Album of the week (December 15, 2019)

Sing Noël! – A European Christmas Revels (Various Countries) – 2011

Get into the Christmas spirit with this excellent compilation of some of the best European Christmas carols and discover some new favorites with 21 selections of stunning music, choral works, and carols from France, England, Spain, and the Middle East.

Performers include an adult chorus, a children’s chorus, renowned soloists and instrumentalists, and members of the renowned Sharq Arabic Music Ensemble.

Merry Christmas!

Album of the week (December 8, 2019)

Avo Kanto by BGKO – Barcelona Gipsy balKan Orchestra (Spain) – 2018

The title of the album is Esperanto for “the songs of our ancestors” and the track list of ‘Avo Kanto’ consists almost entirely of traditionals from all over Eastern Europe, ranging from melancholic songs like ‘Csi Lav Tu’ (Hungary), ‘Livisiani Mou Perdika’ (Greece/Turkey) and ‘Makedonsko Devojče’ (Macedonia), to festive dance tunes like ‘Krivo Sadovsko Horo’ (Bulgaria), the slightly psychedelic sounding ‘Raikos’ (Macedonia) or ‘Koje Li You Doba Noći’ (Serbia).

As a bonus, at the request of the band’s fans, the album concludes with ‘Lule Lule’, a song from Arbëreshë culture, an Albanian minority in southern Italy and Sicily, and the first song the band recorded back in 2015 after changing their name from Barcelona Gipsy Klezmer Orchestra into Barcelona Gipsy Balkan Orchestra.

Album of the week (November 17, 2019)

El Mal Querer by Rosalía (Spain) – 2018

With her mix of flamenco, pop, rap and urban sounds Rosalia won the 2019 Latin Grammy for best pop vocal album.
Born in Barcelona, this album is actually Rosalia’s graduate thesis for Cataluya’s College of Music, where she studied flamenco (they only accept one student per year) and music production.

The first single, “Malamente”, was a worldwide smash that mixes flamenco palmas (handclaps), pitos (finger-snapping) with a mysterious synth and her grainy alto voice that moves against the beat in a melodic hook that engages R&B in an irresistible combination.

The rest of the album is a display of her abilities as a singer, composer and producer making it full of tension, passion and creative ingenuity.

Give it a listen. Highly recommended.

Spotify Link below.

Album of the week (August 10, 2019)

Nouveau Flamenco by Ottmar Liebert (Germany/Spain)

Ottmar Liebert’s most famous album gave a new genre its title, and the New Age market a new champion. From the liner notes:

Nouveau Flamenco represents a spirited new sound emanating from Santa Fe. Its magic blends the heart and soul of the Spanish gypsy guitar with a contemporary groove, a sound mastered by Ottmar Liebert. Liebert's classical guitar training is flavored by jazz and pop influences, and his music expresses what is inseparably universal and deeply personal. The ancient dramas of sorrow and joy are released and artfully transformed for the listener of today. Nouveau Flamenco is truly acoustic poetry with elegance and passion.

Album of the week (July 22, 2019)

11 de Novembre by Sílvia Pérez Cruz (Spain)

Over the past decade, Catalan vocalist Silvia Pérez Cruz has lent her delicate voice to a wide variety of projects (most notably with her band las Migas), but 11 de Novembre is her first proper solo album.

Also for the first time, Pérez Cruz composed and arranged all the material, and co-produced the album with Raúl Fernández Refree. Pérez Cruz’s effortless eclecticism breezes through songs that touch on folk, acoustic jazz, fado, flamenco, Cuban, and Brazilian music, without losing her own identity.

She is equally at ease singing in four different languages (Catalan, Spanish, Portuguese, Galician), or setting poems by Feliu Formosa, Maria Mercè Marçal, and Maria Cabrera to music.

A deeply personal, beautiful album dedicated to the singer’s father, who had recently passed away