'Alegria' (Segell microscopi 2022) is the first album by FlamenGrass, a new line-up of four musicians who all have extended and prestigious roots in the world of acoustic music, with a renown history both nationally and internationally.
Alegria was not a planned project, it grew from its members, out of their respective backgrounds and influences: the two voices of Carol Duran and Maribel Rivero, their violin and double bass instruments, Lluis Gómez with the banjo and Javier Vaquero's flamenco guitar.
It is a project that grew from a deep love for mixing music and the desire to share different styles like Old-Time, Sephardic music and Flamenco.
ABOUT THE TUNES
La Flor, the song that opens the album, is an original composition that Lluís dedicated to his father, combining a melody reminiscent of North American Fiddle Tunes with the popular Andalusian Cadence.
Abenamar, a Sephardic song that has resonated in Maribel's ears since the days of her childhood, now decorated with a guitar and banjo introduction.
Javi's arrangements of the band's ideas and the color of the flamenco guitar he adds makes an interesting twist to the initial idea on songs like Grant por Bulerías.
In Imatges you can listen to Lluís playing with the flamenco language on the banjo, while the voices of Maribel, Carol, Martino Coppo, Sharon Lombardi and Jean Marie Redon introduce some brushstrokes in the form of phrases in different languages that accompany us until the Bulería that closes the theme.
Alegria and Station to my Heart are two songs by Carol; Alegria, translated to English as joy, is the emotion that many of us felt to come back to life and that gives the album its title. They are Tangos from Cádiz that, with the contributions of Javi and Lluís, enter a different sound. Station to my Heart, with the train motif so present in North American folklore, is full of movement, encounters and misunderstandings.
Quan s’atura el temps, a beautiful reflection of the confinement that we lived through in 2020.
Zorongo Gitano and Nel Pozu are two songs that Maribel fell in love with, adopted and were arranged by the band.
And RumbaGrass, composed by Carol and Lluís with Carol's vision of the rhythmic proximity between Rumba and Bluegrass.
In short, the soundtrack of a time lived by four very disparate musicians, united in a musical project: FlamenGrass.
WHAT DO THEY SAY
“This is a magnificent album and a powerful statement. Four masters of their instruments, all steeped in their own musical culture, have completely bought in to Lluís's vision and produced an album that is sometimes joyous, sometimes soulful, always delightful.
I am excited to see this album and wish lots of success to Lluís, Maribel, Carol and Javier as they take it on the road.”
Christopher Howard-Williams, La Roche Bluegrass Festival director
“I love how Spanish banjo Picker Lluís Gómez incorporates his contemporary 3-finger seamlessly into this Flamenco-tinged material, on his latest recording.¨
Donald Nitchie, Banjo Newsletter’s editor
THE MUSICICIANS AND THE TECHNICAL INFORMATION
Lluís Gómez- five string banjo
Carol Duran- vocals and violin
Maribel Rivero- vocals, double bass and clap hands
Javier Vaquero- guita
Jean Marie Redon, Martino Coppo and Sharon Lombardi
Produced by FlamenGrass
Rercoded in 2021 at Dotze Contes Studio, Estudio Milana Bonita, Estudi La Mar Chica and Estudi Can Pastoret
Edited by Lluís Gómez
Mixed and mastered by Ferran Conangla
Graphic design and artwork by Marina Vilardell
Photos by Oriol Forn
A BRIEF STORY ABOUT THE PROJECT
Flamenco and Bluegrass are two musical styles that have many things in common, for example there is the use of acoustic instruments and the importance of both the voice and the virtuosity of the instrumentalists.
Throughout our trajectory in the world of Bluegrass, in our trips to the rest of Europe and the USA, many people became interested in the music of our land and asked us to play something. It was curious because what we wanted was to learn and play Bluegrass and somehow we felt estranged from our own tradition. It was during the pandemic, a gathering and a series of coincidences that this new project was made possible.
