9th Annual ZMR Music Awards: El Dorado Best World Album 2012.
“This is not only one of the best guitar-based albums ever, but also one of the best records of music in general.”
“This is one of the fun, feel-good albums of the year, and one of the best world-fusion blends around.”
(Magle International Music Forums)
El Dorado has traditionally been the name of the fabled Lost City of Gold in South America and a phrase that has come to mean any ultimate prize. Now El Dorado is also the title and inspiration for the fifth album by the German act Luna Blanca, which has risen to become one of the most popular nouveau-flamenco groups in the world.
According to Luna Blanca leader Richard Hecks, listening to El Dorado is “a musical adventure that simulates a journey and search through South America looking for riches, but encountering both bandits and the good native people, music, rivers to cross, and the beauty of a new land including warm breezes and sunsets. El Dorado also is a symbol of everyone’s search in life for love, wealth, accomplishment and happiness.”
Luna Blanca’s first four CDs -- New Flamenco Odyssee, Magic, Guitar Island and the international Top 10 Provence, plus their concert DVD Guitar Island Live -- established the group internationally as a top modern flamenco ensemble combining melodic and emotional acoustic lead-guitar performance with rhythm guitars, piano, keyboards, percussion and other instruments. Luna Blanca has become known for their catchy and instantly-appealing melodies plus a Latin-oriented ensemble sound that makes the listener feel they are traveling to a warm climate to enjoy good times. The music of Luna Blanca can be purchased at their website lunablancamusic.com, at online webstores such as Amazon or CDbaby, and at many digital download locations such as iTunes.
Luna Blanca, based in Bocholt, Germany, was founded at the beginning of the millennium by acoustic lead guitarist Richard Hecks. The other mainstay of the group is pianist Helmut Graebe, who joined the group just before they recorded the first album, and now co-writes the music with Hecks. Both on record and in concert they add other musicians as needed to create their sound with drums, percussion, bass, one or more acoustic rhythm guitars, organ, occasional vocalizing, etc. On the last three albums, Hecks and Graebe have been joined by rhythm guitarist Bino Dola (a flamenco player much respected throughout Europe) and Clemens Paskert (who adds bass, percussion and additional keyboards). Paskert, who runs Capitol Sound Studios where the CD was recorded, also serves as arranger and co-producer with Hecks. On El Dorado more keyboards were added by Christian Landgraf.
On each album Luna Blanca has continued to get better and better, has become more popular, and has stretched themselves further musically. For example, on El Dorado there are some noteworthy new additions to their sound -- electric guitar and sound effects on “Desperado,” blues harp on “Medianoche” and “Rio Mamoré,” and honky-tonk piano on “El Dorado,” as well as some instrumentation they occasionally use such as trumpets (on “Los Ojos” and “Kolibri”) and string orchestration (on “Puesta del Sol”). Hecks explains, “The CD starts with ‘Los Ojos,’ the eyes, looking off into the distance where the explorers are headed, and the tune includes Clemens laughing with joy at the exciting and dangerous trip to follow. Some of that danger appears in the tune about a ‘Desperado’ who is eventually shot down with the sounds of a horse whinnying and bells tolling.” The people of South America love to dance and Luna Blanca likes to include a rumba tune on their recent recordings which led to the upbeat and highly-melodic “Guapa.”
The legend of El Dorado first came to the attention of the early Spanish conquistadors who began searching for the site in the mid-1500s with their quest continuing for hundreds of years. El Dorado was supposed to be a religious place for the indigenous tribes where gold and jewels were used in ceremonies to crown their new rulers. The fable lives on and has been used in many artistic endeavors in the past hundred years including books and films.
Hecks was a classical guitarist until he heard Ottmar Liebert (a fellow German who moved to the United States) on the radio. “That was the sound I had been searching for,” Hecks says. “It was the alchemy of uniting beautiful melodies with the intensity of flamenco. The romantic and melodious aspect that Ottmar introduced aroused my enthusiasm.”
On their debut album, Luna Blanca did versions of Liebert tunes, a classical piece by Chopin and “Johnny Guitar” by Victor Young from the 1954 film of the same name. On the second CD, Magic, Hecks and Graebe began writing original material, and found that their title tune and “Destiny” were well received. They also did their own distinctive new flamenco arrangements of classic rock tunes by The Beatles, Procol Harum and Santana. For Guitar Island, Hecks and Graebe composed all of the pieces except for “Robinson Crusoe,” the original theme from the 1964 German-French TV series. On Provence and El Dorado Hecks and Graebe penned all original material (with Paskert helping out on “Desperado” and Dola contributing “Conquistador”).
