In Brief

  • Title: Bel Cante, Cancion.
  • Musicians: Paula Tuin (vocals), Henk Olden (guitar), Rik van Boeckel (Percussion, poetry), Sanna van Elst (recorder).
  • Identification: ISBN 9789077658642.
  • Recording date: February, march 2010, Ivory Tower Studios, Bornerbroek, Holland.
  • Publishing date: 2010.

Granadina by Bel Canto


Sometimes the CD stories originate from history, at times they appear by sheer coincidence. This story originates from a chance event, an envelope that we received in our mail box at Christmas morning 2012. It was a send after of Sinterklaas, the Saint that visits Holland in the beginning of December with his presents. The old man sent the package via Germany and the envelope appeared to contain a number of heartwarming presents from our friends of Duo NIHZ, including this CD!

I wrote in an earlier CD story (about Aurora by Edsart Udo de Haes) that flamenco is a living style that evolves over time. This CD Cancion by Bel Cante is an example of this.

Bel Cante is a trio that consists of the actress/singer Paula Tuin, the Flamenco guitarist Henk Olden and the percussionist/poet Rik van Boekel. Sanna van Elst enhances the trio on recorder as a guest musician.

Faithful to the title of the album, the CD contains recordings of a number of traditional Spanish songs that have been written down by the poet Federico Garcia Lorca. The songs date back to the Sephardic Jews in Spain during the Moorish rule. The sound idiom is clearly recognizable by the “Arabic” turns that characterize a lot of the Flamenco music. Additionally, Manuel de Falla composed a number of songs for this CD, to be specific from Siete Canciones and El Amor Brujo.

Besides his contribution to the songs, Henk Olden plays a number of solo arrangements of traditional Flamenco melodies.

I found the sound of Bel Cante intimate, the singer has a clear solo role but does not predominate. Consequently, the other musicians have breathing space that every one of them fills in in a personal manner. The voice of the singer Paula Tuin is polished, without the raw belting out that you hear at some Flamenco singing. For me as an amateur listener to Flamenco music this sounds agreeably! Henk Olden plays with a large variation of arpeggio techniques in his accompaniments and Rik van Boekel forms a solid base for the rhythms with his Cajon. With a number of pieces the recorder of Sanna van Elst darts joyfully and effectively around the melody line.

To my surprise, I heard a bit of Dutch language amongst all Spanish songs. Rik van Boekel recites a poem that is based on texts from the songs from El Amor Brujo. An interesting variation!

The recording style emphasizes the intimacy of the ensemble. Because the sound stage was slightly widened by mixing, the contribution of the individual players is very clear.

An informative CD booklet with background information and a description of the subject of the song completes this agreeable surprise.

A nice introduction to Spanish tradition!

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