I have played with Carol and Maribel for many years on various projects. During Christmas 2020, Christopher Howard Williams recommended that we play at the Jam A Thon in California. In thinking about the repertoire, we remembered the interest of so many people for our music and we decided to add some traditional pieces and an original song by Carol sung in Catalan that talks about confinement. The acceptance of the new repertoire was a great surprise and made us think about adding more pieces and recording an album.
At the same time, during the months of confinement, my reunion with Javier Vaquero took place. Because of his interest in the banjo and mine in the flamenco language, we began to exchange some classes online, which naturally led to his inclusion in the original trio.
The incorporation of the flamenco guitar was fundamental, it was the missing piece, and we finally found the sound we were looking for. The project has finally taken shape thanks to the contribution of Javi with his ideas and arrangements.
Due to mobility restrictions during 2020 and 2021, this album has been recorded in several studios: Maribel, Carol and Lluís at home, and Javi at Can Pastoret studios— with a special mention to Climent, who has been a great help and advised us on technical issues. The process lasted about a year and was done in a very traditional way. Thanks to "home studios", one can quietly record at home, listen and appreciate what the rest of the band do.
This album contains ten songs, a mixture of traditional and originals, some with voice and some instrumental. With constant respect for tradition we wanted to unite these two worlds, so far geographically yet still very close musically.
The title “Alegria” is a play on words between the flamenco style “Alegrías” and the Spanish word for joy. To us, the word says it all and it is what we want to convey both when listening to the CD and in our live shows.
Alegria and YeeOlé !!!
Lluís Gómez is a renowned banjo player, violinist, mandolin player and composer known inside and outside our country, as well as festival director of Al Ras and Barcelona Bluegrass Camp and a professor at the prestigious campus in Virton, Belgium.
Throughout his musical career he has been in many bands playing folk, bluegrass, celtic music and jazz manouche.
Lluís is the author of several banjo and violin instructional books, and he publishes articles in specialized magazines all around the world.
Maribel Rivero, being a classical guitarist by training, she studied with Elisabeth Roma and Jaume Torrent, she has been working as a double bass player for many years. She has accompanied a multitude of artists on tours of our country (Bill Keith, Tom Corbett, Tony Trischka, Henrich Novák, Chris Luquette among others ...), she was part of the Canticela Chamber Orchestra, the Big Band of the music school of Badalona and the improv group MIS. She combines these activities with teaching in the Municipal School of Music of Premià de Mar and the project Badacordes from the College of Music of Badalona. She is part of various musical projects such as Barcelona Bluegrass Band, Las Violinas, Grazztrio and Swing 42 among others.
Javier Vaquero versatile guitarist who navigates the waters of flamenco and other styles such as rock, blues, jazz, etc. He has accompanied artists of different styles with Spanish, acoustic, and electric guitars, sometimes including instruments such as the Mandola or the Ukulele. Among the artists he has accompanied are Dyango, Los Manolos, Manuel Carrasco, Pepe Motos, etc. He has two albums of his own composition, flamenco jazz style with Mediterranean airs with which he has played in different festivals such as the San Javier Jazz Festival, the International Guitar Festival in Kaluga (Moscow), etc. and has shared the stage with renowned musicians such as Carles Benavent and Jorge Pardo.
Carol Durán, violinist, singer and composer of folk and traditional music and artistic director of the International Folk Festival Tradicionàrius and the Center Artesà Tradicionàrius, one of the most prominent stable centers of folk programming in southern Europe. She is a member and founder of the folk group La Carrau (1997-2016) and of her own project Soroll Blanc. In her artistic career she has also been part of folk, bluegrass, rumba and flamenco bands, among which the female folk quartet Les Violines, the Kamerata Flamenca project and the international tours of the female flamenco quartet Las Migas between 2018 and 2020 stand out. Currently he is also part of one of the most prominent Catalan rumba bands, Sabor de Gràcia.
released January 20, 2022