This guys is truly awesome without attempting to be the least bit flashy. Spiritual rather than religious, Johannes Linstead is a world music master to the core, playing music for the soul on this, Cafe Tropical, his 6th album. The award winning classical guitarist from Oakville (Ontario), Canada mixes influences from Cuba, Venezuela & Greece, giving us a tropical cocktail. It’s amazing what Johannes Linstead has accomplished in the eight years since the release of his first album Sol Luna Tierra in 1999. From winning “Best World Album” to having top-ten charting albums, to top radio airplay, he has become recognized internationally as one of best selling guitarist/composers in the nouveau flamenco genre.
From the very first song you are hooked! Cien Fuegos a fiery, mediterranean track that sets the mood. Cafe Tropical reminds you of Cuba with it’s Latin trumpet accompaniment and breezy feel that makes you wanna reach for a pina colada. My favourite track is The Streets Of Old San Juan, a dance along number. Spanish Town is the kind of song that makes you long for living in a small town where everyone knows you and every evening it’s party time on the streets with good food & wine. Tides Of Eden is a melancholic tune, while Ole Ole Ola reminds me of camp fire parties.
You have Suave with some good piano playing along with the guitars, El Zocolo, Santeria, Para La Havana which screams ‘CUBA’ loud and clear and is probably one of the best tributes to the city of Havana. The album also has Chica Chica, the name by which one of my MySpace friends from Idaho goes by and who I met around the same time as when I discovered the music of Johannes.
Overall, this is one of the best flamenco, world music albums that I have heard, comparable to those of Jesse Cook, Ottmar Leibert, Oscar Lopez & Vicente Amigo. Enjoy it!
Song for the day – “The Streets Of Old San Juan” – JOHANNES LINSTEAD