Saturday, May 1st, 2021

C. Tangana, Gipsy Kings, Nicolas Reyes & Tonino Baliardo – Ingobernable

Inexplicable: how the two remaining Gipsy Kings have Scherzingered themselves individual credits…


John S. Quinn-Puerta: “Bamboleo” has been imprinted indelibly on my soul since childhood car rides, hours spent in station wagon seats with the Reyes brothers bridging the gap between flamenco and pop, leading to a fascination with Romani flamenco guitar and vocals that I still find myself indulging. This followed me to college, digging up albums by Amos Lorra and Diego El Cigala in record shops during the month I spent in Salamanca, pursuing a deeper understanding of the language my mother spoke to me as a child, that my father knew without hesitation from time spent with his grandparents, this unifier of hemispheres. Spanish is absolutely a language of colonization. Why else would my paternal family, from an island in the Caribbean, and my mother’s family, from the valleys of Colombia, share it with a European kingdom? I felt this even more in my time in Salamanca, when I learned a new name for this language: “Castellano”. It felt othering, as if the “español” I grew up with were something ugly and derivative, not the proper, European, Castilian. But Spain itself is a country of culture clash, borne of conflict between European Catholics, Muslims from al-Andalus, Sephardim, and of course, exemplified here, Romani. Reyes and Baliardo’s presence on “Ingobernable” strengthens its flamenco credentials, but also its cultural awareness, its understanding that Spanish flamenco, like Spanish culture, and the cultures that Spain has shaped throughout the western hemisphere, is itself a melding of disparate elements and experiences. Hearing this song was like hearing Paco de Lucía play with Al DiMeola and John McLaughlin for the first time. It was like hearing Rodrigo y Gabriela cover “One” and “Take Five”. For me, a second generation immigrant still coming to terms with what that means in the United States, it was a renewal of this lifelong love for the nylon-stringed guitar, of this distinctly Spanish style and tradition, changed, remixed, in a way I haven’t felt in a long time. 

Alfred Soto: Road trips in the Soto Chevrolet Celebrity station included several essential tapes: the first two Anita Baker and Basia albums, some Najee garbage, and Gipsy Kings’ debut. I know every strum, pluck, and yodel by this group Chuck Eddy once, in a positive review, called well-lubricated love goats. Anyway, these indomitable Spaniards outsing and outplay the talcum-voiced Tangana as you might expect; the surprise is how solidly he holds his own.

Nortey Dowuona: The gently plucked guitars are a fantastic idea, as well as the starchy claps filling the mix; the ropy Yeezy bass and thudding kicks sound great, but C. Tangana sounds both too thin to carry the tune and too flat to even lift it. SING FROM THE DIAPHRAGM DAMMIT.

Juana Giaimo: While Rosalía has been leaning towards more mainstream music genres, C. Tangana seems to be going in the opposite direction. I enjoy the instrumentation — especially how the acoustic guitar goes from sharp to gentle — but C. Tangana’s voice is quite flat. I’m not sure how I feel about the fact that my favorite part is when it’s autotuned!

Thomas Inskeep: Rosalía’s astounding first album sounded like the Gipsy Kings given a modern, female makeover; on his sophomore album, her ex has gone back to the source and brought in a couple of the Kings themselves for “Ingobernable.” It doesn’t sound retrograde, however: Tangana sings as sweetly as The Weeknd atop these flamenco guitars, giving the proceedings a contemporary feel. (Not unlike the musical example set by his ex, come to think of it.) 

Jeffrey Brister: I’m automatically predisposed to songs that have marching snare hits. Everything else is just a welcome addition.

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One Response to “C. Tangana, Gipsy Kings, Nicolas Reyes & Tonino Baliardo – Ingobernable”

  1. [extremely Robyn voice] I’m gonna love you like
    I’m ingobernable