In addition to garnering airplay around the world with their music, Luna Blanca has had many memorable moments. They have performed at major concert events -- “La Guitarra” and “Noche de Guitarra” -- with international-favorite Peter Finger joining Richard Hecks and Bino Dola as the third guitarist. On their Guitar Island album, Hecks and Graebe brought in award-winning percussionist Sascha Pöpping. From that CD, the tune “Pastis” went to No. 3 on the Australian Indie Radio Chart, “Island Reggae” appeared on a Global Rhythm compilation CD, “Villa Azur” was heard on a New Age and New Sounds compilation recording, and “Rising Sun” was chosen to be on two compilation albums -- Café World Lounge and Goa Chillout Zone. On Provence the group had internationally-acclaimed keyboardist Uwe Gronau guest on two tracks. Provence went to #7 on the international Top 100 Zone Music Reporter radio airplay chart (and was named one of the Top 5 albums of the year in two award categories -- Best Acoustic Instrumental Album and Best World Album). The song “Gipsy” hit No. 1 on the Australian Easy Listening Radio Chart. The new tune “Desperado” has been selected to appear on a WOA Independent #1’s compilation.
Richard Hecks began playing guitar at age 12, initially inspired by Trini Lopez in the movie “The Poppy is Also a Flower.” Richard soon got hooked on the electric-guitar rock’n’roll sounds of groups such as The Shadows and The Spotnicks, and he played in the band The Condors. “Helmut is an old and dear friend of mine. We have known each other since our time at university when we played together for pure fun, mostly doing all The Beatles’ songs.” Eventually Richard became passionate about classical guitar and artists such as Andrés Segovia, and in 1995 Hecks hired a well-known guitar-maker, Hermann Hauser, to craft a custom acoustic. “I explicitly asked him to produce a guitar which would produce a soft sound which is why he made the top out of cedar.” In 1999 Hecks performed classical guitar music in concert with another guitarist and was pleased by the crowd’s enthusiastic response. After hearing the modern nouveau-flamenco sound, Hecks began performing in that style. “I have always loved discovering new musical directions and techniques. During my entire musical career, it has always been my intention to play emotional music capable of reaching the hearts of those who listen.”
Helmut Graebe began playing bass when he was 13 and remembers playing percussion on tin cans while listening to BBC Radio. Later he discovered one of his relatives had a piano and he taught himself to play that instrument. He also enjoys performing on a Hammond B-3 organ when he gets the chance. As a friend of Hecks, Graebe was asked to help produce the first Luna Blanca CD, but when he played a piano solo “just for fun” on the tune “August Moon,” he and Richard felt, “The new sound of Luna Blanca was born.” When Richard came up with the idea of projecting photos and original artwork on a screen behind the group during concerts, Helmut contributed paintings to use.
“In my early years as a musician, I never imagined I would turn my attention to flamenco melodies,” states Hecks. “But once I heard this style of music, I fell in love with the emotionalism and intensity. I also am excited about how this new flamenco sound deeply touches listeners from all age groups, all different ethnic backgrounds and all countries around the world. It is a universal musical language that can be appreciated by anyone.”
PUBLICITY: THE CREATIVE SERVICE COMPANY
Randall Davis (CreatServ9@aol.com) & Ruthe Forbriger (rutheCSC@aol.com)
Richard Hecks - Lead Guitar
Helmut Graebe - Piano & Organ
Bino Dola - Rhythm Guitar & 2nd Lead Guitar
Clemens Paskert - Bass, Percussions & Keyboards
Obsession (EP 2012)
El Dorado (2012)
Desperado (Radio Mix) (Single 2011)
Nuevo Flamenco (Compilation CD 2011)
Crème Brûlée (Radio Edit) (Single 2011)
Guitar Island Live (Video-DVD 2008)
Guitar Island (2006)
New Flamenco Odyssee (2002)
El Dorado (reviewed by Bill Binkelman)
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You can never tell where great music will spring forth from, geographically speaking. The musical wo...You can never tell where great music will spring forth from, geographically speaking. The musical world is shrinking all the time due to incredible advances in recording technology. As a result, it shouldn't come as a surprise that one of the hottest nuevo flamenco ensembles currently recording has its roots in Germany. Luna Blanca is poised to ascend to the top tier of that sub genre thanks to their newest release, the energizing and hugely unique El Dorado. Here is an album to play if you need to perk things up, as many of the 14 tracks are infused with enough sizzle and spice to make even tired and cranky music reviewers want to get up and get down! It's not as if nuevo flamenco is a staid, boring style of music (far from it), but what these cats do with it is like taking a recipe for some hot Thai dish and then, just for the lulz, throwing in some ghost chili peppers (the hottest peppers available). As if jalapeno or habanero peppers weren't hot enough, they go and really spice things up a bit.
