In the 90s when composer/guitarists like Ottmar Liebert and Armik were blazing their lilting yet fiery trails in Nouveau Flamenco music, the phrase seemed like a clever way to epitomize the growing genre. Had those who coined it seen further into the future and realized how fresh and exciting the vibe would still be decades hence, they might have more appropriately dubbed it the slightly less exotic “Timeless Flamenco” or “Eternal Flamenco." No artist more artfully and rhythmically captures that reality than the Iranian born Armik, who upon the release of his 1994 debut album Rain Dancer became one of the decade’s most inspiring, consistently charting artists.
Carrying his infectious, exotic magic into the 21st Century, he’s now released a total of 32 albums, including 28 Top Tens and three #1’s on the Billboard New Age Albums chart. His idea to release new versions of his trademark singles “Gypsy Flame” (in March) and “Tango Flamenco” with 25th Anniversary Versions is more than an exercise in nostalgia. It’s a way to reflect upon the impact on new age and world fusion music since those breakthroughs.
More importantly, it’s an opportunity to share his deep creative development and the life and musical experiences he’s accumulated along the way. The first thing that hits you if you listen to the original version of “Tango Flamenco” and “Tango Flamenco (25th Anniversary Version)” is the intensely vibrant, high volume fully mastered vibe of the new one. The second is that the new version has a more raw, organic and emotionally immediate feeling due to the absence of the softening gentle string caress of the original.
Armik opens the new track creating rich tension via his plucky, resonant low toned strings.
He then eases into a sensually strummed melody enhanced with percussive string trills and spirited, marching drums, backed tastefully by occasional bandoneon harmony accents and percussion fills. Armik uses those trademark tango rhythms as the foundation for a multi-faceted adventure filled with varying tempos and otherworldly guitar offshoot melodies and improvisations. The result is pure exotic musical joy and artistic abandon – truly Armik’s take on the classic Argentine style. Learning that his late mother was a fan of tango helps us realize as we listen that this “Tango Flamenco,” both then and now, is a very personal expression of love that he once again turns into a universal testament of hope.
Listen to "Tango Flamenco (25th Anniversary Version)" here: