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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America


Published May 31, 2006

Tonino Baliardo

The Gipsy Kings’ rise to ubiquity with their 1987 hit “Bamboleo” was so fast, it was easy to dismiss them as one-hit wonders. But the Kings endured: the group’s unabashedly passionate singing certainly spurred smirks from hipsters, but one thing that always demonstrated seriousness was instrumental tunes featuring guitarist Tonino Baliardo. On his first solo outing, Baliardo takes a short working vacation from the Kings without straying from his home sounds. The album is more intimate than the Kings’ multi-guitar attack and features few vocals, but continues to explore the same flamenco-rooted sound. “Gitanito” has Baliardo with a bass, palmas and a few chants in a spare flamenco-jazz hybrid. On “Sabroso,” he explores the Afro-Cuban rhythms underlying the Catalan rumba genre from which the Kings sprang. “Bossa Nueva” places the “nueva flamenco” sound in a cool bossa-esque setting. The often-flashy guitarist shows restraint on “Redemption” with its lovely melody. Gipsy Kings fans shouldn’t be disappointed, and might even welcome this quieter variation of the group’s powerful, rhythmic sound.