The brilliance of El Dorado is how Luna Blanca put their individual stamp of fusion on flamenco music. Whether this is due to their German roots or some other factor is irrelevant. However founding members Richard Hecks (lead guitar) and Helmut Graebe (piano, organ, blues harp [harmonica]) happened upon this enjoyable wrinkle to the flamenco subgenre, I, for one, am grateful. Working with band mates Bino Dola (rhythm and second lead guitar) and Clemens Paskert (bass, percussion, additional keyboards), and joined by guest artist Christian Landgraf (additional keyboards on four tracks), the musicians start from a traditional base of Latin guitars and sensuous rhythms and spin out in bold directions, infusing rock, jazz, chill-out, and a few less definable but still noticeable touches. The result is music which combines the usual power, passion, and playfulness of flamenco with an assortment of new and exciting elements.
As I listened to El Dorado (many times, I might add), I started to think that what Luna Blanca is doing to nuevo flamenco bears an analogous resemblance to what the ground-breaking group Cusco (also with roots in Germany) did for South American/Incan music on some of their albums, such as Apurimac. By mixing traditional music styles and instruments with contemporary ones, including electronic keyboards, Cusco's signature sound retained the exotic feel of its ethnic roots but infused lots of cross-genre appeal. Luna Blanca hews much more closely to their influence's roots than Cucso did (the latter almost veering into synth-pop at times), but there are enough rock/jazz/contemporary touches floating around on El Dorado to justify my analogy.
Things start off with the wonderfully gonzo out-of-left-field stuff opening whistle and horn section that kicks off the CD itself on Los Ojos, which segues into a sexy midtempo flamenco number, but with the unique addition of tres jazzy virbraphone on lead melody, as well as contemporary beats, and that kick-ass horn section, not to mention the crazy guy with the whistle or the one who laughs maniacally at times! After that, some superb riffing on electric piano elevates the title track into the jazz-stratosphere, as it plays over a fast tempo flamenco guitar and drum background. Desperado opens with some straight-up electric guitar leads and a rhythm beat that will may have you envisioning yourself riding into a western movie (or perhaps the title is a reference to the Robert Rodriguez film itself that shares the track's title) about to face down the corrupt bad guys who are running the town.
Now, not every tune here shifts into overdrive. Medianoche is suitably dreamy and romantic as the plaintive piano merges with gently strummed guitar, accented by harp-like keyboards, but most of El Dorado is energetic, get-your-blood-pumping stuff, such as Dos Guitarras with a thumpy midtempo bass beat and the "two guitars" taking the lead while even more guitars blend in the background – not to mention the organ riffing at times! And then there's Rio Mamore on which blues harp mashes it up with flamenco guitar over an undercurrent of spicy, peppery beats.
I could go on and on describing the remaining tracks if I had more space, but suffice it to say that if you allow Luna Blanca to take you to this El Dorado, you may not discover gold, but you won't care because you'll be having way too good a time to even notice.
Rating: Very Good
This is not only one of the best guitar-based albums ever, but also one of the best records of music in general.
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The latest album by internationally renowned German group Luna Blanca is an exhilarating journey thr...The latest album by internationally renowned German group Luna Blanca is an exhilarating journey through a variety of global music traditions, resulting in a vibrant mariachi/merengue world-fusion sound unlike any other.
Luna Blanca’s unique style consists of Richard Hecks’s lead guitars, Helmut Graebe’s piano and keyboards, Bino Dola’s rhythm and additional lead guitars, Clemens Paskert’s bass, percussion, and additional keyboards, and Christian Landgraf’s additional keyboards.
