Robert ‘Robi’ Svärd – Pa’ki Pa’ka | Album Review | Top of the World

Posted on April 28th, 2016 in Recent posts, Reviews by .

Robert 'Robi' Svärd-©Stig Magnus Thorsen-Free

Words by Garth Cartwright

Robert 'Robi' Svärd - Pa'ki Pa'ka Cover

Swedish flamenco guitarist’s fluid debut
★★★★

Raised in Sweden and Australia and trained as a classical guitarist, Robert Svärd fell into flamenco from a distance, but quickly found that his remarkable technique and supple fingers won him much admiration in Andalucía. Pa’ki Pa’ka is his debut album and it is a thing of beauty. Being an outsider allows Svärd to bring his very individual approach to flamenco guitar to these sessions – he has composed all the music here. He avoids showboating and forced fusions, yet there is something in his playing that hints at both his classical and Nordic background – I hear elements of Sibelius.

Svärd is joined on several numbers by percussionist Miguel ‘El Cheyenne’, and the vocalist Alfredo Tejada (who wrote all the lyrics). Nani Conde plays bass on a handful of tracks and Ahmad Al Khatib plays cello and oud (lute) on one number. Each accompanist is well selected, adding graciously to the music but never overshadowing Svärd. The opening number and title-track is a warm rumba, followed by ‘El Aire de Mi Corazón’, a lyrical bulería. On track after track on Pa’ki Pa’ka the beauty of Svärd’s flamenco ensemble keeps on unfolding.

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