España is a compilation of Spanish songs or “contemporary”, “accessible” songs, as the publicity takes care to point out. “[A] captivating mix of songs by contemporary artists from across Spain, showcasing the country’s diverse yet accessible music styles.” This means nu-trad, pop-trad, family friendly hip-hop trad, cordial jazzy piano over amiable flamenco guitar, and so forth. Biella Nuei comes from the north with an accordion to remind the listener that Spain borders France, and Peret, with his flamenco voice, points out the existence of Catalan rumba, and Uxía from coastal Galicia sings with a tidal swing. The compilers have aimed for Putumayo’s usual easygoing, catchy aesthetic—their in-house style—and hit it without faltering. There’s something to admire about the idea of palatable diversity. Like good special-effects people, they make it seem effortless.
// Notes from the Road
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