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World Music CD Reviews Europe

Michio

By Marty Lipp
Published December 19, 2007

Zambúllete
Alameda

Just as the Gypsy Kings created an interest in a pop hybrid of flamenco, several musicians have created the genre called “nuevo flamenco.” Nuevo flamenco takes gritty, heart-rending, throat-ripping flamenco and transforms it into something warm and romantic. The German-born, half-Japanese guitarist Michio was something of a child prodigy, but devoted his early studies to classical music in a conservatory setting. As a young man, he became infatuated with flamenco and established parallel careers, adding jazz to his repertoire as well. This, his second album, shows him to be not only dexterous, but an expressive, emotional player. He’s in fine form throughout, using no new age electronics, but occasionally employing vocalist Alicia Carrasco to bring the flamenco fire a bit closer. As a guitarist, he has a fluid style with some well-turned splashes that seem like paroxysms of deep feeling that echo flamenco’s transcendent moments of duende. Having written all the tunes, he also demonstrates his mastery of this romantic, lovely genre. While Zambúllete is perfect music for a candlelit evening, Michio’s serious chops offer more.