Los arcos [Granaína]
Rizos de la mar [Alegrías]
Piedra adentro [Tarantas]
Mi sole [Soleares]
Maestro Mario [Zapateado]
Filigrana [Malagueña y verdial]
Arroyo Pedroche [Bulerías]*
Paco Peña (guitar) with Angel Muñoz (cajón)*
Recorded on 6 December 2006 in Wigmore Hall, London
Reviewed by: William Yeoman
Reviewed: May 2007
CD No: WIGMORE HALL LIVE
Duration: 61 minutes
Recorded live in Wigmore Hall in December 2006, this release comes 40 years after flamenco guitarist Paco Peña’s debut at the same venue, when such public solo outings were quite rare. Nowadays you’re just as likely to hear flamenco guitarists playing alone or jamming with jazz musicians as you are to hear them fulfilling their more traditional role of accompanying singers and dancers. That role is still not only an essential part of the flamenco guitarist’s training but the lifeblood of his musical existence, and this comes through in every note of this remarkable concert.
Both song and dance permeate and animate Peña’s arrangements, compositions and improvisations (those categories here so fluid as to become almost meaningless) to such a degree that you’ll often have to restrain yourself from leaping out of your chair to spin forth vocal arabesques while clapping and stamping your feet in a frenzy of Iberian passion. The torrents of rasguaedo, paseo, tremolos and arpeggios will simply prove too hard to resist.
Particularly fine is the opening, exploratory ‘Granaína’ (a rhythmically free prelude that enables Peña to ease the audience into his very special soundworld), the dark-hued and tempestuous ‘Filigrana’ (a Malagueña y verdial) and the Fandango that is ‘Rabanales’, in which Peña is enthusiastically accompanied by Angel Muñoz on a kind of percussive box called a cajón.
The recorded sound is excellent; commentaries on each piece by Peña and more generalised notes by Peter Bunyard are included. For my money, this is one of Wigmore Hall Live’s finest releases to date, highlighting as it does a very important aspect of a vibrant musical tradition and the artistry of one of its greatest living exponents.