Leonard Cohen. Federico Garcia Lorca. A flamenco revolutionary. A punk rock band. In 1994, Enrique Morente, one of flamenco’s greatest voices and a Sonic Youth fan, went into the studio with a group of young Spanish rebels called Lagartija Nick to combine Cohen’s music with lyrics based on Garcia Lorca’s verses in songs that brought the chanting vocals of flamenco, the wail of electric guitars, handclapping and driving drums together. Two intense and often tumultuous years later, they emerged with an improbable album that shook flamenco traditionalists at the same time that it was embraced by rock fans as a work of genius.
The first single, “Manhattan” -- the powerful version of “First We Take Manhattan - Leonard Cohen.
Morente and Lagartija Nick were joined in the studio by Spanish flamenco artists who included the renowned guitarist Tomatito. Estrella Morente, who has since performed on global stages including Carnegie Hall, made her impactful debut on the album, as did his younger daughter, Solea. Also present was Morente’s wife, dancer Aurora Carbonell, and his son Kiki, a singer and guitarist, who was in elementary school at the time.
Omega’s release, in late 1996, shook the flamenco world. At a Morente concert in Madrid in which Lagartija Nick and the rest of the Omega ensemble made a surprise appearance, the musicians were booed by flamenco purists who called it “garbage.” In flamenco circles, the debate about Omega continues to this day.
But the album was immediately and lastingly embraced by rock audiences. As one of flamenco’s best-known artists, Morente was used to giving major concerts for audiences of one or two thousand people. Soon, with the Omega project, he was appearing at massive rock concerts.
1. Omega (Poema Para Los Muertos) (10:48)
2. Pequeño Vals Vienes (Take This Waltz) (5:33)
3. Solo Del Pastor Bobo (3:42)
4. Manhattan (First We Take Manhattan) (4:44)
5. La Aurora De Nueva York (4:59)
6. Sacerdotes (Priest) (4:08)
7. Niña Ahogada En El Pozo (Granada Y Newburg) (3:45)
9. Vuelta De Paseo (5:08)
10. Vals En Las Ramas (4:01)
11. Aleluya (Hallelujah Nº 2) (6:24))
12. Norma Y Paraiso De Los Negros (4:34)
13. Ciudad Sin Sueño (Nocturno De Brooklyn Bridge) (5:49)
One of the greatest flamenco albums ever created. a worthy successor to La Leyenda del Tiempo, but taking it to the next level. heavy metal inspired flamenco that is STILL FLAMENCO, not like most of the pop nonsense that passes for "flamenco nuevo." this album does something new while keeping alive the true spirit of the tradition, keeping it real, forceful and beautiful