Various Artists

Mondo Flamenco

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To many, flamenco is Spain -- its essence distilled in music. And this compilation attempts to capture the many facets of flamenco that bring the transcendent moment of duende. And there's certainly a variety, like the stunning guitar work of Paco De Lucia, whose "La Canada" is a joy. But there are also artists who ignore the traditional barriers, such as Tomatito, whose track uses the very non-traditional flamenco instrument of piano, or Pata Negra, who makes their flamenco electric. The music grew from the Andalusian styles brought in centuries ago by Spain's North African conquerors, and "Coge La Onda," from El Lebrijano, takes the music home with desert rhythms and swooping Arab strings in an adventurous fusion that works perfectly from both ends. So while there's plenty of the tradition, like the great Enrique Morente, there's also ample progressive flamenco. Kudos to something well put together.

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