Saturday, July 6, 2013

In review--Showing the Way

Vasco Hernández
Luz De Otro Manera 
Arc Music 

From a healing and psycho-acoustic perspective I know that flamenco isn’t the most uplifting music in the world.  However, the music has cathartic potential in the way that blues, or even rock music has and I recommend flamenco music for working through stronger emotions (play this music for your angst-ridden teen).  Besides, the intricate guitar with its thick strums, husky vocals, and complex rhythms entrances us.  Some people find flamenco music romantic as it exudes the passionate life of people who live on the fringes of society.  As we get trapped in our everyday 9 to 5 worlds, wild abandonment possesses an appeal.

Self-taught flamenco guitarist Vasco Hernández brings that romantic and primal world to us on his recording, Luz De Otro Manera (Another Kind of Light).  Hearty music burst forth from this CD. And we hear an atmosphere of palmas (hand claps), global percussion, soaring vocals and Hernández’ extraordinary guitar.  The opener alone, Algarabías (Rejoicing) whets the appetite for more primal vocals laced with anguish and longing, more intricate guitar, and fascinating compositions with eyes on global music.  On Cal y Arena (Lime and Sand) we even hear tabla where Andalusia meets North India.  Playa de las piedras (Beach of Stones) does what flamenco does best and takes listeners deep into their souls where heartbreak is exorcised (aka duende).

Now making his home in Barcelona, Hernández cut his guitar playing teeth in Madrid where he spent his childhood.  Like many self-taught musicians, he plays his instrument instinctually and with wild abandonment.  An ensemble of fabulous musicians joins him on this recording, and we especially make note of the vocalists, DieGo “El Gavi” and Vanesa Lledó who add flame to the fire.  Speaking of fire, Luz De Otro Manera sizzles on the front burner and is worthy of your undivided attention no matter your mood.