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CD Review: Chambao - Con Otro Aire

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Chambao - Con Otro Aire

Chambao - Con Otro Aire

Courtesy Sony BMG Norte

The Bottom Line

Chambao's brand of music has been self-labeled as 'flamenco-chill', fusing that unique Spanish gypsy genre with electronica. But with Con Otro Aire we can hear a new Chambao. The new Chambao has a larger orchestra, fuller sound and adds colorful Mediterranean elements for a unique and exciting listening experience.

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Pros

  • Big, bold, colorful tracks that mix flamenco, electronics, Mediterranean sensibility

Cons

  • Flamenco fans: light on flamenco, heavy on Mediterranean musical tradition

Description

  • 12 tracks of flamenco fusion
  • Guest artists: Estrella Morente, Enrique Morente, Camila
  • Released June 2008 by Sony BMG

Guide Review - CD Review: Chambao - Con Otro Aire

When Flamenco Chill, Chambao's first album came out in 2002, the band from Malaga, Spain was a trio. In 2005, 2 out of the 3 band members left the group leaving frontman and lead singer La Mari on her own. Now she's back with a new album and fronting a 7-piece band, still named Chambao and still playing a unique and eclectic blend of flamenco fusion.

In the past their music has been characterized as 'flamenco chill' but I think the new group has grown past that label. The original Chambao was a chillout brand of flamenco and electronica. The new Chambao still has the core flamenco roots and certainly electronics plays its role. But on Con Otro Aire, the dominent sound is often string instruments like the lute, saz and kanun with rhythmic percussion provided by darbuka, dahola, riq, davul and gunguru - all regional drums that give the album as unique a sound as the names of the instruments themselves. Put it all together and you get an album full of life, color and the unexpected.

Of the 12 tracks, 8 are new material composed by La Mari herself. The single making the radio rounds is "Papeles Mojados", a foot-tapping melange of instrumentation that seems to owe more to Turkey than Spain - but then, it works so well that who cares?

La Mari is joined by Mexico's Camila on "Yo Soy Quien" and by two big flamenco stars - Estrella Morente on "Lo Bueno Y Lo Malo" and Enrique Morente on "Respira". "Respira" is also one of the most interesting tracks on the album as it starts out with the sound of breathing, moves into chant and then to classic flamenco voice and guitar, all the while backed by exotic percussion.

There's so much going on with each track that it's pretty tough to describe. But why describe it when you can listen to it - and that's not tough at all.

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