Sunday, September 15, 2013

Flamenco Arabe 2 - Hossam Ramzy & José Luis Montón

Flamenco Arabe 2 pretends to fusion José Luis Montón's flamenco guitar with the talent of Hossam Ramzy playing Arabic traditional instruments. Both Montón and Ramzy are extremely talented musicians. For what it's worth, Ramzy played with Peter Gabriel prior to the recording of Flamenco Arabe 2.

For some reason, I found this album tremendously disappointing. There are three possible non-excluding reasons for that: the first reason is that, after the work of Michel Camilo and Tomatito, my standards for flamenco-fussion are very high. The second reason is that I'm probably too tired of listening Mediterranean music. I'm going to give it a break, go back to King Crimson for a couple of weeks, and then come back. The third reason is that Flamenco Arabe 2 sounds like any modern Arabic music album. We all know that Arabic countries have had tremendous problems dealing with modernity in all aspects, and music is not the exceptions. For most Arabic musicians, modernity means using the same instruments that have been played in the region for the last 500 years, only faster and with some Western arrangements. And that's the problem with this album: it's too Arabic, up to the point where the influence of flamenco is lost. Nightclubs in Marrakech, Tunis, or El Cairo can play this or any other album in the top-100; listeners will not notice the difference. This blog makes a similar statement about this album, though using a more subtle style. 

The best song of the album is probably "Arena", written by José Luis Montón, who says the following about it:

"With this Cadiz rhythm full of warmth, I try to twin two towns and two sands: sea and desert." 

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