Gipsy Kings

Love & Liberte

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After their internationally successful 1988 self-titled debut, few have followed the the Gypsy Kings' noteworthy fusion of their distinctive flamenco-inflected pop with other international influences. Love & Liberte, a 1994 Elektra Records release, is one of their few compilations of all-new material, one that demonstrates this growth perhaps more than any of their other projects. One of their more extravagant songs, "No Vivire" implements a prominent bassline and strong brass accents in the chorus. Equally pleasant but slightly less authentic, "Escucha Me" crosses their Spanish guitar sound with a full reggae ensemble. The album's zenith hits with two instrumental tracks, "Guitarra Negra" and "Love and Liberte." "Guitarra Negra" shows off castanets with bongos. Every few bars, the intensity seems to reach a peak, only to retreat and regroup for another charge. The title track evolves slowly, with a gradual guitar and bass crescendo highlighted by a series of sparse piano chords on selected downbeats for emphasis. Though not as energetic as their best work, Love and Liberte is still an easy album for a Gypsy Kings fan to appreciate.

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