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Album Review: Zabuca
Johannes Linstead
Cover image of the album Zabuca by Johannes Linstead
Johannes Linstead
2003 / Real Music
45 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Zabuca is a fiery, passionate Spanish guitar tour de force from Johannes Linstead. Linstead’s fourth album to date, the title aptly translates to “shake-up” or “to stir the feelings of.” There is a wide range of emotions and playing styles in the ten tracks, from the festive “La Cabanita en la Playa” and “Guayabera” to the gorgeous “Echoes of the Forest” and sweetly seductive “Eleni.” Linstead is joined by a variety of musicians on various percussion instruments, piano, flute, bass, cello, vocalizations, brass, and violin, giving this album a very big and full sound. The upbeat pieces are rhythmic and fun, and the quieter ones are warm and heartfelt, indicating how versatile this guitar virtuoso really is. Both traditional and contemporary flamenco styles are utilized, but this album is very much in the present. “Eleni” is a ballad from the heart that is passionate, a little melancholy, and a bit mysterious. The instrumentation on this piece is more spare with some lovely female vocalizations in the background, giving it an intimate feeling. “Echoes of the Forest” begins with the sound of running water, tropical birds, and other exotic wildlife; then the single guitar enters with flute and gentle percussion right behind it. From the liner notes: “Listen to the echoes of the forest, for soon the secrets they reveal may disappear forever....” Although the simple melody is sad, there is hope in the message - a very beautiful piece, and one of my favorites. Part 2 of the same piece has the recurring melody played on flutes with a gentle tribal rhythm. I also love “Heat in Torremolinos,” one of the more upbeat and joyous pieces. It isn’t as brassy as some of the other uptempo songs - mostly guitar, bass, and percussion - and has an infectious rhythm that won’t quit. Calling his music “nouveau flamenco” tells part of the story, but there are also elements of gypsy, salsa, and numerous other styles incorporated into Linstead’s music, creating a true world music vision. Even though this isn’t a style of music I usually listen to, I thoroughly enjoyed reviewing Zabuca. Highly recommended as music to wake up to! It is widely available from wherever Real Music releases are sold.
February 14, 2003
More reviews of Johannes Linstead albums
Cover image of the album Café Tropical by Johannes Linstead
Review by Michael Debbage
Michael's Favorites: 2006
Cover image of the album Encanto by Johannes Linstead
with Nicholas Gunn
Review by Michael Debbage
Michael's Favorites: 2007