Using nouveau flamenco as an anchor, Hecks and company fuse together such diverse elements as classical, Latin, European, Hawaiian, reggae, and new age. The result is continually evolving musical hybrids that are infectious and engaging, pulling the listener in and never letting go. The rhythms are tight and the guitars are enticing and seductive.
Although I have favorite tracks, the entire CD is a joy to listen to. This is not only one of the best guitar-based albums ever, but also one of the best records of music in general.
by Raj Manoharan - RajMan Reviews
This is one of the fun, feel-good albums of the year, and one of the best world-fusion blends around.
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Luna Blanca Combines Great Rhythms And Strong Melodies The new Luna Blanca CD is worth a listen. ...Luna Blanca Combines Great Rhythms And Strong Melodies
The new Luna Blanca CD is worth a listen. The recording, called EL DORADO, has such a great sound with new-wave-flamenco guitars in the forefront, plus piano, percussion and lots of other instruments and sounds carrying the catchy melodies.
This is one of the fun, feel-good albums of the year, and one of the best world-fusion blends around. Luna Blanca knows that when you combine great rhythms with strongly-melodic compositions, you have a winning combination that people enjoy and respond to. This CD is destined to go Top 10 on the international instrumental chart (just like their last album did).
Highlights include the lovely title track, “Desperado” (which includes an electric guitar part and wild west sound effects), the upbeat “Guapa,” and the slow and bluesy “Medianoche” (which includes harmonica). There is a nice balance of fast-paced, medium-tempo and slow, soft and gentle tunes.
This is perfect Sunday-brunch music that the entire crowd will enjoy along with their tequila sunrises and mimosas and bloody-Marys.
A winner throughout
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LUNA BLANCA/El Dorado: New age meets jazz meets world meets the happy sound of Bert Kaempfert. Wow. ...LUNA BLANCA/El Dorado: New age meets jazz meets world meets the happy sound of Bert Kaempfert. Wow. Vacation music seasoned with Ottmar Liebert and Strunz and Farah, leavened with a sense of humor that spices the groove. Leave it to a bunch of crafty Germans to act Spanish and search for the city of the lost gold. This cd is a gas. A bunch of gleeful genre benders at play, this is first class summer music you'll be digging all year. The party never stops and that's just the way it should be. Well done. A winner throughout.
Luna Blanca - El Dorado
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One of the perks of this reviewing game is finding albums that lift the spirits, bring a smile to th...One of the perks of this reviewing game is finding albums that lift the spirits, bring a smile to the face and sound pretty damn great musically. Well, I think I've found one this time! Luna Blanca is a 'nouveau flamenco' band from Germany and they have a huge sound for four or five musicians. You could be forgiven for thinking that you are listening to a James Last party album at times... Led by guitarist Richard Hecks, El Dorado is mostly upbeat throughout with a strong 'feel good' vibe that will enliven any car journey or summer garden party [weather permitting here in the UK]. Mr Hecks was influenced by another German guitarist, Ottmar Liebert, who has been mixing flamenco and latin rhythms for some time now - having several OL albums in the collection I can tell you that Mr Hecks was a fast study and is every bit as good as his predecessor. Luna Blanca consists of four musicians: Richard Hecks - lead guitar, Helmut Graebe - piano/organ/blues harp, Bino Dola - rhythm guitar/2nd lead guitar, Clemens Paskert - bass/percussion/keyboards, plus guest musician Christian Landgraf - keyboards. All four musicians have a hand in composing the music, but Richard Hecks and Helmut Graebe jointly wrote the majority of the tracks. El Dorado contains fourteen tracks, all instrumental but some have vocal embellishments - the titles are: Los Ojos, El Dorado, Desperado, Medianoche, Guapa, Dos Guitarras, Summer Breeze, Hurry Up, Rio Mamore, Dreaming, Kolibre, Conquistador, Puesta Del Sol, Desperado (Radio edit). The more I play El Dorado the more I love it - the music just lifts the spirits and makes the world seem a little better than it is. Highly recommended and one of my albums of the year.
Available from Amazon MP3, CD Baby, iTunes and other retailers for download or as a CD. For more information about this artist, album and availability visit: www.lunablancamusic.com
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El Dorado The boys form Luna Blanca are back again with their fifth album and in their very defin...El Dorado
The boys form Luna Blanca are back again with their fifth album and in their very definite style have delivered the good once again with a punchy, fun based rhythm which makes the toe tap and heart smile: all in the first track, Los Ojos.
