Listening to Provence by the flamenco band Luna Blanca brings to mind beaches, steel drums, nights spent drinking fruity drinks with umbrellas and staring into the ocean. Does it bring to mind the Provence region of France, an area on the Mediterranean known for ratatouille and the city of Nice? No, probably not. And guess what: it doesn’t matter.
This is not an album featuring a plethora of number one hits. In fact, it is doubtful that a single could even be expected. But that’s not the point. A nearly pure instrumental album that overlays complex instrumentation over a sound flamenco tradition, this is nothing short of pleasure to the ears. Is it the flamenco equivalent of soft Jazz? Well … yes. And who said soft jazz doesn’t have its place.
It’s winter time now and snow is piled up. The days are short, the nights are bitter and clothing is voluminous. Put “Provence” on while driving/napping/cooking dinner/anything at all and you will feel warmer. The light on your face will feel like sunshine and salt air will seem to come wafting on the breeze. The aptly named final track “Sunset” brings a slow, graceful close to a gentle, calming hour. If you aren’t the most relaxed you’ve been in weeks, with a suntan on your soul, you weren’t listening closely enough.
—Mike Tager (Baltimore, MD)
[Editor’s note: Our editor would just like to remind everyone that being stuck on a desert island isn’t all steel drums and fruity drinks . . .]