Contemporary Flamenco

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Absoluciòn – Review by STEVE MOFFATT – Wentworth Courier June 2011

Contemporary flamenco group Arrebato Ensemble have cast a wider net for the follow-up to their well-received self-titled debut album.

A clue to this more varied approach is the addition of the word “ensemble” to the Sydney band’s letterhead. The five core members remain, led by superb guitarist Greg Alfonzetti, but on their sophomore recording Absolucion they’ve added the accordion of Leonid Beshei and travelled to Spain for two stand-out vocal tracks featuring local musicians. The whole project represents three years of hard work, Alfonzetti says.

Classically-trained cellist and multi-instrumentalist Damian de Boos-Smith arranged a choral part for the soulful title work ……..

Not so with Adriana Lopez’s singing on Tangos en Madrid, which has a latin-american feel, and Jose Gimenez on the other Spanish track, Solito en Madrid, a traditional “cante” with Alfonzetti’s own accompaniment.

El sol en la Clandestinad is a lengthy piece which builds to an ecstatic climax (“arrebato” is an exclamation of ecstasy or fury in Spanish) and features de Boos-Smith on oud. The Moorish mood is enhanced by Andrew Ponsiris’s soprano saxophone.

Ponsiris features heavily on the final track A la Mesa, this time on harmonica, underpinned by some lovely double bass by Dave Ellis.

The collection contains a little gem, The Room At Paddington, in which de Boos-Smith’s unaccompanied cello leads into a beautiful sensitive solo from Alfonzetti.

…….. Stuart Henderson completes the line-up on this album which was launched at the Opera House’s Studio on Saturday, June 11.

Recorded in de Boos-Smith’s Paddington home, Absolucion is self-published and represents one of the most exciting Australian fusions of world music, jazz and classical elements, with a little blues and rock thrown in.

Although the Spanish contributors weren’t there for the launch, Beshei was and his contribution on Verdades (Truths) was outstanding. As an extra treat the enthusiastic audience was entertained by some stunning dancing by Ana Interiano.

STEVE MOFFATT – Wentworth Courier June 2011

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