This sets the pace for the rest of the album which carries the very grandiose title of El Dorado – the famed City of Lost Gold – a fitting title for the complex mix known as the nouveau- flamenco style.
Los Ojos commences a journey through South America, obviously looking for the Lost Gold, encompassing the many joys, trials and desperados encountered on the way.
Crossing rivers, people well met along the way, good and bad, (Desperado’s), taking their ease at the end of the day,(Summer Breeze) searching, ever searching, to discover whether the fable is a fable or there really is a stash of gold hidden somewhere in the land, is all told without a word spoken but the journey complete. Of course all with a dash of the Latin American rhythm built in.
Enjoyable, fun, different as only Luna Blanca can do with the meld of several different styles, the addition of Honky Tonk piano (good to see this one on the comeback), and blues harp – definitely inspiring.
Once again, a fantastic, fun filled album delivered by the masters of nouveau-flamenco in their own, very definite, extremely flamboyant style.
by Janet Mawdesley, Blue Wolf Reviews
Luna Blanca – Flamenco Music of El Dorado
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International Nouveau Flamenco ensemble Luna Blanca is now leading the way to worldwide prominence b...International Nouveau Flamenco ensemble Luna Blanca is now leading the way to worldwide prominence by their festive new release entitled El Dorado. The vibrant forerunner to Luna Blanca’s new album was their celebrated flagship album Provence, which in retrospect is, one of the best Nouveau Flamenco releases from coast to coast.
Luna Blanca has ascended to the highest summit as a group, nearing the verge of perfection with their elite signature song melodies that have carried them to international acclaim on every continent.
This time around Luna Blanca intensifies their musical fortitude by moving Nouveau Flamenco music to new elevations, where no artists before them have reached. The highest latitude of earlier success may be due in part to a precise focus on producing energetic song melodies. Created with true passion, it’s only natural Luna Blanca’s vibrant flamenco music appeals to a broad multicultural audience.
The Germany based band Luna Blanca, who regularly perform live concerts, have reached international prestige over the past decade and duly earned their reputation as one of the most popular Nouveau Flamenco music ensembles worldwide. The cosmopolitan sound qualities heard in El Dorado express the diverse ethnicity of Nouveau Flamenco with classic sophistication and grace, yet the sunny casual atmosphere is the greatest defining characteristic of Luna Blanca.
El Dorado is a remarkable new flamenco album by the straightforward presentation of Luna Blanca, and the inherent qualities of artisanship that first began their rise to popularity. It is clear to me that Luna Blanca has their fingers placed on the pulse of today’s popular Nouveau Flamenco music style.
Masterful in this new flamenco music release, founding band member and guitarist Richard Hecks, and co-composing pianist Helmut Graebe, select world-class musicians like brilliant rhythm guitarist Bino Dola, and Clemens Paskert, a dazzling performer on bass guitar, percussion and second part keyboards.
Luna Blanca clearly has a new reason to celebrate in 2012 with the release of their new El Dorado album. When taking into consideration the Top 10 radio chart success, glowing reviews and accolades given to Provence the past year, it’s as if their time for festive celebration is never ending with each passing year.
Luna Blanca has produced an exhilarating new wave of excitement with this new project in 2012 which nearly guarantees El Dorado will be one of the best and most talked about Nouveau Flamenco music albums during the year 2012 and beyond.
I can picture another year of honors and tributes, again with all glasses raised in a goodwill toast to Luna Blanca. Cheers!
Musique du Soleil - Luna Blanca, the newest wizards of Nuevo Flamenco
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Provence is the background score for an idyllic life along the Blue Coast of southeastern France, a ...Provence is the background score for an idyllic life along the Blue Coast of southeastern France, a place of endless Mediterranean waves, never-ending sunny days and a unique spirit of bonhomie found in very few places on earth. France is, of course, steeped in rich history, but Provence has Nice, Toulon, Marseilles, and Aix-En-Provence. Every city has a story to tell. There is adventure and drama around every corner and romance in the eyes and hearts of everyone you meet. Luna Blanca, the newest wizards of Nuevo Flamenco have put that enduring spirit into 12 tracks of laid back music with a casual aire.
