Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Art of Paco Peña

Flamenco music is a newfound interest and this 1993 compilation from the British label Nimbus gathers material from several recordings for that label by the Spanish maestro, Paco Peña. 

A generous 65-minute album culls 15 tracks, including a collaboration with Eduardo Falú. a noted guitarist, composer and singer from Argentina with whom Peña extensively toured Europe in the mid-1980s. 

Several tracks are pieces from pioneers in the flamenco style, namely Ramón Montoya and Niño Ricardo. 

The remainder of the pieces are Peña's own work and he is joined on some of these by Tito Losada.  Finally, there is an excerpt from the unusual religious work, the Misa Flamenco, or Flamenco Mass, composed by Peña and premiered at Wroclaw, Poland in 1988, though the version on this record came from a London presentation a few years later.  In this sampling, there are four flamenco singers, four guitarists, two percussionists, and the chorus of The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields.

Peña is heralded for not only his superlative technique, but for his firm grasp of traditional methods with modern conceptual attributes.  This is an enjoyable record, probably, for even the most seasoned fan of flamenco music, but it is a great introduction for greenhorns like yours truly.

The Art of Paco Peña (Nimbus Records, 1993)

1.  Solquena  5:04
2.  La Rosa  4:31
3.  Milonga Uruguaya  1:58
4.  Seguiriyas  6:03
5.  Gloria  4:13
6.  Salobre  5:06
7.  La Cuartelera  2:59
8.  Alegrías  3:54
9.  Riomar  4:05
10.  Santo  2:55
11.  Soleá  4:28
12.  Claroscuro  5:25
13.  Valse Criollo  3:11
14.  Tarantas  5:17
15.  Canto Eucaristico y Despedida (excerpt)  6:17

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