Beginner’s Guide to Flamenco

LABELS: Nascente
ALBUM TITLE: Beginner’s Guide to Flamenco
WORKS: Various


An early emigration from the Indian subcontinent is thought to be what gave rise to Roma or Gypsy culture in Europe, which adds a touch of magic and magnificence to whatever local roots music scene it finds itself in. For an authoritative take on the recent history of Spain’s wild, soulful Gypsy music, look no further than the generous three-disc compilation, BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO FLAMENCO.

Flamenco is showcased here in all its moods – a knowing array of fusions of flamenco and other styles such as jazz and Indian music (the late, lamented Jan Fairley, the album’s compiler and a flamenco aficionado, provides illuminating sleeve notes). The collaboration between guitarist Pepe Habichuela and the Bollywood Strings offers a reminder of how the Roma diaspora’s roots lie in the Indian subcontinent. Then there are leftfield surprises such as Cairo-born accordionist Ali Khattab. Completists may bemoan the absence of some luminaries and historically important artists, but the limitations of licensing from major labels probably accounts for this. 


Jon Lusk