Antonio Orozco

Devuélveme La Vida

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As much as Spain's music scene has evolved over the years -- and as influential as American and British rock and dance-pop artists and Cuban and Puerto Rican salseros have been in Spain -- the Moorish influence continues to affect contemporary Spanish artists, even those who aren't part of nuevo flamenco and modern Gypsy rhumba per se. Devuélveme la Vida points to the fact that Antonio Orozco is a prime example. To the untrained ear, this Barcelona native might not sound much different from rock en español/Latin pop artists from Mexico or Colombia. He has clearly been influenced by Sting, which in and of itself doesn't make him unique among Latin artists; one hears plenty of Sting influence in the music of Mexican superstars Maná, for example. But when Orozco sings, one hears in his vocal phrasing both a Sting influence and a Moorish influence that you generally don't get with Latin American artists. It isn't just that Orozco has the Castilian "theta" pronunciations; even if he favored the Andalusian pronunciations that one hears in Sevilla, Málaga, or Cádiz, the Moorish influence (with its Arabic/Middle Eastern/North African element) would give him away as a vocalist from Spain. Sting and the Moors make for an intriguing combination of influences, and that works to Orozco's creative advantage on appealing, well-crafted tracks like "Estoy Hecho de Pedacitos de Ti," "El Viaje," and "Rarezas." No one will mistake Devuélveme la Vida for a flamenco album; there is no doubt that this 2006 release is anything other than pop/rock that just happens to be in Spanish. But still, Orozco has a vocal style that is identifiably España (at least for Spanish speakers), no matter how much he has been affected by British icon Sting. Between the intrigue factor, the solid songwriting, and the charismatic performances, Orozco brings a lot to the table on this engaging CD.

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