Speed Merengue

On June 2nd our compilation ‘Rumba Collection 1992-1997’ will be in the stores. There are songs from our albums ‘Solo Para Ti’, ‘The Hours between Night + Day’, and ‘Opium’, and a couple of previously unreleased versions.

There is a funny story about the new ‘Speed Merengue’ version of ‘Barcelona Nights’. A few years ago I flew to Miami to play guitar on a song for Nestor Torres, a fantastic flute player. I spent the evening before the recording with the producer of the song, driving down Ocean Boulevard. We were listening to latin radio stations and they were playing these really fast Merengue songs that were very popular. I called it ‘Speed Merengue’, which had the producer and his friend laughing hard. I told them it was the latin version of Speed Metal music. They said it was really something to watch people dance to that music, but we didn’t go to a club to find out that night. Anyway, I started singing ‘Barcelona Nights’ to the fast Merengue rhythms coming from the radio and decided that I should record a ‘Speed Merengue’ version of the song. When Epic asked me to put together this compilation I had a chance to release the song. See how you can dance to it!

Gitar Starr

Yesterday I received two emails from people who were emailed by somebody calling him or herself Gitar Starr. My guess is that he or she went through our online guestbook and wrote down addresses – talk about having too much time on your hands…

Anyway what follows are his/her statements always followed by my comments. And here is the person’s email address in case you want to get back at him…

viejin@hotmail.com (Gitar Starr):

Ottmar Liebert is not a flamenco guitarist, though he claims to be.

I play a Flamenco Guitar. I use many Flamenco Guitar techniques and rhythms, but I do not see myself as a Flamenco Guitarist. Flamenco is too small a world for me.

Ottmar Liebert’s music isn’t released in Spain, since he decided to do bubble-gum versions of their beloved Flamenco.

Not true. In fact the largest Flamenco music radio station Radiole uses music from my album Nouveau Flamenco for their station IDs. All of my CDs have been released in Spain and are available in the stores. I get email from fans in Spain regularly.

Ottmar Liebert is prone to temper-tantrums and has a snotty attitude. Ask anyone who has had to serve him or talk to him in Santa Fe. He has had this attitude since before he was famous.

At least I haven’t changed, huh? Temper tantrums maybe, sometimes, but snotty – I don’t see that.

Ottmar Liebert’s Nouveau Flamenco unfortunately, has many imitators, further spreading its popularity, mediocrity and myth that it is Flamenco.

Yeah, it is already better known and more popular than the real thing

Barcelona Nights is basically the theme to ‘I Dream of Genie’.

Somebody would have sued if that was the case, don’t you think?

All true Flamenco artists are angered by Ottmar’s cocky attitude regarding their art.

Hm, Chuscales has asked me to produce his album. Chuscales is as true a Flamenco Guitarist as anybody, anywhere.

PS: Hard to take anything serious that comes from a person calling themselves Gitar Starr!

Titles Choices

Reflecting upon this new record in the making I realize that it is actually quite a bit similar to my first album Nouveau Flamenco. It is bright and exuberant like its working title: Summer. It is colorful like a Summer garden and happy like the smiles of people on the first hot day in the city.

Summer has a very natural sound and not a single programmed drum or synth on it. Actually it has less programmed instruments than Nouveau Flamenco… this is my analog period.

These are the titles I am toying with. None of these feel perfect, but they are a good start:
Ode to Summer
Summer Flamenco
Verano de Alegria (Summer of Joy)

or maybe it should be an Italian title, because the record was inspired by our 7 week stay in Toscany in 1997…

Leda Battisti

Exactly a year ago we were in Italy – 7 weeks in Toscany – and on the radio we kept hearing an Italian band’s cover of my song ‘2 The Night’ from ‘Nouveau Flamenco’. In fact we heard it all the time and found out that the song even reached the top of the Italian singles chart. This Spring I am told Leda Battisti’s first single is out in Italy, ‘L’acqua al deserto’, and receiving a lot of airplay. I played guitars on 9 or 10 of the songs for her album a year a go in Milan. Now the single is out and the album will be released by Epic Italy shortly. Besides doing her own songs, Leda also sings on new versions of ‘Snakecharmer’, ‘Ocean Blvd.’, ‘Tangos de Tesuque’, and ‘Butterfly + Juniper’. In fact the B-side of the first single is her version of ‘Ocean Blvd.’ I wish her much success!

Irresistible Drums

The music is beginning to feel pretty irresistible with Carl’s drums on them. At the end of the day we record all of the songs on MiniDisc so I can listen to them in my car…

I make Spaghetti Carbonara for all of us at dinner time and we toast to our good fortune with a Pinot Noir…