Celtas Cortos


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Celtas Cortos celebrate their 25th anniversary going back to their roots in Introversiones, a covers album in which they pay homage to their influences. Unsurprisingly, these come from a variety of international and regional sources, as the band is known for its pioneering multicultural combination of Spanish rock, protest songs, and Celtic folk music, at a time when the concept of world music was only beginning to take shape. The list of artists covered range from obvious choices, such as the Waterboys, the Pogues, and Dexys Midnight Runners, as well as traditional songs, to the less well-known Oysterband and Moving Hearts. There is also time for tributes to the recently departed Mercedes Sosa and Antonio Vega (of Nacha Pop), a wink to French fellow travelers Ar Re Yaouank from Brittany, and of course for their own Euskadi region, with the inclusion of forerunners Oskorri and contemporaries Kojon Prieto y Los Huajolotes. Producer Juan Ignacio Cuadrado, responsible for Celtas Cortos' first four albums, is back to strengthen the band's original Celtic roots that had been somewhat diluted over the years, and Celtas Cortos' mixture of rock's basic unit of electric guitars, bass, and drums with whistle, flute, and violin sounds as tight as ever. Unfortunately, as proficient and respectful as this album is, it seldom catches fire. This is particularly evident on their covering of English songs translated into Spanish, which -- with the possible exception of a blistering version of the Pogues' "Fiesta" -- rarely match the intensity of the originals. Perhaps the album's main weakness lies in that leader Jesús Cifuentes, while a thoroughly apt vocalist, is probably not on a par with some of the singers he is covering, thus blunting the emotional impact of the material. Even if the album was very well received by fans and critics in Spain, one cannot help but think that Introversiones is most likely bound to suffer the fate of most covers albums, and become a curio, rather than an essential addition to Celtas Cortos' eminently respectable discography.

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