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Photo by Thom Brewer
by Cathy Riches
December, 2003
Toronto, Canada

"Flamenco music has undergone many incarnations since it originated some 200 years ago.  Originally, if you didn't have a singer or, secondarily, a dancer, you really didn't have flamenco.  Then around the middle of the last century, guitar gradually started coming to the fore, and became less of an accompanying instrument.  These days the guitar is the star, and players like Paco de Lucia are practically household names.

Here in Toronto, we are very fortunate to have an authentic flamenco guitar master of our own, Miguel de la Bastide.  "Siento", his second CD, is a gratifying collection of eight original songs, designed to appeal to both the aficionado and the mainstream listener.  The tracks alternate between traditional style, acoustic flamenco, with guitar, palmas (hand claps) and percussion, and more accessible "coffee bar" flamenco with electric bass, saxophone and even African percussion instruments, which lend depth and exotic appeal to the songs on which they appear.  But it all works, because the unifying thread is Mr. de la Bastide's impeccable technique and clear, crisp style.  Whether you're a fan of dazzling million-note-a-minute runs, or the slow groove, you'll find it here.

With this disc, Miguel de la Bastide proves himself both a solid composer and a skilled guitar player.  If we're lucky, he'll stick around and continue to enrich Toronto's musical landscape with his brand of authentic flamenco.

by Li Robbins
November, 2003
Toronto, Canada

"Miguel de la Bastide, first flamenco guitarist on staff at the RCM (Royal Conservatory of Music), also provides the flamenco component of this fall series.  One of the leading North American flamenco guitarists, de la Bastide hails not from Spain but from Trinidad, although he’s made Canada his home since he was 18.  Like many flamenco artists of late, he’s on the fusion path.  Thankfully, he has steered clear of the overcooked, under-seasoned mushy new-age stylings that curse many a flowing-tressed guitarist.  In fact, his thrilling runs and sparkling melodies are often used in TV commercials in Spain—where they know from flamenco."

by Robert Silverstein
October, 2003
New York, USA

"Although the art of flamenco guitar playing originated in Spain, Trinidad-born, Toronto-based guitarist Miguel de la Bastide has further refined the fabled guitar sound on his second solo album Siento.  A superb mix of the spirit and influence of flamenco giants like Paco de Lucia and Vicente Amigo and the flavors of Latin World Beat sounds, the CD also features several players on percussion, sax and bass in addition to the authentic flamenco footwork of his partner Carmen Romero.  There's also a enhanced CD-ROM track for PC and MAC.  The follow up to his '98 solo debut,  El Cambio, 2003's Siento establishes Miguel de la Bastide in the top echelon of today's finest recording flamenco guitarists."

by A-J Charron
September 10th, 2003
Montreal, Canada

"Obviously, we are dealing with someone who not only plays well, but one who understands the guitar and understands performance. Siento is certainly not a letdown.  Quite the opposite.

This is an album of beautiful music, elegantly performed and passionately understood by a true master. 

There is more to playing than just technique and this is something that de la Bastide understands fully well and delivers powerfully.

The approach is fresh, the sound is different from the traditional flamenco guitarist and the pieces are truly inspired.  Definitely something you’ll want in your CD library.

A nice bonus is that the CD is enhanced, including a video for El Cambio, from his previous album, samples from other tracks and a photo album.   If you’re looking for a great guitar album, this is one I wholeheartedly recommend."

September, 2003
Fairfax, USA

 "Miguel de la Bastide's second album is easily as gutsy as his first, while musically more refined...  Excellent playing and tasteful composition throughout."

by Kirk Albrecht
August 23rd, 2003
Manistee, USA

"The renaissance of acoustic music over the last decade has extended to all genres - classical, folk, and of course, the ubiquitous "New Age" category, made popular by Windham Hill artists in the 1980's.  But American listeners have also begun to hear stringed poetry from lands across the Atlantic. Some of the attempts at "Nuevo Flamenco" have tickled the ears, but failed to deliver real flamenco duende.  Echoing the power of Paco de Lucia, and the lyricism of Vicente Amigo, Trinidadian Miguel de la Bastide has delivered a marvelous offering of flamenco puro mixed with some Latin-inspired world beats in his latest release "Siento".  The very first track, a bulerías called "Tentación", draws you in with its percussive rhythm.  De la Bastide recorded most of the eight tracks with some excellent help on percussion, while dancer Carmen Romero - his partner in the Compañia Carmen Romero - provides captivating footwork on "Andaluza".  But de la Bastide crosses outside the skirts of traditional accompaniment with soprano and tenor sax on two cuts, lending a jazz feel.  The CD ends with the solo "El Santo Día", a passionate, fiery conclusion showcasing his fluency and virtuosity in flamenco.  Miguel de la Bastide has got some duende!  For anyone interested in excellence in modern flamenco guitar, this CD is a good place to start."

by Mari Katsigianis
July 24th, 2003
Boston, USA

"The Buzz-stress can tell you from beginning to end - it is absolutely amazing! Siento is full of Ritmo, Duende, and Sabor.  A treat for the ears and heart.  Engineered with the very latest sound technology, SIENTO has all the makings of a best-selling CD for flamenco with both traditional and cutting-edge fusion.  Miguel is not merely a musical artist... he is a visionary!  ENJOY!"


by June Heywood
November 16th, 2002
Vancouver, Canada

"Miguel de la Bastide is indeed an imaginative, fertile
creator whose work has an exception poetic quality."

