» Advance audio from his upcoming album "Yerba Güena":
1. Yerba Güena (Oriente)
2. Yerba Güena (Occidente)

» Video: Live take from the rehearsals in Madrid.
Real Video

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The record will be on sale the end of May


Pepe Habichuela & The Bollywood strings
Daniel Muñoz

Pepe Habichuela (b. Granada, 1944) has returned to the recording market with a record in which East Indian music and flamenco mix with a simplicity of understanding that can only be achieved by veteran masters of each respective tradition. The guitarist who carried out this project is one of today's most respected veterans of flamenco guitar, but in addition to his experience, he brings to this project an open philosophy regarding musical adventures in which there is no place for affectation or academicism. Enrique Morente's right-hand-man on the record "Despegando", as well as in innumerable concerts, he hasn't devoted much time to solo work, in keeping with a way of being that is parallel to a musical style in which professional advancement and ostentation do not exist.

Pepe Habichuela's collaboration with Indian music has been seen and heard on many stages throughout the world in various formats. In 2000 Pepe accepted the invitation of the British-Indian musician Nithin Shawney to play in several concerts in Europe in a small tour which hit some World Music festivals that already included the violinist Chandru, and the critics were surprised by the easy rapport and the capacity for assimilation between both types of music.

Photo: Albert Casanovas

Chandru is one of the most sought-after musicians India's movie industry, the market known as "Bollywood", which surpasses America's Hollywood in sheer number of productions. "The Bollywood strings" led by the violinist, dialogue and interchange ideas in the studio and on stage. London, Bangalore, Barcelona... In rehearsals Pepe surprises everyone with his English which is as eloquent and straightforward as his guitar playing and, without a doubt, the sound of his chords is the first flamenco sound which has reached the ears of many audience members at ethnic music festivals.

Flamenco looks back and around itself. The Hindu musicians adapt easily to the compas of flamenco: their rhythmic language is far more complex than that of flamenco, so that seguiriyas sounds with impossible percussive phrasing and melodies that criss-cross in harmonies that make them seem familiar. Chandru, smiling, plays as if he were speaking straight to Pepe. Another new world has opened up for a musician who can be heard on the records of Talvin Singh, Bjork, and Ravi Shankar. His language is fluid and precise. Pepe coordinates the musicians via his versatile and knowledgeable guitar.

Daniel Muñoz
Translation: Estela Zatania

Images from a rehearsal in Madrid, May 8th, 2001

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