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World Music CD Reviews Reggae & Caribbean

Fandango, Duende Y Taraf

By Nils Jacobson
Published April 3, 2007

Las Tres Orillas Del Atlántico
Producciones Alebrije

The Arab-Andalusian musical tradition, most familiar in the form of flamenco, reflects centuries of shared culture in Spain. But after those waves washed up on Caribbean shores, several mestizo descendants were also born in the New World. This acoustic/electric quintet incorporates the three styles in its name—fandango (son jarocho from the Mexican state of Veracruz), duende (flamenco) and taraf (Arab/Gypsy music)—and does an exceptional job of making the hybrid sound coherent. The authentic instrumentation, especially Abdelmjid Moutana’s oud and Armando Montiel's assorted percussion, helps a lot, as does the material. “La Fiesta” is a nuevo flamenco convocation, “El Puente” shadows the harmonies and rhythms of son jarocho, and the moody “Encuentros” eventually resolves into dramatic dance music. The liner notes (in Spanish) discuss the importance of zamra, a group celebration of body and spirit, and that's exactly what this set delivers, if only for a brief 38 minutes.