El Combolinga - Arran: Cultura de Resistencia
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Various Artists
Arran: Cultura de Resistencia
Associacio Cultural Arran (www.arran.com)

El Combolinga
Fromaguetto Records (www.elcombolingua.com)

cd cover In addition to all the other ingredients forming the foundations of popular music in Spain (Moorish influences, the Renaissance, literary traditions, political turmoil, etc.), there are now Westernized strains like rock, ska and hip-hop to factor in. Cultura de Resistencia is a 41-track double CD sampler of some contemporary Spanish musicians who work in various dollops of those modern attitudes, with results varying as well. Fans of Manu Chao and Sergent Garcia will groove to the recurring use of ska, be it rockish (Discipulos de Otilia + Titot), Arabic-tinged (Banda Bassoti) or imbued with a kind of Celtic hip-hop (O'Jarbanzo Negro). Less ear-catching are the tracks by artists who pretty much go for unadorned rock, though the variables sweetening the mix include Safanoria's chilled reggae, the stately medieval stylings of La Coixinera, acoustic romanticism from S'albaida and Kalash's pan-Mediterranean/klezmer nuttiness. There's enough choice cuts to make it worth wading through the collection's 150 minutes, so long as you have the time and patience to spare.

cd cover A growing number of Spanish bands are building on the roots of flamenco, lacing it with Afro-Latin grooves, electronica, sparse but discernible doses of funk and rap cadences. Ojos de Brujo are the ones presently being hailed as having the best feel for this progressive rumba flamenco, but others are successfully getting in on it as well. El Combolingua's Daquipaya locks into a controlled but aggressive groove from the start, acoustic guitars and passionate vocals centered around drumset, cajon and other percussion while guest players add touches of Brazilian music, salsa, rock, reggae, techno and jazz that never smother the percolating elegance of the recognizable Spanish idioms. This band knows when to stick in a percussion break, a dub passage or vocal or instrumental hook to grab your attention, and they have the musical and compositional skills to hold it. Recommended. - Tom Orr


Audio samples and CD available from cdRoots:
El Combolinga

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