Seven songs you didn't know were flamenco

George Mills
George Mills - [email protected]
Seven songs you didn't know were flamenco

To mark the death of Spanish guitar great Paco de Lucía on Tuesday, the Local has put together a collection of songs that have helped break down the barriers between flamenco, rock, jazz and world music.


With Paco de Lucía's death Spain has lost one of its great flamenco ambassadors. 

But the guitarist from the southern city of Algeciras was far from being a flamenco purist. His experimental mixing of the Spanish music form with jazz and Latin music helped make flamenco a truly international art form.  

Here are seven songs highlighting the cross pollination of flamenco with other music forms.

They show that the uniquely Spanish music is far from static, but is instead constantly involving. Love them or hate them, they will make you see flamenco in a whole different way.

1) Diego el Cigalo (singer) and Bebo Valdes (piano)

This match made of heaven blended sweet Cuban rhythms and flamenco vocals.

Their 2003 album Lágrimas Negras (Black Tears) was an international success.

2) Sabicas and Joe Beck

Flamenco also clashed head on with rock music, including this 1970s collaboration between flamenco guitarist Sabicas and rock musician Joe Beck.

About two and half minutes into the song, Spanish-style guitar noodling gives way to a full rock out, screeching solos included.

3) Pata Negra

But perhaps the greatest meeting of rock and flamenco was in the form of the Seville group Pata Negra.

In the video below joint group founder Raimundo Amador performs their song Yo me Quedo en Sevilla (I will stay in Seville) with Antonio Carmona.

4) Radio Tarifa 

The world music band Radio Tarifa — named for an imaginary radio station in Tarifa, the southern most point on the Spanish mainland — ploughed their own furrow.

Their music was a unique amalgam of Arab influences, flamenco and rock. 

5. Ketama

To see what other directions flamenco has gone in, here is the Madrid band Ketama mixing salsa and funk in No Estamos Lokos (We're Not Crazy) from 1995.

6) Flamenco meets Senegal

Ketama also recorded two wonderful albums with top Senegalese musicians including the kora player Toumani Diabete.

7) Chambao

Present day flamenco is a many-headed beast. Representing flamenco chill is Chambao, from Malaga in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia.

Their blend of electronic and flamenco elements is as far away from traditional flamenco is at is possible to be.  

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