo Flamenco are extremely open-minded, diverse and technologically savvy. Whereas the roots of flamenco are respected and safe-guarded by most of the bands and artists in Spain, the fusion of musical elements and forms currently fused into the gente include such elements as salsa flavors, Middle Eastern forros, rock, R&B and jazz modalities. Groups such as Ketama, Ojos de Brujo, Chambao, Navajita Plateá, El Arrebato, Kiko Veneno, and Pitingo are some of the leaders of the movement.
We found Pitingo to be one of our new favorites. His latest production titled...