Jose Luis Figuereo, better known as El Barrio (a name he took in tribute to the Santa Maria neighborhood of Cadiz where he was born), is one of a few artists pushing the borders of flamenco both farther and wider.
"My music sounds like flamenco, because I am a flamenco man, but people mustn't get mixed up saying the music I make is flamenco." Influenced by the Andalusian rock scene, El Barrio argues that his musical path is closer to artists like Triana, Alameda, Medina Azahara, and Cai than traditional flamenco. That said his past is certainly steeped in flamenco tradition. Before gaining any notoriety as a vocalist, he was a guitarist playing in the restaurants and bars of Madrid and Cadiz, embarking on a performance career even before his teen years. After his debut solo record in 1996, El Barrio recorded regularly and to consistently positive reviews, if not impressive sales. His audience knows him not only as an expert musician, but a poet as well, paying utmost attention to the lyrical content of his music, which is not a trait typical of flamenco artists. His 2006 release Playas de Invierno for the Senador label is easily found and accessible even to stateside audiences. El Barrio continued his prolific career with chart topping 2007 record La Voz de Mi Silencio and released Duermevela in 2009. The latter of the two pushed the boundaries of flamenco fusion and incorporated an increased amount of rock into his evolving sound. Figuereo’s 2011 record Espejos returned to the roots of his blend of flamenco and Andalusian rock to his fans delight, with single “El Viejo Verano” showcasing his poetic lyrics and traditional flamenco heritage. ~ Evan C. Gutierrez, Rovi