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Album Review

Benjamin Escoriza was born in Granada but has lived in Spain for the past 20 years; his usual gig is playing with the Spanish group Radio Tarifa, a trio that has made its name blending flamenco, Latin, pop, and North African sounds. On his debut solo album he sticks with those general influences, but focuses a bit more on the flamenco side. The result is something of a mixed bag. The instrumental arrangements are wildly eclectic but uniformly fascinating, from the complex rhythms and medieval-sounding reed instruments on "Paquita la Guapa" to the intense waltz of "Niña." While almost everything is wildly danceable, there's quite a bit of subtle elegance at play here as well: notice what the guitar is doing just underneath the surface of "El Cebollón," for example. The problem throughout this album, however, is Escoriza's vocal style, which is generally overwrought and sometimes downright harsh — it may be a stylistic quirk that makes perfect sense in the context of his unique blend of cultural referents, but it's really not much fun to listen to, which is a shame given the high quality of so much of the music itself. Fans of Radio Tarifa shouldn't hesitate, but others may want to start their explorations of Ibero-African fusion music elsewhere.


Born: 1953 in Granada, Spain

Genre: World

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Though artistically active both before and after, it was Benjamin Escoriza's time spent as lead singer and songwriter for the landmark group Radio Tarifa that introduced him to the world music audience. Born in Granada and raised in the heart of the Roma community in Spain, Escoriza was weaned on the rich flamenco and Andalusian folk styles carried on in the oral tradition of the people. Escoriza was well-established as a troubadour and expert on Spanish music's Moorish and Arabic roots when he connected...
Full bio
¡Alevanta!, Benjamín Escoriza
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  • 8,99 €
  • Genres: Latino, Music
  • Released: 01 January 2006

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