Flamenco has so many different styles that a good collection quickly has hundreds of albums, so this is just a small selection to help the student understand Flamenco better.
Cante Flamenco – Traditional Singing
Guia del Flamenco de Andalucia (2005)
book and 2 CDs with 101 styles of flamenco song produced in conjuction with the provincial government (Junta de Andalucia). These are short pieces mostly 1 to 2 minutes, to demonstrate each traditional style.
You won’t be an expert after listening to these recordings but it will help a lot to get an idea of which styles you want to explore further.
Unfortunately it appears currently unavailable, possibly because it is impossible for everyone to agree what should be included in such an important guide.
Carmen Linares – En Antología: La Mujer en el Cante (1996).
In this historic collection leading singer Carmen Linares reproduces the styles of different famous female flamenco singers.
There are brilliant examples of traditional lyrics and singing styles, and also modern accompaniment by many of the greatest guitarists: Tomatito, Moraíto, Rafael Riqueni, Juan Carmona, Enrique de Melchor, José Antonio Rodriguez, Vicente Amigo [on Toma Este Puñal Dorao] and more.
Guitarists will also be interested in Un Ramito De Locura featuring Gerardo Nuñez as the guitarist.
Mayte Martín – Querencia (2002).
Mayte Martín has very clean, powerful and precise vocal technique and in this disc tackles some demanding pure flamenco.
Guitar by Juan Ramón Caro and Juan Carlos Romero.
Camarón De La Isla has over 13 albums plus collections and live recordings. The earlier recordings are accompanied on guitar by Paco de Lucía and the later ones by Tomatito. Camarón is not all traditional but marks the point of change between traditional styles and the first introductions of different instruments, orchestra and a more modern expression. All flamenco aficionados should be familiar with the work of Camarón. The Antología referenced above is a collection of 3 CDS, and the Paris Live is a classic live recording which captures the atmosphere of a big stadium performance.
Cante Next Steps
Once you are familiar with these and have a basic understanding of the flamenco repetoire, you can advance to:
- Specialist singers for each style (too many to list here, but many singers are famous for singing in certain particular styles, without mentioning specialist rumba groups and sevillanas choruses etc)
- Modern Flamenco: for example the discs of Enrique Morente include both traditional and personal and modern styles.
The disc of Morente singing the poems of Federico García Lorca is especially recommended.
- Fusion styles, listed at the end
Flamenco Dance Accompaniment
For studying guitar for dance, your collection should include Solo Compas series of recordings. These albums include tracks of only rhythm, tracks of song sections and full songs. These are very commonly used in dance studios for practise. So if you want to play with dancers or understand how the music goes with the dance, these recordings will help.
Sabicas – Flamenco Puro (1959)
Many pieces of this disk are standard part of the student repertoire. Good transcriptions are available but for intermediate-advanced players. The picado and other technical sections are as fast and difficult as any modern guitar piece, but the music is more traditional.
Alternatives include Paco Peña, Juan Serrano and the earlier guitarist of Ramón Montoya (1879-1949): all these will help to understand the basic form and origin of the solo flamenco guitar.
Paco de Lucia
The recordings of Paco de Lucía range from early recordings in traditional musical style like Sabicas and contemporaries, to modern jazz fusion with Al Di Meola and John McLaughlin.
Paco de Lucía – Fuente y Caudal (1973): if we choose just one disc, this is has a number of classic tracks for solo guitar which are also part of the advanced student repertoire such as Reflejo de Luna (Granaína) and Fuente y Caudal (Taranta) as well as fast Bulerías Cepa Andaluza and the hit Rumba Entre Dos Aguas. But really it’s impossible to pick one, get at least Zyryab and Siroco as well, and if you are serious you will probably want the Integral set of 27 CDs.
Tauromagia (1988) meaning “Bull magic” is a flamenco concept album considered by many to be the all time greatest flamenco album.
Rafael Riqueni is a much loved guitarist and composer who has created many creative and beautiful compositions in many different styles of flamenco. They are almost all impossible to play but delightful to listen to.
Rafael Riqueni has (July 2017) just released all his music online at rafael-riqueni.com. This includes everything even:
- Parque de María Luisa (2017) – the new album
- Flamenco (1987) – a rarely available vinyl, each piece a work of genius.
For guitarists, the early discs of Vicente Amigo are an essential part of the collection. They show innovative solo guitar compositions with introduction of jazz harmonies into traditional flamenco pieces.
The later albums are also great listening but more focussed on ensemble pieces and jazz-fusion songs. So get the set or start with:
- De mi corazón al aire (1991)
- Vivencias Imaginadas (1995)
Flamenco and Fusion – Modern Styles
Gerardo is a multi-talented guitarist who work is described as Flamenco-Jazz but really is unique and covers multiple styles.
Try the early discs to start with which have more flamenco solos, eg: El Gallo Azul (1987) and then Flamencos en Nueva York (1989) and later albums.
Pata Negra – Blues de La Frontera (1987)
The definitive flamenco-blues album.
Ketama 20 Pa´ Ketama (2004)
greatest hits album produced on 20th anniversary of the group and also their last recording
Chambao – Flamenco Chill (2002)
You may like it or hate it but with their first disc “Flamenco Chill” Chambao invented a new genre including electronic chill-out style flamenco.
This disc also includes some solos from Vicente Amigo – if you are interested in guitar you should already have the Vicente Amigo albums in your collection.
Lágrimas Negras – Bebo Valdés & Diego El Cigala
This is Latin music, it’s not Flamenco at all.
However Flamenco also has imported many types of music from Latin America, known as “cantes de ida y vuelta” such as Guajiras, Colombianas and arguably Rumba and others.
Here Diego El Cigala who is a flamenco singer with a great voice brings a special flamenco effect to classic Latin songs.
Essential for anyone’s collection.
Pitingo has developed a sophisticated blend of Flamenco and Latin/Soul music exemplified in the show and album “Soulería” which blends pop/flamenco/soul/gospel on both traditional flamenco themes and songs by Bob Marley, The Beatles, Police, Otis Redding y Ray Charles.