Album Review of
Baró Drom

Written by Joe Ross
May 7, 2023 - 12:42pm EDT
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On his last album Gharnata, Spanish singer Luis de la Carrasca paid tribute to flamenco music’s universal geniuses like Antonio Machado, Federico Garcia Lorca and Georges Bizet with a variety of older and contemporary pieces. Now, on Baró Drom, the masterful musician offers personal compositions with original texts that evoke those same kinds of feelings of nostalgia, roots, family, as well as other values essential to humanity such as respect, will, love for others and for our land. Carrasca sings with a robust, clarion voice while also providing rhythmic hand claps.

Luis de la Carrasca’s artistic expression is meticulous and evocative as his sound explorations keep one foot in traditions and the other in the modern world. The singer surrounds himself with others who provide guitar, percussion, bass, piano and backup vocals. Baró Drom starts with original compositions like the title track, “Cuéntamelo,” “No Puedo Mas” and “Ella.” By track five “La Fueza del Destino” we hear a rather unique musical arrangement with just singing, electronic music and feet. “Caminaban” is described as fusion flamenco with an aire of India.       

Born in his grandmother’s cave house in the province of Granada, Andalusia, Luis de la Carrasca spent his childhood on a farm called La Carrescu (The Oak) and was introduced to flamenco s by family members who sang at parties and ceremonies. First a shepherd, Luis practiced his guitar while watching his flock of sheep.  Travelling to regional centers of flamenco allowed him to immerse himself in the music, listen to and study with masters. He then started working as a cantaor, meeting other artists and participating in additional studies.

In 1991, Luis moved to Avignon, France and realized that there were people interested in flamenco.  He set up an association "Andalusian Alhambra" and the “Flamenco Vivo” Company that gives young talent the opportunities to perform all over France and integrate the music into classical and contemporary plays such as "El Cordobès," "Ola Federico," and "Le Cid, la Légende Flamenco."

Luis de la Carrasca considers flamenco to be a bit like the Andalusian blues. He once stated, “Basically, it is a music of minorities, a fairly recent artistic form, about 300 years old, coming from the countryside, from the people.  Then, and as in many other universes from tradition, some artists have made it evolve to make it enter concert halls, in Spain, in France and then all over the world. It is a complete, ever-evolving art form that combines music, song and dance.”

From tracks 7-11, Baró Drom emphasizes more traditional flamenco from the public domain with “El Barquero de Cantillana,” “Los Dias Senalitos,” “Un Sabio que Lloraba,” and “Maria de la O” is a beautiful popular song featuring just singing and piano. “Buleria por Fiesta” closes the album with just singing and hand claps. The alluring and hypnotic vocals are intimate yet compelling.  (Joe Ross, Roots Music Report)