Paco Lara




The clap of a pair of hands is all it takes for a flamenco guitar to switch from fieriness to supreme elegance. Paco Lara, a distinguished Spanish guitarist who has recently moved to Australia and who plays with impressive articulation, tends to favour the music’s elegance over its furnace. On this album (recorded in both Sydney and Cadiz) he also favours flamenco fusion over staying strictly within the idiom’s tradition. Sereneta, with violinist Yuhki Mayne and accompaniment from bassist Steve Hunter and percussionist Evan Yako, exemplifies Lara’s soft-focus approach to the fusion side, so the music, beyond being exceptionally well played, is always pretty and eminently approachable – a quality compounded by the choice of repertoire.

So Stanley Myers’ Cavatina (best known as the theme from The Deer Hunter) is used as the basis for a flamenco excursion, as is Sting’s Fragile, and while they are rendered stylishly and quite imaginatively, I prefer something through which the blood flows a little more thickly, like Bulerias, with singer Marcelino Fernandez, or Lara’s fascinating arrangement of Rodrigo’s Aranjuez, with the melody torn open by Bernardo Parrilla’s violin.