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Album Review

Two years after the release of his full-length solo album debut, Pitingo con Habichuelas (2006), flamenco fusion vocalist Pitingo became a Spanish sensation with the release of his second album, Soulería. A collaboration with acclaimed flamenco guitarist Juan Carmona (of the group Ketama) and the London Community Gospel Choir, Soulería is a unique album on which Pitingo fuses flamenco with soul music motifs, dramatically reinterpreting a number of well-worn standards in the process. The cover songs include "Killing Me Softly" (originally released by Roberta Flack in 1973 and revived by the Fugees in 1996), "Gwendolyne" (Julio Iglesias, 1970), "Ayer" (i.e., "Yesterday"; the Beatles, 1965), and "Me Rindo Ante Ti" (i.e., "On Bended Knee"; Boyz II Men, 1994). Beginning with "Killing Me Softly," which is sequenced second, these covers are spread across the album, interspersed by more traditional flamenco material, and they bring an occasional dash of familiarity to the album. The performance of "Killing Me Softly" is especially familiar — perhaps too much so, especially with its English-language chorus — but it helped make Soulería a crossover success in Spain, where over the course of three months the album rose, rather miraculously for a flamenco release, to the Top Five of the albums chart. Those expecting lots of "soul" as billed in the album title may be disappointed, for the gospel choir is sparingly employed and some of the covers (e.g., "Yesterday") could hardly be classified as soul music. Yet if you accept the album for what it is (an album that employs soul music motifs in an otherwise pure flamenco context) rather than what some hyped it to be (an innovative fusion of equal parts flamenco and soul), Soulería is one of the more impressive — and certainly one of the most accessible — flamenco albums in years and is deserving of its popularity.


Genre: Raíces

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Pitingo is a charismatic singer from Spain whose musical style is a fusion of the high-wrought copla style of flamenco vocals with the smooth musical tropes of soul/R&B. His second album, Soulería (2008), a Spanish-language collection of well-known cover songs, propelled him to Top Ten success in his homeland. Based in Madrid, Pitingo was born Antonio Álvarez Vélez in Ayamonte, Huelva, in 1981. He made his full-length solo album debut in 2006 with Pitingo con Habichuelas (2006) in association with...
Full bio
Soulería, Pitingo
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  • 10,99 €
  • Genres: Raíces, Music, Latino
  • Released: 01 January 2008
  • Clean

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