For over a decade Luna Blanca has been primarily powered by the acoustic guitar of founder Richard Hecks and the piano of Helmut Graebe. Several additional musicians are added to the roster as needed whether for studio work or live concerts. Hecks began his vocation in classical music, but after being exposed to the music of Ottmar Liebert, his fate was sealed and Nuevo Flamenco became his inspiration. Graebe began his musical career on bass, but his piano stylings got him a start with the band. Joining the Flamenco duo on the recording are Bino Dola on guitar, Clemens Paskert on bass, and Uwe Gronau on the fabulous Hammond organ.
Start at Aubagne, get on the A50 and head east. It does not take long for the magic to come about as you travel the roads of Provence. "Driving", the opening tune to the album sets the course for adventure and fun. Great guitar stirs up the dust, get the blood flowing and makes promises that the days will be cheerful and light. And just think, Italy is just up the road.
There is a warm, prevalent wind that blows starting from the northeast of France all the way down to Toulon. It is called the mistral and when the wind blows, anything can happen. Luna Blanca's tune "Mistral" is a caper of friendly faces, jaunty attitudes and sunny skies. With the strong lead of Hammond organ, the tune is reminiscent of Hang 'em High, a very popular 60's song by Hugo Montenegro.
All I know about "Cote d'Azur" or the French Riviera I learned watching James Bond movies. From Menton to Cassis, it is the road most traveled on land and by sea it is the favorite docking port of any yacht longer than fifty feet. The crashing of ocean waves and sultry Spanish guitar opens the song and the book of romance. Cote d'Azur is a melting pot of many nationalities that have come from the far corners of the globe to imbibe is the wines, bake in the sun and to find the special someone that the stars has been guiding there all along.
The Cafe. It is the heart of the town. It is the meeting place for business, for friends and for lovers. The guitar sings, the dancers click on hardwood and the air is festive. There is the sound of constant laughter, the clinking of wine-filled glasses and the tapping of toes or fingers. But there is an underlying mood. There is the rage of a jealous lover, the deceit of a vengeful business partner and the subterfuge of deep, dark eyes and ruby red lips. In the tune "Cafe", the heart beats, the wine flows and the music lights the fires.
With all the levity and liveliness on the album, it was finally time to come back to earth and the tune "Gipsy" seemed to do that in a most melancholy way. Perhaps, it is more subdued than it is sad. The slower tempo and quiet chords changed the mood considerably, but we are none the worse. Maybe it is there to reveal one of the many facets of life on the Blue Coast and that we must take the good with the bad, the serious with the somber.
The album and the day close with the tune "Sunset". The sky takes on the colors of pale jewels as only it can on the coast. Amethyst and emerald skies mix with the gold as the day greets the night. Suddenly, the stars wink on and the night transforms the mood into one of quiet bliss. The night cools the skin, but not the heart and the music makes such wonderful and unpredictable promises.
This wonderful album puts Luna Blanca into the same school as Johannes Linstead, Ottmar Liebert and Benise. Their solar powered attitudes and love of music makes the album completely enjoyable over many genres. If anyone ever said, "Put on some lively music, please", this would be the album. Turn it up and enjoy.
"Rating: Very Good"
The quintessential Kings of Nuevo Flamenco
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Provence lies in the south eastern corner of France right on the Mediterranean and is beloved by pai...Provence lies in the south eastern corner of France right on the Mediterranean and is beloved by painters who rave about the “soft light” it offers. Renoir, Matisse and Pablo Picasso have all spent time and painted here. Apart from the title, another interesting thing about Luna Blanca is that they actually screen original artwork during their stage performances. The quintessential kings of Nuevo Flamenco, Luna Blanca (founded in 2000) is the brainchild of Germany’s Richard Hecks and Helmut Graebe and features driving guitars, lush arrangements and highly memorable tunes. Their latest work PROVENCE is a delightful 12-track ‘amuse-bouche’ with tunes titled in French and Spanish. Favorites include “Driving,“ a fast paced road tune featuring guitars and flute, “Côte d’Azur” with brilliant vocals and Mediterranean warmth and the sweet sound of “Crème Brûlée .” PROVENCE is a really evocative glimpse into the world of European New Age.
Together with Nelly Furtado and Neneh Cherry on “Café World Lounge” CD
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W.O.A Records, India's biggest International Independent Record Label, has partnered with Universal ...W.O.A Records, India's biggest International Independent Record Label, has partnered with Universal Music Australia to feature Luna Blanca from Germany on Universal Music's latest compilation 'Cafe World Lounge' alongside world famous artists.
