Kindred spirits: Paco De Lucia, Al Di Meola, Django Reinhardt
Show: Monday at the Birchmere. Show starts at 7:30 p.m. 703-549-7500. www.birchmere.com. $127.50; includes digital download of album.
The Gipsy Kings recently received a Grammy nomination for their latest album, “Savor Flamenco,” and they earned it the hard way. The album is the first studio recording to feature all original compositions since the French guitar ensemble made its American debut 25 years ago. The album embraces a wide variety of
European and South American influences, and what it lacks in familiar refrains it makes up for in melodic charm and orchestral punch.
Back in the studio after a six-year absence, the Baliardo and Reyes brothers had plenty of time to arrange new tunes and recast older material. The two families, eight members in all, swiftly demonstrate the strength in their numbers, with Nicolas Reyes’s stirring Spanish vocals and guitarist Tonnino Baliardo’s dynamic solos leading the way. Samba, flamenco, tango, rumba and contemporary pop influences surface throughout, adding color and propulsion to the album’s most appealing performances, including “Samba Samba,” “Tiempo Del Sol” and “Habla Contingo.”
The band’s international popularity has had a lot to do with its flair for making culturally rooted music accessible to diverse audiences. That’s not easy to pull off, and some of the arrangements on “Savor Flamenco” come across as a bit too calculated. Yet the group’s trademark virtuosity and verve are as engaging as ever. What’s more, the showcases for flutist Stephane Chausse, bassist Bernard Paganotti, percussionist Rodolfo Pacheco-Jimenez and other guests help make this silver-
anniversary celebration all the more