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We have decided to eliminate the Spanish Music Room due to lack of interest. We were unable to find teachers interested in writing music reviews for this room of the Culture Club.

Many thanks to Professor Andrea Varricchio for serving faithfully as the Spanish Music Room for several years. Muchas gracias, Andrea!

December 2010

flamencoFlamenco Arabe 2, 2006
Hossam Ramzy and José Luis Montón
ARC Music Int. Ltd., Great Britain

Flamenco Arabe 2, by Hossam Ramzy and José Luis Montón, is an interesting mix of Egyptian rhythms with hints of flamenco beat throughout. It is primarily an instrumental CD with the only vocal by Maria Toledo who brings a definite flamenco style to the song “Pensando en ti.” The instrumental, “Amil,” also carries a flamenco beat and honors Montón’s Arab ancestry from Portugal. The other pieces evoke the musicians’ experiences in Ramzy’s native Egypt rather than in Spain as the title of the CD would suggest. Flamenco Arabe 2 is certainly a work that seamlessly blends flamenco and Arabic rhythms.
- Recommended by Andrea Varricchio, Music Review Editor, Professor of Spanish, Department of Languages and Cultures, West Chester University of Pennsylvania

November 2010

Dibujando memorias, 1997
Distributed by intempo

I recently visited Costa Rica and a friend suggested Dibujando memorias by Editus. Their website ( describes the CD as an evocative New Age musical journey through memories. The trio’s music is refreshing with a hint of tropical rain forests with the soulful sounds of Ricardo Ramírez on violin. The violin together with classical guitar by Edín Solís and percussion by Carlos Vargas creates an intriguing and compelling mix of soothing dream like melodies. Members of the trio composed five of the 13 instrumental pieces on the CD and Sting contributes “Herman Luna” (Sister Moon).

Since 1997, Editus has produced a CD every two years. In 2007, the trio composed the soundtrack for the Fundación Mar Viva’s documentary, Coiba: paraíso salvaje, about the island of Coiba in Panama.

- Submitted by Andrea Varricchio, Music Review Editor, Professor of Spanish, Department of Languages and Cultures, West Chester University of Pennsylvania

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March 2010

Rubén Blades Greatest Hits, 2008
Blades, Rubén
Emusica Records LLC
Universal Music Distribution

RubenRubén Blades Greatest Hits features Hispanic musicians Willie Colón, Ray Barretto, and Fania All Stars, established recording artists who began to feature Blades on their albums before Blades became a solo artist.

As the insert of the CD states: Blades is “the creator of the concept known in Spanish as ‘salsa focila,’ which means the ‘folklore of Latin cities; he is the “Panamanian singer/songwriter who will always be remembered as the vocalist who made salsa fans all over the work think.”

Each song includes special sound effects of the city to support the lyrics’ tale. Disco sounds are heard in “Plástico” while police car sirens wail in “Pedro Navaja” and the noise of a cantina is heard in “Pablo Pueblo.” In “Tiburón” seagulls and beach sounds contrast with the noise of the city heard in the other songs. This album represents classic salsa at its best. (Song lyrics are not included in the insert.)

- Submitted by Andrea Varricchio, Music Review Editor, West Chester University of Pennsylvania

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December 2009

Renovatio, 2009
Universal Music Spain, S.L. España
Available on

RenovatioBorn in 1972 in Barcelona, Antonio Orozco sings in cante jondo style and accent, true to his sevillano roots <> He has sold over 600,000 copies in Spain since his first album Un reloj y una vela debuted in 2000. His new album, Renovatio, is listed as number 2 on the top ten artist list on the Universal Music Spain’s website which also posts a Biography and Recent Events page.

Orozco describes his album title: “De la evidencia de que estamos sumidos en un proceso de cambio a todos los niveles es de donde parte la idea original de “RENOVATIO.” Del latín y conteniendo gran cantidad de acepciones que la definen -como cambio, reforma, rejuvenecimiento, reposición, regeneración, transformación, reactivación, innovación, resurgimiento, mutación, desarrollo, y una larga lista de etcéteras…”

Renovatio is a blend of flamenco rhythms, evident in “Llévatelo,” “Y no hay manera,” and “No vale dormir” and compelling pop rock. The poetic lyrics tell of new and lost love, fleeting moments in time, and love’s heightened reality.

-Submitted by Andrea Varricchio, Music Review Editor, West Chester University of Pennsylvania

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November 2009

Lo mejor de Andrea Bocelli-Vivere, 2007
Bocelli, Andrea
Sugar S.r.l. and Universal Music International B.V.
Available on:

Bocelli CoverLo mejor de Andrea Bocelli CD is the Spanish translation of the Best of Andrea Bocelli. Now we have a reason to bring Andrea into our Spanish language classrooms! Bocelli sings the popular love song “Bésame Mucho” by Consuelo Velazquez.  It is the only song on the album that was originally composed in Spanish.  “Vive Ya (Vivere), a duet with Laura Pausini, another popular Italian artist who frequently records in Spanish (See my previous review), would appeal to students with its message of living life to the fullest. Students will also relate to the duet “Vivo por Ella (Vivo per lei)” with Marta Sanchez. It is not until the end of the song when the listener learns that “Ella se llama música.” Bocelli’s solo songs sung in Spanish and Italian are more operatic and melancholy and may not appeal to the younger student.  In addition, the solo songs in translation seem to lack the emotion that is felt in the original Italian versions.  In “O’Mare e Tu” Bocelli sings in Italian and Dulce Pontes sings in Portuguese to the compelling rhythm of the Portuguese fado.  The CD also includes a duet with Celine Dion who sings in English.  Aside from translation glitches, the poetic song lyrics offer examples of the future tense and ser vs. estar and could easily serve as short readings  accompanied by music.  In short, this CD is an interesting mix of several different languages and is a fine example of bilingual recording artists.
- Recommended by Andrea Varricchio, Music Review Editor, West Chester University of Pennsylvania

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