Energipsy

Tamborea

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In the 1990s, lovers of Spanish flamenco had a lot to choose from. Older purists favored the more traditional artists, while younger listeners comprised a huge audience for the hybrid sounds of flamenco nuevo (which had been going strong since the 1970s). Emerging in the 1990s, Energypsy was among the modern Gypsy groups that were doing their part to keep flamenco and rumba fresh and interesting. An excellent, risk-taking CD, Tamborea isn't for purists. For singers/guitarists Juan Cortes Banis, Bastian Contreras, Jose Moreno and Melchor Munoz, flamenco and rumba are things to experiment with and combine with Latin pop, Afro-Cuban salsa, jazz or European dance music. Listeners will notice that the modal number "Ay, Que Calor" has a lot in common with Middle Eastern music -- this is because the musical influence of the Islamic Moors remained in Spain long after Moors and Jews were violently forced out of the country by Catholics in 1492. Even the bloodbath that was the Spanish Inquisition didn't remove Middle Eastern harmonies and scales from Spain. "Vale," "Chica Bem," "Ahora Tu" and other infectious offerings are the work of a band that has learned a lot from time-honored traditions but refuses to be enslaved by them. In that sense, Energypsy approaches flamenco in much the same way that a jazz-fusionist like Pat Metheny approaches jazz -- with an expansive outlook.

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