The simple title suggests a dry introduction to the Spanish style known for its virtuosity. But there’s nothing perfunctory about Miguel’s second album. From its tastefully designed DigiPack cover to the eight fiery tracks inside, this is flamenco at its finest. Miguel, whose family comes from the birthplace of flamenco in Spain’s Andalucia region, studied with masters such as Carlos del Rio and Augustin ‘Bola’ Carbonell. Now living in Toronto, where he works with his own ensemble and companies like Esmeralda Enrique’s Academy of Spanish Dance, he performs with a gusto he calls “full contact, hard-core” flamenco. Tracks like the tempo-shifting Alegrias en La and the spirited Rumba Tangos are take-no-prisoner affairs, full of rousing vocals, percussive handclaps or “palmas” and Miguel’s fleet-fingered guitar playing. Even quieter numbers like the meditative Trocitus (Solea) and the gentle Silencio por Alegrias are brimming with emotion. Siguirlyas en La Bemol, which starts out slowly and builds to a furious finish with rapid-fire strumming known as “rasgueado,” best showcases Miguel’s style: fast, fluid and full of passion.
Originally published in Penguin Eggs Spring 2013