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Various Artists

Ellipsis Arts

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Flamenco too often suffers from facile stereotypes involving vigorous three-chord passages and madly whirling women with roses between their teeth. What is frequently overlooked is the heart-wrenching, lyrical passion and complex rhythmic patterns heard in performances by the likes of Pata Negra and the great La Niña de los Peñes (who bears a certain vocal resemblance to late-period John Coltrane). Both artists are part of the rich and still fecund flamenco tradition, and both are featured in the three-CD set Duende: The Passion and Dazzling Virtuosity of Flamenco. The volumes are appropriately titled Passion, Magic, and Exploration, but these thematic categories blur, often bleeding into each other like the lines on a Jackson Pollock painting. Duende is perfect for curious (and romantic) amateurs like me; the collection is an invigorating stroll through the genre’s rich forest of feeling.