LABELS: Harmonia Mundi
PERFORMER: Juaneke (vocals)
CATALOGUE NO: HME 987031
Latin American inflections have fed back to the Iberian peninsula for decades, not least in the flamenco tradition.
You’ll hear them in the harmonies, the pulse and the supporting guitar solos of JUANEKE’s debut album, which is straight contemporary acoustic flamenco from a voice with more finesse and less of life’s ravages than many of his colleagues, its vibrato expressive and not endemic.
Sophisticated rather than raw, this is the music of a modern Barcelona inhabitant whose cultural background is gypsy; he vocalises the Arab-Indian inflections as vividly as you could wish.
The tarantella might have become Southern Italy’s internationally renowned equivalent to flamenco if history had worked out differently, but this frantic song-and-dance rhythm was taken to a wider world by the sanitised versions of Rossini and Mendelssohn.
Really it’s a compulsive, days-long ritual of release practised by generations of suppressed women, and unsurprisingly regarded by their menfolk as madness.