Venture into the spicy land of romance and sweet persuasions. Feel the cool breeze of Spanish guitars against lush rhythms that will soothe your soul and make you dance with sensual delite. The allure of Spanish guitars will seduce you.
"Mediterranea" is not just a place - it's a state of
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A spectacular journey of music and dance. The show that celebrates MUSIC, LOVE, and LIFE!
National tour this fall - check benise.com for concerts in your area.
R E V I E W
review by Michael Debbage
Bordered by countries such as Spain, Italy, Turkey and the northern continent of Africa, the Mediterranean Sea embraces both placid and provocative cultures that ultimately beckons the exotica factor. This disc is appropriately entitled, empowering images that describe the musical world of Benise. Though largely flamenco based, Benise has a carnival salsa feel to it giving the music a very authentic foundation. Add the balladry of Benise and the results are a musical kaleidoscope of celebration and romance.
Mediterranea exudes professionalism from packaging to production to performance - as does the website. Benise is a self-taught guitarist who has been playing since he was 11. His influence is largely flamenco yet, much like his peers Jesse Cook and Johannes Linstead, the music is very melodic and accessible [and] also incredibly authentic.
Benise is equally comfortable in commemoration as well as the festive factor. However, things kick off in a wild fashion courtesy of the opening track "Rhumba Rhumba" that is utterly enthusiastic. What a thumper it is with its stop and start themes. Keep your feet still... I just dare you to try! While not quite as vigorous, the gorgeous "Santa Barbara" has a wonderful liquid flow to its rhythm section bringing to mind the vivid memories of a gentle bike ride along the elegant coastline and sandy beaches of Santa Barbara. Much like its colorful and classy downtown, the song mirrors its subject. Anyone up for a road trip? It will take you there in an instant.
But no need to stay on the mainland. Take a trip to the exotica, courtesy of the very internationally flavored "Guitaria" that gives Benise an opportunity to flex his amazing guitar technique.
Equally adept with more reflective moments, Benise show their tender side courtesy of the stylish "Montserrat" and the almost folksy title track. If this laid back theme is more [to] your liking, skip forward to the closer "Bridges Of Sigh," which includes the cello work of Martston Smith adding an almost classical metamorphism with flamenco themes. Now that is an utterly unusual integration but it works.
Frankly, there is very little that does not work for Benise. Although Benise is the anchor and attraction who produces, writes and arranges, this does not take away from the cohesive band support presentation. And Mediterranea is conclusive proof that Benise is a group that has the promises of being a major player in the growing genre of flamenco based artists. Move over Jesse Cook and Johannes Linstead, as there is a new kid on the block.