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20 Pa Ketama (Grandes Exitos)

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Album Review

Celebrating two decades together, Ketama deserve this greatest-hits package. They've extended the idea of flamenco music in their time together, bringing in elements of jazz and rock to the music, and also linking it more to the Latin mainstream — where it sits quite comfortably. The collaborations here show the affinity of flamenco and African music, whether it be the rai of Algeria where they team with that genre's king, Khalèd, or, more surprisingly, a link to West Africa on "Pozo del Deseo" with Malian kora genius Toumani Diabate. At the same time, no matter where they go, they never lose track of their roots, frequently finding a sense of duende, or transcendence. Those who like their flamenco raw will probably be appalled by much of this nuevo flamenco, and at times the smoothing off of the edges can leave things a little bloodless. But look a little deeper and there's fire coursing through the band's veins, kicking in the rhumba. Admittedly, many of the tracks here seem to have been selected for their more pop sensibilities and accessibility — which doesn't tell the full story of the band. But there's still a great deal here to admire, in both playing and compositions. Those wanting the brief story should buy the single disc. Anyone wanting to delve a little deeper — go for the double CD.

Biography

Genre: World

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

A trio, featuring brothers Antonio and Juan Miguel Carmona and their cousin, Juan Carmona, Ketama is one of the leading groups of the "new flamenco" movement. Since releasing their self-titled debut album in 1985, the trio has directed the evolution of flamenco as a world-savvy music. In addition to their own albums, which fuse flamenco with salsa, Brazilian, reggae, pop, funk, jazz, and hip-hop influences, Ketama has collaborated on two albums -- Songhai and Songhai 2 -- with Malian multi-instrumentalist...
Full bio
20 Pa Ketama (Grandes Exitos), Ketama
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