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World Music CD Reviews Europe

Various Artists

By Nils Jacobson
Published March 16, 2007

The Rough Guide To Flamenco Nuevo
Rough Guides RGNET117CD

The Andalusian flamenco tradition has deep roots in the music of Gypsies, reflecting their travels and eventual settling down as their folk music has gradually turned into high art. Highbrow flamenco became so predominant for a while that institutionalization threatened to set in. But an army of progressives has set out to yank the essential parts of flamenco free from canonical stasis and into new hybrids with both contemporary and ancient influences. This very well-assembled collection does a wonderful job of presenting so-called Nuevo Flamenco, including bright stars like Digitano and Ojos de Brujo, who add rock, funk, folk, punk, reggae and hip-hop styles to the mix. Diego Amador twists the vibe toward sumptuous, lush richness, while Javier Ruibal turns south for North African drumming and minor modes. These players are the modern Gypsies, still wandering a world of popular and folkloric styles and keeping their music in motion.