El douje solo album release: Worlds Collide Santa Cruz flamenco guitarist, el douje, has just released his debut solo album. Entitled Worlds Collide, it's a unique and bold mixture of traditional and modern styles. From jondo flamenco to modern day world fusion/drum and bass/techno, the flamenco guitar playing of el douje is what unifies and sets this album apart. Containing 13 original compositions, the songs on this record gracefully stretch the stylistic bounds of tradition, while looking to the possibilities ahead. Worlds Collide is a project many years in the making. From the original vision of combining flamenco and gypsy guitar with modern elements of electronic music, four years have passed. The musical offerings range from traditional flamenco styles such as bulerias, tangos and solea, to experimental combinations defying classification. Though el douje is a solo act, the album contains extensive collaborations with a wide variety of acclaimed and accomplished musicians. Dave Weckl (of Dave Weckl Band and Chick Corea Band) lends his drumming talent on several tracks, and jazz/fusion bass legend Tom Kennedy and his 200 year old double bass also appear on numerous tracks. Members of the ground-breaking gypsy fusion band Estradasphere round out the sound with bass, saxophone and violin tracks. Shamisen master Kevin Kmetz is featured extensively on the album, adding to the unique instrumentation of the compositions. El douje bio El douje was born Douglas Smolens in Guadalajara Mexico in the early 1970's. From an early age, he was exposed to and sought out a diverse range of musical styles. In high school, he started playing drums in a band that would go on to become Don Salsa and record the legendary cult phenomenon, Kool-Aid Moustache in Jonestown. It wasn't until after that album was finished that he really heard flamenco music for the first time, and his life would be changed forever. For whatever the reason, this particular form of artistic and emotional expression resounded so powerfully within him, he resolved to absorb this exotic music that seemed to cut deeper into his soul than anything previously felt. And so, at age 23, he started playing flamenco guitar. Having dabbled in guitar for a long time, this new, challenging music inspired the young artist to throw himself completely into it. Enraptured by the powerful rhythms, haunting harmonies, and heart wrenching singing, he gradually absorbed the repertoire. Having come from California, worlds away from the flamenco homeland of Andalucia, it was only natural that el douje's interpretation of this music would have a decidedly different feel. Early experiments in combining flamenco guitar with more modern electronic music elements such as drum and bass and techno proved quite successful and would lay the ground for what would later culminate in the album, 'Worlds Collide'. Though the album was written, produced and performed by el douje as a solo artist, it contains impressive collaborations with artists such as Dave Weckl, bassist Tom Kennedy and members of the gypsy/ metal fusion band, Estradasphere. In early 2003, as the album was coming to a close, a chance meeting at the Oakland California performance werehouse, The Fishtank, would spawn the creation of gypsy/folk/klezmer/flamenco supergroup, The Fishtank. After only three weeks together as a band, they recorded their mimicry records debut, 'Super Raoul' live at the fishtank. Led by gypsy fiddler extrordinaire Fabrice Martinez, the band combined the strengths of the individual members to forge unique and innovative approach to the folk music of the gypsies.
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