Luna Blanca's song 'Rising Sun' is now featured alongside artists like Nelly Furtado, Neneh Cherry and Youssou N'Dour, who are all featured on the compilation CD Cafe World Lounge.
Luna Blanca's Rising Sun single is also one of the featured songs on the world famous compilation Goa Chillout Zone Volume 1 (W.O.A Records) and has also been on the No. 1 spot on various radio charts across the world.
"This venture with Universal Music Australia is part of our plan to grow larger and increase our network to support Independent artists so that great musicians like Luna Blanca can be featured alongside major artists like Nelly Furtado" says W.O.A International Founder and President, Oliver Sean.
Provence is the name of this admirable new release by Luna Blanca
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Luna Blanca is a prominent Nouveau Flamenco ensemble from Bocholt Germany that has perhaps become th...Luna Blanca is a prominent Nouveau Flamenco ensemble from Bocholt Germany that has perhaps become the celebrated toast of the town in another part of the world by naming their latest Contemporary Instrumental album after a beautiful region of Southeastern France, amidst the countries of Italy and Spain, with a seaside boarder along the glistening coastal waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
Provence is the name of this admirable new release by Luna Blanca, along with the region of Southeastern France highly prized by a warmer climate, gourmet cuisine and regional quality vineyards, creating the picture-perfect setting for Luna Blanca’s new release that greatly succeeds at intertwining these luxurious qualities of refinement into their own creation of beauty.
Luna Blanca selected the nearby locality of Provence for a good reason since many famous authors, poets, and painters like Vincent van Gogh & Pablo Picasso had acquired inspiration for their artistic masterpieces. After reading more about this region of Europe it became clear to me why Luna Blanca members regularly travel to Provence for their creative inspiration, and it appears everything was well designed during their masterful adaptation.
Luna Blanca is prevalent on an international level and where founding lead acoustic guitarist Richard Hecks, first trained in classical music initiated his crossover to New Flamenco and began writing the vibrant original compositions we hear today. Helmut Graebe is a principal member with spirited piano and organ rhythms and on Provence, Hecks and Graebe had an equal hand while composing their parts along with the instrumental compositions of talents Bino Dola on rhythm guitar, Clemens Paskert on bass, percussions, and added keyboards. Juan & Carolina provided some vocals and guest musician Uwe Gronau is featured on two songs playing organ and accordion.
First song Driving sets the contemporary surroundings in motion for this pretty as a postcard destination in Nouveau Flamenco music and where everyone will be able to perceive their picturesque connection to the region of Provence in the first few measures. Colorful in every way, Driving like each of the 12 songs are unique by their united but singular identity.
Gipsy & Francoise nicely exemplify this ever changing diversity since each have passionate melodies and charismatic rhythms which vary noticeably but interblend conclusively from song to song, representing one of many progressive attributes of this album in entirety. Mistral has a fascinating groove based melody with accented organ and keyboards parts exhibiting many fine upbeat runs in parallel time with exciting acoustic guitar rhythms.
Café has a tantalizing setting by trumpet and accordion refrains among progressive guitar and piano melodies which introduce an alluring arrangement to the surroundings.
Sunset & La Maison Bleue likewise display some great instrumentals plus the dynamic percussion rhythms heard on every song do more than merely lay the timing foundation for band members to build their melodies upon, so it is noticeable the percussion parts are a lively component in the total note by note Nouveau Flamenco atmosphere.
Crème Brulee is an inviting song given the calm serene impression and one that resembles Siesta, where moderately timed guitar melodies with piano accompaniment establish a comfortable mood of relaxation while also conveying at the very same time, a fine impression akin to white tablecloth elegance while the boldly accented accordion composition in Camargue introduces an elevated amount of European ambience by the intriguing sentiment.
Rosé is a song named after the house wine regularly served with the cuisine at local cafés and proportionate to the regional vineyards and fields of lavender, Rosé is an aromatic song for the senses too and while presented in more moderate time, the guitar and piano melodies fluently bring a fragrant bouquet of light ambience to the table.
Cote d’Azur is a majestic song finely poised by graceful half step guitar chords and piano counter melody which paint a romanticized picture of the French Riviera, concluding this song with the sound of coastal waters moving across the Mediterranean seashore, and with everything considered I wonder if anyone could ask for anything more.
