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Amparanoia
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Spain's Amparanoia have reportedly called it quits, with singer Amparo Sanchez's solo career already mapped out and set to commence soon. The band's blend of flamenco roots and global sounds never had the same go-for-the-throat intensity as Ojos de Brujo or the eclectic finesse of Radio Tarifa, but it's still damn good and will be missed. And as long as they're bowing out, it's proper that they're doing it right with this smashing CD/DVD box set featuring a 2006 performance in Barcelona and a disc of rarities and remixes spanning the decade that came before. Sanchez and company absolutely soar on the live stuff, tightly locking down tunes that move from flamenco and rumba to funk, rock, reggae and jazz with a combination of anthemic passion and celebratory energy. The crowd is with them at every turn, and even those (like me) whose understanding of Spanish ranges from rudimentary to non-existent will get pulled in, caught up and completely bowled over. All the visual fire of the same concert that CD #1 covers is on the DVD, plus a smartly done documentary that chronologically tells the Amparanoia story from Sanchez's perspective. Further evidence as to how solid this band was can be found on the studio disc, particularly the remixes, which hint at how Amparanoia might well have incorporated a little more of the cutting edge without tossing aside their largely organic approach. Whatever Sanchez has on the way, let's hope it sticks to the same high standards as this fond and fitting farewell to the group she no longer fronts. - Tom Orr

The artists' web site: www.amparanoia.com

CDs available from cdroots and cdRoots

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