Exciting nouveau flamenco style

El Samba is a fantastic example of the nouveau flamenco style guitar music. It is recorded as track number two on my second album, the Che Sara album. This song is a great indication of the style I was heading into after I released my very first album, Vincenzo Martinelli, the self-titled classical guitar album. El Samba is one of many bravura guitar works that have inspired my own love for Spanish and Latin guitar. The nouveau flamenco is a very exciting style which takes its influences from jazz, Spanish flamenco, and Spanish and classical guitar music, characteristics which attracted me to this style of music in the first place.

El Samba-Armik-nouveau flamenco guitar-Vincenzo Martinelli

Moving from the Classical to Latin and Spanish guitar

Having played electric guitar in fusion, jazz, and blues bands in my younger years, the challenge of achieving that kind of power on a nylon string and traditionally sounding Spanish guitar became a real challenge! It is an ongoing challenge for all guitar players to achieve the exciting “live” vibe at a very high quality on acoustic instruments. Some of my earliest inspirations leading me towards this style were Al Di Meola, Paco De Lucia, Larry Carlton, John Williams, George Benson & Steve Lukather.

I first heard this song quite a few years ago I was moving from the classical guitar style I had studied into the Latin and Spanish guitar genre I love and continue to perform today!  I was looking for something new to experiment with, to try my new guitar sounds with, and upon hearing it I thought this would be a great direction for me to move into, which is exactly what I did! Nouveau flamenco pulls together the classical, jazz and Latin and Spanish sounds and rhythms I love!

With a great rhumba “feel” El Samba is exciting to play as a guitarist, and was a pleasure to record. I had the backing of some very talented musicians with me, including great percussionists &  bass players, and the arrangement incorporates brass instruments, as well. I used several colleagues on this particular track including a 3-piece brass section – sax, trumpet, and trombone. The whole ensemble comes across really well in the live recording sense, and made for a full and expansive sound on this track.

El Samba is so rhythmically charged, it’s hard to stay in your seat!

Audiences respond to this song really well for the same reason I enjoy it so much – it is quite rhythmically electrifying, and I’m told makes it quite difficult to stay still in your seat! Other artists who have played El Samba in this style include Tomatito, Otmar Leibert, Al DiMeola & Benise to name a few. However the version I play is quite unique and rhythmic, which makes El Samba something I like very much to play live! In performance I use my Godin guitar, and play with a plectrum (pick) for that extra speed on the fast runs!

It is a nice length song, going about 6 minutes, and it is structured in a sense where it has three or four really strong themes which are held together with the use of percussion and the other live musicians performing for my recording, including brass and keyboards. I am also personally playing a variety of guitars on the album track to accompany myself as the lead soloist!

El Samba was recorded at John Roy’s recording studios (Studio JR) in Australia, and the techniques used had a combination of close and far placement microphones positioned in a way that would capture the sound and the essence of the guitar. I was using my Yamaha Grand Concert guitar for the recording of the solo part in the studio.

El Samba is really well suited for the Spanish and Latin repertoire as it is immediately identifiable as a Latino style song, and remains a very strong song in my collection and in my live performance sets. It enjoys a great response from audiences all over the world. I would like to invite you hear it on my website. It is found on my Che Sara album, and of course it is also available on YouTube.

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El Samba –  Nouveau Flamenco Guitar – Vincenzo Martinelli