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World Music CD Reviews Europe

PURE SPAIN: TAPAS
PURE SPAIN: FLAMENQUITO


By Eric Seyfarth
Published October 28, 2005

Universal 80004972-02 (Tapas)
Universal 80005024-02 (Flamenquito)

Part of the “Planet Rhythm” series (also including Pure Brazil and Pure North Africa), these two collections provide a driving tour of Spain, with Tapas featuring a sampling of pop-flavored music of Iberia, while Flamenquito takes liberties with the evolving forms of mass-market flamenco. The former knits together lighter fare pretty much from all over the map with the Top-40 sensibility of “Mi Nina Morena” by Radio Macande, to the seriously mellowed-out “Colora” by Maita Vende Ca, to the New Agey “Tomalacate” by Papa Levante. The latter collection of flamenco-diaspora has a little more edge to it, sharing some of the gritty genealogy of  the form itself on at least some of the songs. “Ratitas Divinas” by Pata Negra pairs the  hoarse throat and sneer of a punk ditty. On the other hand, if you like big strings with your flamenco, you’ll love a couple of the fandango-y selections. There’s also a rap flirtation with “Akundum” by Azuquita, which strays pretty far from the theme. In one of the high moments of this CD, Paco De Lucia makes an appearance on the more down-to-business “Al Verte Las Flores Lloran.”