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Various Artists - Rumba Flamenco [Putumayo]

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Inevitably, any style of world music will have its hardcore purists as well as those who are open to experimentation. Spanish flamenco is no different; decades after the term nuevo flamenco was first used to describe a non-traditional approach to flamenco, purists continue to rail against crossover artists who are fusing flamenco with rock, Latin pop, or salsa. But truth be told, both approaches have their place -- there is room for traditionalists like Tomatito and Paco de Lucía as well as the nuevo flamenco sounds of the Gipsy Kings, Aurora, and Chico & the Gypsies. Assembled by Putumayo in 2002, this compilation takes an interesting look at some of the nuevo flamenco that came out of Spain (and a few other countries as well) in the '90s and early 2000s. On Rumba Flamenco, flamenco is combined with everything from salsa, Latin pop, and jazz to Moroccan music. Of course, flamenco has had the North African influence all along, so traditionalists wouldn't find the Moroccan influence as objectionable as the salsa, jazz, or Latin pop influence. Those who aren't purists, however, will welcome the sort of multiculturalism that defines Rumba Flamenco -- they will see Maíta Vende Cá's "Rankankin" (which has been influenced by Tito Puente's salsa classic "Ran Kan Kan"), Ojos de Brujo's "Vacileo," and Chico & the Gypsies' "Tengo Tengo" as appealing examples of flamenco/salsa fusion. Meanwhile, oud player Wafir (a native of the Sudan and the brother of singer Rasha) offers an intriguing blend of flamenco, salsa, jazz, and North African pop on the instrumental "Lel." And the influence of North African pop is also quite strong on Ziroq's moody "Que Pena." Rumba Flamenco isn't recommended for flamenco purists, but those who are more broad-minded will find this CD to be an adventure. ~ Alex Henderson

1) Rankankan - Maíta Vende Cá (03:24)
2) Isla Mujeres - Javier Ruibál (04:47)
3) Vacileo - Ojos de Brujo (03:11)
4) Lel - Wafir (03:23)
5) Una Chica Muy Guapa - Peret (04:08)
6) Que Pena - Ziroq (03:29)
7) Shalom Israel - Eric Fernandez (02:36)
8) Tengo Tengo - Chico And The Gypsies (02:35)
9) Cañaveral - De Madera (05:14)
10) Tesoro - Ojos de Brujo (03:31)
11) Hommage aux Marquises - Gitano Family (04:41)
12) Malacutum - Ricao (02:49)
13) Joselito - Energipsy (03:09)

Rumba Flamenco [Putumayo]
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Rumba Flamenco [Putumayo] | Various Artists