Barahunda
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Barahunda
Al sol de la hierba
Nufolk / Sonifolk (www.sonifolk.com)

Listen!
"A la orilla del muelle"
This quintet from Madrid puts out a swirling collection of cantigas, jotas, and Sephardic melodies using a heady mélange of Spanish and Middle Eastern instruments and modes. Flutes, pipes, tabla, riq, accordion, and other highly saturated sounds come together in a mixture that is keen-edged but never grating. The focus of it all is Helena de Alfonso's strong, clear soprano voice. She just as easily handles a fast jota such as "A la orilla del muelle" as an ornately embellished Sephardic melody like "Yo hanino." José Luis Escribano's crisp darbouka on the latter is a standout. On the sultry, slightly jazzy "Luna roja," de Alfonso's wordless vocals intertwine with the rhapsodic sax of guest musician Javier Paxariño. "La matica" is a percussion tour de force, with echoing riq and ringing tabla bouncing off of one another. The overall sound has a majestic sweep and a danciness that never gets bogged down in over-arrangement. The rhythms, even on the slower tracks, are assertive, driven by bouzouki and deep percussion. The overlay of smooth flutes and sparkling bells and jingles give the whole thing a richly variegated texture. In contrast, de Alfonso finishes off the disc a cappella with the lovely, plaintive Sephardic tune "Nani." It's like a soft sigh at the end of this vibrant disc. - Peggy Latkovich

CD available from cdRoots

The band's web site: www.barahunda.com

Audio (c)(p) Nufolk/Galileo, used by express permission


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