Diego El Cigala All Ages Early Warnings (Music) Recommended Soundboard

When: Sun., Nov. 6, 7 p.m. 2011

Just a few years after launching his solo career in 1997, Madrid-born flamenco singer Diego Ramon Jimenez Salazar, better known as El Cigala, performed for the first time with venerable Cuban pianist Bebo Valdes. In 2003 they released Lagrimas Negras (Calle 54), a brilliant synthesis of their respective musical traditions that diminished neither. By pushing flamenco in a new direction while retaining a firm grip on its fundamentals, the album set a standard for the gruff-voiced Salazar, who's perhaps the most authoritative, soulful, and flexible flamenco singer of the past two decades. Throughout his career El Cigala has moved between uncut flamenco—he's collaborated with many of the style's greatest modern practitioners, including Vicente Amigo, Tomatito, Camaron, Niño Josele, Paco de Lucia, and Jerry Gonzalez—and efforts that hybridize it with other genres, especially jazz. Most recently, on Cigala & Tango (Universal, Spain), he's experimented with Argentina's national music. The album, cut live in Buenos Aires, features classics by the likes of Carlos Gardel, Atahualpa Yupanqui, and Cacho Castaña, but while the songs and rhythms are Argentine, El Cigala's delivery is pure Gitano. For his long-overdue Chicago debut, he's accompanied by his long-running band: bassist Yelsy Heredia, percussionist Sabu Porrina, pianist Jaime Calabuch "Jumitus," guitarist Diego Del Morao, and violinist Bernardo Fernandez. —Peter Margasak

Price: $45-$60

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