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Remembering Paco de Lucia

Posted by Rick Frystak, February 26, 2014 12:45pm | Post a Comment

Paco de Lucia

Today, the world lost a giant of music, as Maestro Paco de Lucia passed away, at 66 years young, from a heart attack at a resort in Mexico. “Paco lived as he wished and died playing with his children beside the sea,” said a statement from de Lucia’s family published on the websites of Spanish newspapers.

Paco took the Flamenco style and tradtition of the elders in the genre and blasted off into his own universe, to some early criticism, owning every note of his huge legacy and backing up all his moves with incredible chops and technique. I had many unforgettable chances to see Paco in person doing his thing, each a unique and unpredictable experience, except for the sheer technical mastery of his instrument always present. I also took away from these shows Paco’s palpable confidence, his air of “badass”-ness that deservedly asserted his own internal awareness of what he was doing in the moment. I lament his passing, and will miss him tremendously. Adios, Paco.

Fortunately we have much in the visual and audio realms  to see and hear Paco, and to mark the absolutely inimitable place that Paco held in the music landscape. The 2-CD set, En  Vivo Conciertos, won a Grammy and is a most enjoyable album, displaying Paco’s genius live, and represents the last tour he did almost exactly. Amoeba has some true gems of Paco’s here.

(photographer unknown)

Acid Rumba: Spanish Gypsy Grooves 1969-1976

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, March 13, 2011 09:59pm | Post a Comment

Acid Rumba
It took me a long time to warm up to flamenco music. My interpretation of Flamenco music came from living in the U.S. To me, Flamenco meant those awful guitar duos with white puffy shirts playing at restaurants or soft jazz instrumentalists such as Struntz & Farah or Willie & Lobo, who played what most Americans considered Flamenco. Then, there are The Gypsy Kings; do I really need I say more? On top of that, most Mexicanos have some sort of grudge against The Spanish for being one of our many oppressors. Even though I am first generation, I still held the grudge of my indigenous ancestors.

I soon discovered that Flamenco came from Spain’s Moorish roots and not from the awful Christians who conquered the Americas. In fact, the Christians hated it. The music was mostly improvised and lyrically has lots to do with love, life, death and sex, but mostly sex. Most Mexican music I love (Son Jarocho and Son Huasteco) has the same African and Arabic roots. I soon embraced Flamenco and dove into a much needed Flamenco listening session. My taste grew and I became a fan of Manolo Caracol, La Niña de Los Peines, El Agujetas, Camaron De La Isla and Paco De Lucia. I also became a fan of the new school flamenco: Buika, Radio Tarifa and Ojos De Brujo.

But until I started working at Amoeba, I had no idea there was a movement in the seventies that merged Flamenco with Rock, Funk and Psyche. The mixture makes perfect sense to me, as there are many similarities with the music. The minute I heard it I was an instant fan. Acid Rumba: Spanish Gypsy Grooves 1969-1976 captures that moment in time in Spain where the progressive movement met its past. Every artist on this collection is immensely talented. You can tell each singer and guitarist could kill it on the traditional front. From Los Amaya’s “Bailen Mi Rumbita” to the heavy meets sweet Morena Y Clara’s “Dejé De Quererte,“ there is no denying the fusion of fuzzed-out Flamenco Rock and funky rhythms. It was also a time when established Flamenco artists stretched out, as in Dolores Vargas "La Terremoto" and El Noi’s “Zorongo Rock.”

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Colombian-Americans - Happy Hispanic Heritage Month!

Posted by Eric Brightwell, September 29, 2010 03:00pm | Post a Comment

Colombian kids

In the US, the word "Latino" is used often, regardless of accuracy, as shorthand for a region's dominant Latino population. In the southwest it usually means "Mexican," in the northeast it means "Puerto Rican" and in Florida, "Cuban." Indeed, those are the three largest populations of Latino-Americanos in the country, although it goes without saying that there are many less-recognized groups of Latinos. Each have their own distinct culture, history, and place in America. This entry is about Colombians, who at an estimated 730,510 currently living in the US, make up the seventh largest Latino population, and the largest population of South-American immigrants in the country.

