The Iberian peninsula, the original European multi-culti experiment. Arab/North African mixing with Jewish and Romany culture with good, old-fashioned, blood-and-guts mystical Catholicism. Sure, the experiment ended badly for all involved, but some really good music came out of the conflagration. And, when you add that Iberian flare with the drive of Afro-Cuban rhythms, you’ve got a good-time infection to rival only syphilis in its durability.
Putumayo brings another enjoyable document to add to your world music library. The music here on Rumba Flamenco has a rhythmic, tropical power that steams and bubbles with sensuality and delight. It opens with the celebratory “Rankankin” by Maita Vende C=B7 and never lets you go. Ojos de Brujo’s “Vacileo” is captivating with its salsa touches (and their “Tesoro” is also fantastic), and Sudanese oud master, Wafir, mixes the Arabic and Cuban influences brilliantly with his “Lel.” Chico and the Gypsies may as well be the Gypsy Kings (who made this music globally popular) on “Tengo Tengo.” And De Madera’s instrumental “Caóaveral” is more powerful than any army Franco could’ve mustered.
Full of verve and excitement, Rumba Flamenco is a contagious celebration of life that refuses to be rejected. This is one fever you’ll be thankful to catch.
Putumayo Records: http://www.putumayo.com