Among Best Instrumental Albums 2012:
NewAgeMusicWorld.com: International Nouveau Flamenco ensemble Luna Blanca has created an exhilarating new wave of excitement with their new instrumental project in 2012 titled El Dorado. The cosmopolitan sound qualities of the 14 songs on El Dorado express the diverse ethnicity of Nouveau Flamenco with classic sophistication and grace. Recognized for their energetic songs backed by lively world music rhythms, the sunny casual atmosphere is the greatest musical characteristic of the band Luna Blanca.
El Dorado is an outstanding release expressing the inherent music qualities that first began Luna Blanca’s rise to fame and admiration as a leading Nouveau Flamenco ensemble. Like earlier album Provence, passionate acoustic phrasing and compelling world rhythms blend brilliantly on El Dorado. Based in Bocholt Germany, members are founding guitarist Richard Hecks, with pianist, and co-
El Dorado -
You can never tell where great music will spring forth from, geographically speaking. The musical world is shrinking all the time due to incredible advances in recording technology. As a result, it shouldn't come as a surprise that one of the hottest nuevo flamenco ensembles currently recording has its roots in Germany. Luna Blanca is poised to ascend to the top tier of that sub genre thanks to their newest release, the energizing and hugely unique El Dorado. Here is an album to play if you need to perk things up, as many of the 14 tracks are infused with enough sizzle and spice to make even tired and cranky music reviewers want to get up and get down! It's not as if nuevo flamenco is a staid, boring style of music (far from it), but what these cats do with it is like taking a recipe for some hot Thai dish and then, just for the lulz, throwing in some ghost chili peppers (the hottest peppers available). As if jalapeno or habanero peppers weren't hot enough, they go and really spice things up a bit.
The brilliance of El Dorado is how Luna Blanca put their individual stamp of fusion on flamenco music. Whether this is due to their German roots or some other factor is irrelevant. However founding members Richard Hecks (lead guitar) and Helmut Graebe (piano, organ, blues harp [harmonica]) happened upon this enjoyable wrinkle to the flamenco subgenre, I, for one, am grateful. Working with band mates Bino Dola (rhythm and second lead guitar) and Clemens Paskert (bass, percussion, additional keyboards), and joined by guest artist Christian Landgraf (additional keyboards on four tracks), the musicians start from a traditional base of Latin guitars and sensuous rhythms and spin out in bold directions, infusing rock, jazz, chill-
As I listened to El Dorado (many times, I might add), I started to think that what Luna Blanca is doing to nuevo flamenco bears an analogous resemblance to what the ground-
Things start off with the wonderfully gonzo out-
Now, not every tune here shifts into overdrive. Medianoche is suitably dreamy and romantic as the plaintive piano merges with gently strummed guitar, accented by harp-
I could go on and on describing the remaining tracks if I had more space, but suffice it to say that if you allow Luna Blanca to take you to this El Dorado, you may not discover gold, but you won't care because you'll be having way too good a time to even notice.
Rating: Very Good
El Dorado, by Luna Blanca
The latest album by internationally renowned German group Luna Blanca is an exhilarating journey through a variety of global music traditions, resulting in a vibrant mariachi/merengue world-
Luna Blanca’s unique style consists of Richard Hecks’s lead guitars, Helmut Graebe’s piano and keyboards, Bino Dola’s rhythm and additional lead guitars, Clemens Paskert’s bass, percussion, and additional keyboards, and Christian Landgraf’s additional keyboards.
Using nouveau flamenco as an anchor, Hecks and company fuse together such diverse elements as classical, Latin, European, Hawaiian, reggae, and new age. The result is continually evolving musical hybrids that are infectious and engaging, pulling the listener in and never letting go. The rhythms are tight and the guitars are enticing and seductive.
Although I have favorite tracks, the entire CD is a joy to listen to. This is not only one of the best guitar-