Flag of Colombia

The country of Colombia is home to at least 85 indigenous nations, including the Muisca, Quimbaya, Tairona, Wayuu, Arhuacos, Kuna, Paez, Tucano, Guahibo, Cauca, Guajira and Guainia. The main population of European immigrants to Colombia were from Spain. Basques, Italians, Germans, the French, Swiss, Poles and Russians also migrated in large numbers. Smaller but significant numbers of European immigrants include Belgians, Lithuanians, Dutch, British, Portugese and Croatians in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. From 1825 til 1851 the Spaniards forcibly brought uncounted numbers of slaves from West Africa. Syrians and Lebanese arrived from the Levant. Today, 58% of Colombians self-identify as mestizo, 20% as white, 14% as mulatto, 4% as black, 3% as zambo, and 1% as Native.

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Dia De Los Muertos

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, November 2, 2009 02:31pm | Post a Comment

Every year I look forward to building my altar for Dia De Los Muertos. It’s become more important to me than Christmas or New Year's, and most certainly more than Thanksgiving. It's time for me to take time out and think of those who have left this world and look forward to their spiritual return via memories, stories and offerings. Besides images of family and friends that have passed on, I like to include musicians and artists who have inspired me in some way. This year, many great musicians from Latin America and Spain have passed. So this is my ofrenda to them. Pan De Muerto, Chocolate and Tequila for all spirits who visit. I hope you can include the souls listed below in your altar or in your thoughts today.

Mercedes Sosa (Argentina)
Argentine folk sing and outspoken activist. Along with Silvio Rodriguez, Victor Jara, Violeta Parra and many others, was part of the Nueva Canción movement. Nueva Cancion was the mixture of Latin American folk music and rock with progressive and politicized lyrics. Mercedes Sosa is not only respected in her native country, but around the world. Her most recent album, Cantora, contains collaborations with the likes of Shakira, Caetano Veloso and Luis Alberto Spinetta.

Jorge Reyes (Mexico)
Jorge Reyes started one of Mexico’s first progressive rock bands, Choc Mool, in the late 70’s/early 80’s. He played both guitar and flute while incorporating many indigenous instruments of Mexico. In 1985, Jorge went solo and released a series of new age albums based upon indigenous Mexican culture. He performed legendary concerts at famous Mexican archeological sites such Teotihuacan and Chichen Itza and his music was used for movies and television shows around the world. Coincidentally, he had an annual Dia De Los Muertos show at The Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in Mexico City that was widely popular.

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Vietnamese New Wave - Part II

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 8, 2009 02:01pm | Post a Comment
Due to popular response, here's a follow-up to my initial blog on Vietnamese New Wave. For those of you who may not have read it, Vietnamese New Wave (less often called Asian New Wave) is not Vietnamese music. Think Northern Soul, a British genre of music that didn't come from British artists, but were beloved by 70s speed freaks for their common sound. At least, they didn't make it, but they took it, played it at dances, made bootleg mixes of it on tape and CD. The songs in the genre share easy-to-dance-to/syncopation-avoiding beats (setting it apart from Freestyle), easy-to-learn and obviously ESL lyrics, and are completely devoid of pretense or irony. My love and exposure to this amazing music is owed entirely to an amazing person, the flawless tastemaker, Ngoc Nguyen.


Vietnamese New Wave artists come from a variety of scenes including Italo-Disco, (English, French and Swedish) Synthpop and (German and Spanish) and Eurodisco. Beginning in the some time around the mid-to-late '80s, these bubbly, infectious tunes found an unexpected audience in the Vietnamese diaspora who disseminated these gems through the aforementioned mixtapes, parties and bootleg mix CDs which you can still find in Little Saigons around the globe.

We carry many of these artists at Amoeba. Most are found in the Freestyle section. However, a lot are found in, erm... Rock. So ask at info if you can't find something.

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