WBEZ | rumba catalana http://www.wbez.org/tags/rumba-catalana Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en A new kind of flamenco, with a Chicago influence http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-03-18/new-kind-flamenco-chicago-influence-83904 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-March/2011-03-18/El Payo Chicago.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A group of musicians is creating a new style of flamenco. Their twist? A touch of Chicago. Catalina Maria Johnson has the story of <a href="http://www.myspace.com/elpayo" target="_blank">El Payo</a>.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;<br /><em>MUSIC: El Payo</em></p><p>Chicago is a long way from sunny Spain, but a local group is bringing the heat of flamenco to the Windy City. El Payo has been playing together for about five years now. The four-member band is celebrating the release of their new compact disc.</p><p><em>MUSIC: El Payo</em></p><p>The cover of the CD tells the beginning for their story. David Chiriboga is the group&rsquo;s guitarist.</p><p>CHIRIBOGA: The concept behind it is a fusion; it has the bull representing Spain. The way it was painted shows that it&rsquo;s handcrafted, polka dots, flamenco colors&hellip;but the background, urban look, brick background, old window. It&rsquo;s our fusion where we&rsquo;re all put together the Chicago connection and the Spain connection.</p><p>El Payo bases its Chicago-Spain sounds on a several kinds of flamenco. On the one hand, they work off traditional flamenco. That music includes Moorish influences and was originally developed several hundred years ago by Spanish gypsies.</p><p><em>MUSIC: Traditional flamenco</em></p><p>Becoming adept at traditional flamenco skills wasn&rsquo;t always easy. Chiriboga himself started off by learning at the source.</p><p>CHIRIBOGA: It started with a first trip doing the typical backpacking trip through Europe in college. I brought back my first flamenco guitar and started taking lessons. That evolved into returning to Spain every few years, workshops, learning from the gypsies&hellip; The whole experience is kind of interesting. Learning, not a standard way of learning, but going to their house, it was pretty informal&hellip;</p><p>Though Flamenco music has gypsy origins, the name El Payo indicates the opposite. Raul Fernandez is the group&rsquo;s percussionist and drummer.</p><p>FERNANDEZ: Gypsies from AndalucĂ­a call non-gypsies &ldquo;payos&rdquo;. We do Flamenco, a gypsy art, but we are not gypsies doing flamenco. So, non-gypsy equals payo. It&rsquo;s jargon for non-gypsy.</p><p>El Payo&rsquo;s unique sound doesn&rsquo;t just end in traditional flamenco. Their fusions are also heavily influenced by &ldquo;rumba catalana&rdquo;, a genre that emerged in Barcelona. Chiriboga says the rumba catalana is distinguished on the one hand by its percussiveness.</p><p>CHIRIBOGA: If you&rsquo;re playing rumba flamenca or rumba catalana you&rsquo;re using your guitar as a percussion instrument as well, so basically every beat you are hitting the guitar, so you have to have something to protect it.</p><p>Another unique quality of the rumba catalana is its history. It mixes in other Latin sounds. Tom Kimball is El Payo&rsquo;s bassist.</p><p>KIMBALL: From what I gather, rumba catalana was Flamenco musicians inspired by music from Latin America, especially Cuba. The first rumba catalana, sounds like a son played from Cuba. It&rsquo;s an aggressive rhythm. It&rsquo;s part flamenco, part Cuba part rock and roll.</p><p><em>MUSIC: Older rumba catalana</em></p><p>El Payo then added a touch of Chicago on the CD.</p><p>CHIRIBOGA: The cool thing about Chicago we have access to Latin jazz people, Middle Eastern musicians, classical, it&rsquo;s perfect, we have Chicago influences we can bring in, maybe that&rsquo;s the Chicago characteristic of our sound, it&rsquo;s like a perfect spot.</p><p>This includes such musicians as virtuoso trumpet player Victor Garcia, well known in Chicago musical circles for his work with the Chicago Afro Latin Jazz orchestra, amongst other groups.</p><p><em>MUSIC: El Payo</em></p><p>Chiriboga says other instruments not usually found in flamenco were also included in the recording,</p><p>CHIRIBOGA: We did it to add extra colors and flairs&hellip;add what you can&rsquo;t add live. There&rsquo;s the oud and the cello on a few of our melodic songs.</p><p><em>MUSIC: El Payo</em></p><p>El Payo knows their brand of flamenco fusion may not entirely please traditionalists.</p><p>CHIRIBOGA: A little note for Flamenco police: &ldquo;La noche&rdquo;, it&rsquo;s based off an alegria. But it&rsquo;s technically not following the rules&hellip;we have just enough flamenco to get by.</p><p>Nevertheless, David Gonzalez, the group&rsquo;s lead vocalist and primary composer, says the inspiration for the songs is universal.</p><p>GONZALEZ: They are mostly inspired by love of a woman. Flamenco is a very good vehicle for that, a passionate music.</p><p>For WBEZ, I&rsquo;m Catalina Maria Johnson</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>El Payo will be <a href="http://www.yelp.com/events/chicago-el-payo-cd-release-party-w-los-vicios-de-papa-sonorama-at-martyrs" target="_blank">celebrating</a> its CD release at Martyrs tonight.</p></p> Fri, 18 Mar 2011 13:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-03-18/new-kind-flamenco-chicago-influence-83904