When it comes to the time honored art of flamenco guitar playing, few players currently on the scene are as fluid and fluent in the genre as Canada’s preeminent guitar master Roger Scannura. As flamenco fans await Scannura’s next recording, they are well advised to give a listen to his most recent release, Noche Flamenca, from his group Ritmo Flamenco. Having already released five acclaimed flamenco CD over the years, Scannura is also on the faculty at the York University music department up in Canada. Anyone expecting nuevo flamenco or anything overtly commercial or flamenco guitar designed for easy consumption had better look elsewhere. The opinion of this writer is not that the wide variety of nuevo flamenco guitar CDs that have come out in recent years aren’t worth a listen. Far from it. I think its great that guitar fans in the 21st century can be exposed to the flamenco guitar genre in any way, shape or form. It’s just that Roger Scannura & Ritmo Flamenco are the real deal and with a sound that harks back deep into the last century, they basically take no musical prisoners. Scannura’s flamenco technique is simply stunning and on his latest CD, you can hear Scannura performing a number of authentic flamenco techniques and styles including Bulerias, Rumba, Solea, Silencio and many more. Scannura is a living textbook on the flamenco genre and Noche Flamenca will simply hypnotize you with it’s successful technique Vs. content qualifications. Assisting Scannura on the eleven track Noche Flamenca CD are Laurence Stevenson (fiddle, mandola), Kevin Quevedo Smith (caja, djembe, dumbek) and Valeria Scannura (taconeo, palmas, castanuelas). If listeners could go back in time to Spain in 1909, this is the music they would hear. Pure flamenco music with no pretense or desire to be commercial, Roger Scannura & Ritmo Flamenca brings the guitar magic of old world Spain into the 21st century with style and passion. Hear it for yourself. www.rogerscannura.ca
Roger Scannura: Press
Roger Scannura & Ritmo Flamenco "Noche Flamenco "
Label: Own; Playing time: 45.09 min
From Canada an excellent CD of Flamenco music. Roger Scannura grew up on the island of Malta, and spent later years with some of the gipsy masters in Spain to learn the tricks and nuances of Flamenco. What we hear on this, his 5th, album, is proof that he has indeed learnt the trade. All the music is by Roger, and is built around his technically perfect Flamenco guitar playing. With "Ritmo Flamenco", Roger is joined by 2 percussionists - using typical Flamenco percussion instruments ß and a fiddle player who is giving the music often a lighter flair.
This is outstanding Flamenco music full of passion and energy, yet also full of beauty.
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CD Review of Roger Scannura Ritmo Flamenco - Encore on self produced @ jazzreview.comFeatured
Artist: Roger Scannura Ritmo Flamenco
CD Title: Encore
Record Label: self produced
Style: Gypsy Jazz
There are a number of impressive guitarists courageous enough to tackle
flamenco. Few are as convincing and awe inspiring as Roger Scannura.
Encore is a sampler from each of the Toronto-based Malta native’s four
releases. Each, judging by this, must be a stunner, as there is nothing
here that qualifies as anything less.
The opening “Burnin’ Up” offers handclaps, dancing (Ritmo Flamenco is a
Toronto based Flamenco dance company), violin and bass – at least.
Unfortunately, there is no credit given to the accompanying players on
the disc. The violinist is especially stunning. The guitarist, it goes
without saying, is breathtaking. Through the eight tunes that comprise
this delightful disc, feet play a prominent role. As with all authentic
flamenco, it is a marriage of the guitar and the dancer.
On the gorgeous ballad of “Marissa,” solo guitar takes center stage,
though the robust dancing is never tucked too far into the background.
The melodic “Summerwine” is heart wrenchingly beautiful. As on
“Marissa,” the dancing is accompanist to the player. “Angelica” is a
lilting number that showcases guitar work as fine as I’ve ever heard in
any context. Again, with no personnel listing on the insert, the players
go un-credited. The electric guitar that fills in here is superb.
The classic sounding “El Ritmo” is filled out with infectious clapping
and dancing, and “Colmenares,” with its slinky flute accompaniment,
along with the dancers, is hypnotic. The closing “Misterio” again is
made the more magical by the addition of the violinist, percussion and
dancing. This is a must-have for fans of flamenco music.
Reviewed by: Mark E. Gallo
Copyright© 2005 JazzReview.com®. All Rights Reserved.
Roger Scannura spent his childhood on the island of Malta and was immersed in music from an early age. He was trained in flamenco guitar by gypsy masters like Pepe Habichuela and has toured Europe and North America as a soloist and a music director for flamenco dance companies. He also is the founder and an active part of the Toronto-based dance company Ritmo Flamenco, with whom he released his latest CD Noche Flamenca.
The CD features 11 self-crafted dance tunes including bulerias, rumbas, fandangos and tangos, just to name the most popular styles. The opening track, "Noche Flamenca," invites the listener to clap his hands in the typical bulerias style. The fiery and passionate rhythm of this flamenco dance takes you immediately to some fireplace of the Gitanos somewhere in Andalusia. Valeria Scannura's hand clapping (palmas) and Laurence Stevenson's fiddle emphasize Scannura's brilliant flamenco rhythms.
Another wonderful dance tune is "En Malaga," a verdiales, or a dance with some stunning rhythm changes and the famous sound of the castanuelas.
I also love the more quiet airs like "Solea," "Silencio" or "Garrotin," where Scannura shows his sensible guitar playing. Stevenson adds his mandola to the beautiful taranta "Santuario por Manuel" and Kevin Quevedo Smith's percussions interfere with Valeria's taconeos (stamping the heels) on the wonderful fandango live performance. The CD ends with a last tremendous tango for Angelica, "El Surco."
Roger Scannura is a gifted composer and flamenco guitarist, and his music takes the listener to the fascinating world of Spanish gypsies.
by Adolf Goriup
16 September 2006
From the opening measures of Scannura’s sixth CD, the authentic verve of flamenco guitarist Roger Scannura and his imaginative quartet captivates the ear. This isn’t a commercialized, flamenco-like facsimile marketed with fancy cover artwork and flowery verbiage. Scannura’s knowledge of flamenco, coupled with his formidable musicianship, is organic and genuine. It’s no wonder he was the first flamenco guitarist ever invited to join the faculty of the York Music Department in Toronto, where he lives. Originally a native of the Mediterranean Island of Malta, Scannura studied flamenco guitar under the legendary Pepe Habichuela and other gypsy masters. It shows. On every track, his technique and approach to flamenco puro is confident and masterful. Eschewing the use of overdubs or electronic instrumentation, Scannura and his ensemble—including his wife, Valeria, performing taconeo (dance), palmas (handclapping) and castanuelas (castanets)—explore the full spectrum of flamenco’s emotional palette. Scannura is among an elite group of exceptional North American flamenco guitarists—including Jason McGuire, Dennis Koster, Miguel Espinoza, and Miguel de la Bastide (also from Canada)—who demonstrate, over and over, that one needn’t hail from Andalucia to be imbued with its soul.