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Medina Azahara - ...En Al-Hakim CD (album) cover


Medina Azahara


Symphonic Prog

3.58 | 17 ratings

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4 stars Rock Andaluz, with a very special guest.

Spanish Medina Azahara released their eponymous debut album in 1979, last year this Rock Andaluz legend produced its studio-album # 19, so still going strong after 40 years featuring long time members Manuel Martinez on vocals and Francisco Ventura (aka Paco) on guitar. I own 3 albums: Medina Azahara, Se Abre La Puerta (including many Triana covers) and En Al- Hakim, this review is about the latter.

The very interesting element on En Al-Hakim is the contribution by highly acclaimed flamenco guitar player Vicente Amigo. He was born in Seville (1967) but moved at a very early age to Cordoba, one of the other known Andalusian cities. In an interview Vicente told that he was 3 years old when he saw legendary flamenco player Paco De Lucia on television, this inspired him to study flamenco guitar when he was 8. And at the age of 15 he got lessons from other flamenco guitar legend, Manolo Sanlucar. Soon the virtuosic Vicente got recognition, and he played with John McLaughlin, Al DiMeola and even his hero Paco De Lucia, along his work with legendary flamenco singer Camaron De La Isla. So high expectations on this album with the musical encounter between the very popular Rock Andaluz band Medina Azahara and the very popular flamenco guitar player Vicente Amigo!

Well, Vicente contributes on 3 tracks, and succeeds to generate a lot of excitement, and to add an extra dimension. First on La Guitarra: an exciting flamenco guitar intro and then virtuosic runs, blended with Manuel his emotional vocals, drenched in the flamenco tradition. In the second part harder-edged electric guitar and spectacular synthesizer flights, a captivating contrast with the world of the flamenco in the first part! In El Destino the climate is strongly blues inspired featuring wailing mouth organ and vocals, and expressive flamenco guitar, the Andalusian blues! The contrast between the flamenco guitar and the heavy sounding electric guitar evokes a lot of tension, unique progressive music! And finally Desde Cordoba, now Vicente duels with Paco Ventura his rock guitar, goose bumps, what an emotional and exciting experience.

In the other 5 tracks Medina Aazahar delivers a varied sound.

A typical Morish atmosphere featuring great vocals and Mark Kelly-like synthesizer runs in the first composition Al Hakim ' Otro Lugar.

Again strong and emotional vocals in a slow rhythm with tender piano, a bluesy guitar and moving elecric guitar work in the wonderful ballad Otono.

And simply structured but tastefully coloured up-tempo rock in Velocidad (catchy synthesizer lfights), Dejame Vivir (harder- edged guitar solo) and Tal Como Es (swinging piano solo).

What an unique musical experience, from Andalusia, the cradle of Rock Andaluz.

TenYearsAfter | 4/5 |


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