How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
In the same manner that jazz is a musical genre not only because of its origins in the Afro-American cultural legacy but more important due to its liberating spirit, so, too, can flamenco music not just be bound to its southern Spain, Andalusian borders. Stavanger, Norway-based flamenco guitarist Asgeir Aarøen and classical violinist Bjarte Mo suggest, on their debut album, that flamenco music is already a universal musical language that draws inspiration and reference musical traditions from all over the Mediterranean, the Middle East, Balkans and South America without compromising its original passionate essence.
All of Danza de Andalucia's thirteen compositions were composed and arranged by Aarøen, who has his own distinctive styleexquisite, lyrical, nuanced and richand his guitar solos flow with images and ideas that manage to avoid overpowering the writing. Mo is an ideal partner, with his fiery playing, organically completing Aarøen's gestures. Bassist Magnus Rød Haugland adds a light, swinging touch, and percussionist Gabriel Cicaiza contributes Latin rhythms.
The most beautiful compositions are those which transform the flamenco sensibility into new terrains, such as the lyrical, chamber-like ballad "Dine hender i mine (Your Hands In Mine)," delivered with subtlety and refinement, or the gently cinematic "Natt i Netanya (Night in Netanya)." The title piece unfolds patiently through a series of detailed solos by Aarøen and Mo, augmented with dramatic flamenco dancing by Noelia Sabarea, but still has a cool Nordic flavor. Aarøen's emotional remembrance for his father ("Minner frå Enerhaug (Memories of Enerhaug)") features subtle and masterful performances by both the guitarist and Mo. "Tur langs elva (Stroll along the River)" is a more modern, lyrical piece, with Aarøen switching to classical guitar. The breezy and playful closer, "Sommarsong (Summer Song)," finds common threads with Norwegian folk tradition.
Aarøen and Mo offer an original, optimistic and inspiring musical vision.
Track Listing: Sommarflørt (Summer Flirt); Arabisk samba (Arabian Samba); Dine hender i mine (Your Hands In Mine); Natt i Netanya (Night in Netanya); På eventyr (Walkabout); En la Playa (On the Beach); Danza de Andalucia (Andalucian Dance); Tango; Minner frå Enerhaug (Memories of Enerhaug); Grito de los Andes (Cry from the Andes); Mot Midnatt (Towards Midnight); Tur langs elva (Stroll along the River); Sommarsong (Summer Song).
Personnel: Asgeir Aarøen: flamenco guitar, classical guitar, ukelele; Bjarte mo: violin; Magnus Rød Haugland: double bass; Gabriel Chicaiza: percussion, palms; Eddie Andresen: pot, shakers (3, 13); Stavanger String Session: Bjarte Mo: first violin, Eirik Stangenes: second violin; Wouter Raubenheimer: viola; Ilmari Hopkins: cello (3,9, 13); Saska Cvijanovic: flute picollo flute (2,4, 5, 7, 10, 11, 12); Noelia Sabarea: dance, castanets (6, 7, 11); Aina Schøld: vocals (13) .