The musical elements differ, but the wildly invigorating eclecticism with which Numidia, an eleven-piece ensemble from northeastern Spain, infuses its debut recording, Nómadas, brings to mind Ozomotli's equally bizarre, equally pleasing first release. Numidia's vocals are competently delivered in a quartet of languages, but it is the band's instrumental vision and mastery which set it apart, pride of place assumed by its unusual 'brass' section, in which both fagot (bassoon) and gaita (single-reed bagpipe) figure prominently.
"Polka Pik" is a dizzying, playful instrumental romp, beginning with an accelerating Macedonian dance, segueing through a gentle cha-cha into a wild beer-hall polka and back. "Bulerias" presents a brass-led interpretation of a form familiar on flamenco guitar, bassoon lending a desert air, horns threatening jazz, but all faithful to Juan Antonio Jiménez' guitar base. The best single song on Nómadas is "La Encina del Pensamiento," a forceful waltz beginning with percussion and a two-part brass introduction before erupting into a driven fandango featuring brass, the gaita-bassoon combination, and accordion seamlessly alternating in support of another Abad vocal, a marvel of tonal and textural diversity, one climax after another. It would be difficult to overstate the pleasures and surprises of Nómadas.
Nómadas is available at cdRoots
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