Provence by Luna Blanca is an exciting new release, where admirable guitar and keyboard melodies express an anytime occasion for celebration. Together in unison, every member gives a brilliant performance and the spirited festive theme this new release portrays has the perfect entertainment setting. Casual and inviting by an open air sensibility, the members of Luna Blanca deserve every glass to be raised high in a toast of salutation. Cheers !
A Guitar To Tell Emotions
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After two projects, which were well accepted by the fans of the Flamenco, Richard Hecks is back with...After two projects, which were well accepted by the fans of the Flamenco, Richard Hecks is back with a new album, “Guitar Island“, in which rhythms with a Spanish touch and a yearning atmosphere describe situations of total relaxation.
It was in 1990 when a certain Ottmar Liebert celebrated his debut with “Nouveau Flamenco”. This album is dedicated to re-capturing the acoustic dimension through the simultaneous combination of rhythm and melody. Richard Hecks, who founded the ensemble Luna Blanca – with variable members – in 2000, allowed himself to be inspired by exactly this memorable production.
The debut album “New Flamenco Odyssee”, a clear homage to Liebert, or rather to the person, who allowed the typical sound of the Flamenco to be revived, was popular with those who appreciate the areas of the hot music. This also applies to the second work “Magic”. Above all thanks to the rousing live shows full of Mediterranean suggestions this German band has a large following of fans. The band gave rousing live performances such as that in Bocholt on the occasion of the “La Guitarra” in 2004 and in the following year at the event “Noche de Guitarra”.
Following on from the success they had achieved Richard Hecks realized the work “Guitar Island “ together with Helmut Graebe (piano), Bino Dola (rhythmical guitarist) and Sascha Pöpping (percussions), a CD with strong pathos, characterized by rhythmical suggestions and typical scenarios of Southern Europe.
“I love the Mediterranean panoramas, above all those of the South of France. The different landscapes of the Toscana also repeatedly manage to enchant me. It is exactly the images of these areas of land, which accompany me when I am composing and playing my music. If I take a step back into the past then I would like to go back to the year 1995. In that year I ordered my guitar from the well-known guitar maker Hermann Hauser. I had explicitly asked him to produce a guitar which should produce a soft sound. This is why for example the guitar top has been made of cedar wood. Going beyond these purely technical characteristics it was always my intention to play emotional music, capable of reaching the hearts of those who “listen”.
When was the cooperation with the other musicians, who accompany you in the production of Guitar Island, founded?
“Helmut is an old and dear friend of mine. We have known each other since the time at university. At that time we played together for pure fun, above all the Beatles’ songs. Bino was introduced to me by another friend, Reinhold Sprinz. I have known him for years, however it is the first time that we have worked together, the same as with Sascha. As soon as entered the recording studio there was immediately a great musical harmony.
One of the many sunny musical pieces of the CD is “Villa Azur”, which we have selected for our sampler. Where did the idea for this song come from?
“I often spend my holidays in the South of France, in a beautiful residence with the name Villa Azur. On a quiet day while I was sitting in the garden and looking at the horizon of the sea, the rhythms of a Rumba began to flare up in my head. When I returned to Germany these feelings flourished again and we developed the melody together with Helmut, whereas Clemens Paskert, our producer, subsequently added the trumpets in the studio. Every time I play this song, it appears as if I am returning to this beautiful place.”
Was the guitar always the instrument you preferred most?
“It is my first big love…. I began to play the electric guitar when I was a youth. In a band called The Condors. After this I discovered my passion for the classical guitar. I always loved discovering new directions of style, other techniques, various amplitudes of sound, however I never thought that I would turn my attention to the typical melodies of the Flamenco.”
And how did this passion develop?
“Everything began when I started to listen to guitaradio.com in the Internet. However, I truly became hooked with the production of Ottmar Liebert, particularly through “Santa Fe”. It was like a stroke of lightening. The Flamenco music became second nature and is now a part of me.”
Speaking of Ottmar Liebert…You have never denied being inspired by this artist: What fascinates you most about the style which distinguishes him?
“He knows how to unite beautiful melodies with the intensity of the Flamenco. An alchemy which always aroused my enthusiasm. Many classical Flamenco guitarists prefer to aim at the virtuosity, we on the other hand prefer the romantic and melodious aspect. Under this aspect Liebert is an important reference point“.
(New Age and New Sounds Magazine, Italy, Nr. 194, March 2009)