Hailing from Seville (Andalusia, Spain), the folkloric quintet Contradanza performs a mix of flamenco (no flamenco on Tentenelaire), renaissance dances, Arabic music and jazz. In some respects Contradanza shares common musical themes and styles with Eliseo Parra and Aulaga Folk, other Spanish folkloric groups that mix traditions. But please don’t ask me to elaborate since I know little about this group and can find scant information in English except a stub on Wikipedia and a review of a previous recording.
The music on Tentenelaire exudes warmth and exoticism. Arab baglama, accordion, flutes (Celtic and Arabic), fiddle, bass, guitar, African drums, accordion, mandolin provide a backdrop for Ricardo de Castro’s laidback vocals. While the songs flow together seamlessly and at a similar tempo, careful listens to the recording reveal a Spanish Celtic tinge on Cigüeña, heard mainly in the misty flutes and fiddle. The song Volver al sur (not confused with Astor Piazzolla’s song of the same title), features jazz horns and syncopation. Negro conde hooks with its pop groove and swirly accordion. The accordion and dance rhythms on Calèndula could be confused with a Basque Country dance. And I’m guessing that Fandango parao is a renaissance dance. It certainly resembles the renaissance Spanish dance music I have in my collection.
Alan Lomax where are you when I need you? While I trip over my musical knowledge of folkloric Spain, I'll tell you to check out Contradanza especially if you enjoy hearty acoustic music performed for sophisticated audiences. I have a soft spot for Spanish traditional music and jazz so my hope is that I’ll turn you onto this music. Certainly I find it relaxing, while still stimulating the brain with complex rhythms, diverse timbre, and musical textures. Beautiful melodies sweep you off your feet which is fine if you're not critiquing the recording. I wish I knew more about this group because I'm falling in love with these songs.