Al Otro Lado (The Other Side)
(EMI-Odeon, 2000)

Celtic hearth meets Moorish fire! The bodhran beats in time with the electronic bagpipes, the bouzouki blends with the tin whistle -- believe it or not! This CD has broad appeal, encompassing the pop, folk and world music scene with ease. The description of the instruments (Hevia apparently invented the electronic midi bagpipes) is bizarre, but the sounds are brilliant. Listen to it as background music, sing along or concentrate on each instrument; whatever you do, you can't ignore it. It certainly challenges your preconceptions!

Al Otro Lado follows and swamps Hevia's success with Tierra De Nadie. The CD was recorded in Madrid, Asturia (a province in Northern Spain), Brittany and Prague, in collaboration with Breton guitarists, the accordionist Kepa Junkera and the North African Suhail, making for a somewhat breath-taking, slightly startling, utterly enjoyable and totally toe-tapping journey!

Hevia was inescapable in bars in Spain in the winter of 2000-2001. Normally that type of noise pollution plagues me to distraction, but his phenomenally popular single Tanzila had me tapping my toes and drumming my fingers while I actively listened to the sounds blaring from the overworked loudspeakers, and humming the tune incessantly whenever I was at home. The only infuriating thing was being unable to buy the CD album for about eight weeks, as invariably the shops had all sold out! Now that the mad frenzy has passed, go on, try it!

[ by Jenny Ivor ]
Rambles: 16 March 2002

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