April 1st, 2002
Boston, USA

"Man...I had just returned from a week in Jerez at the Flamenco Festival and I have to say this Montreal show was BETTER than 4 of the 5 presentations at the Teatro Villamarta!"

"Accompanying the ladies Miguel De La Bastide, Canada's Premier Flamenco Guitarist dazzled with his brilliant finger-work, flawless compas, and perfectly executed communication.  To listen to this genius is to take a virtual trip to Andalucía..."

The Straits Time, Life!
February 24th, 2001

Miguel de la Bastide's guitar music must be the most romantic and sensuous sound on Earth.

Poster for the concert

by Robert Reid
Record Staff, February 10th 2001
Guelph, On., Canada

"The stunning celebration of music, song and dance featured the acclaimed Toronto-based ensemble under the musical direction of renowned guitarist and composer Miguel de la Bastide and artistic director of Carmen Romero, acknowledged as one of North America's greatest flamenco choreographers and dancers."

Via e-mail

"That was the best show the River Run Centre has ever seen!"

"I forgot where I was, I thought I was on Broadway, it was so fabulous!"

"Miguel...Wow!  That's all I can say.  Wow!"

"That was by far the best show I have ever seen in my life...and I've seen a lot of shows."

New Age Voice Magazine, December 2000
Atlanta, GA., USA

De La Bastide's compelling music is a masterful, evocative blend of both past and present, incorporating both traditional and newer instrumentation.  Similar to Paco de Lucia's Sextet, de la Bastide and his compatriots expertly traverse through different worlds, exploring, rediscovering and creating remarkable music in their travels.

by Bryan Reesman (On-line),  2000

Miguel de la Bastide's speedy six-string fingerwork on the edited "El Cambio" (accompanied by flute) flows with a subtle jazz undertow...

by Dave Aftandilian
INK 19 (On-line),  2000 

Miguel de la Bastide's "El Cambio (edit)" had a beautiful polish, and flute, bass, and percussion accompaniment that reminded me of progressive jazz.

by David McGurgan
CD Now (On-line), April 19th 2000

Miguel de la Bastide's six-string playing is so jaw-dropping on "Candela," it's clear he performs miracles every time he plucks his guitar.

The Globe and Mail, August 21st 1999
Toronto, Canada

"...Miguel de la Bastide's evocative score..."

volume 10, #2 issue 80
San Rafael, California, USA

Flamenco guitarist Miguel de la Bastide, a native of Trinidad now living in Toronto, has been featured on half a dozen collections on the Narada label. El Cambio, his first solo album, fulfills the promise of those earlier recordings, balancing traditional flamenco forms with contemporary sounds. "Arrimate," an alegrías, and the title piece, a bulerías, particularly stand out, offering well-developed, melodic arrangements.  Ably supported by bass, percussion, flute, and voice, de la Bastide has created an accessible and interesting blend of fresh ideas.

New Mexico, USA

Miguel de la Bastide's release "El Cambio" is a refreshing change from what many are buying and few are now calling flamenco.  After the financial success of the Noveau Flamenco genre, there has been an onslaught of flamenco guitar-wielding opportunists, ready to make a quick buck serenading tourists.  Unfortunately, a lot of their releases are billed as "flamenco" and are packaged attractively.  De la Bastide shows us he is made of better stuff than that.

Miguel de la Bastide plays flamenco.  Born in San Fernando, Trinidad, and residing in Toronto, De La Bastide's twenty-three years of flamenco study have culminated into this first solo release.  The CD release by this humble guitarist  is full of respect and knowledge of the art-form.  Opening with the title-track Bulerías, the listener is pleasantly surprised by the quality of the recording, done by La Bastide Productions.  His guitar is pleasantly balanced, with a satisfying low-end.  The Bulería is lively, has its own aire, and includes interesting interplay between the guitar and David Slater's able flute.  De La Bastide's guitar style is reminiscent of the modern, "post-Paco" guitarists.

This release includes two numbers which will be familiar to those who have heard Narada Records "Flamenco: Fire and Grace" - Morir Soñando (Bulerías) and Viajeros (Tangos).   However, both those numbers have been re-recorded and improved markedly.  Both temas fall into comfortable tempos and are played more confidently and seamlessly.

Highlights include an Alegrías (Arrimate) with a beautifully extended silencio, and the two Bulerías.  You can particularly hear his experience accompanying the baile in the Alegrías.  This comes from his undoubtedly countless hours accompanying dancer Carmen Romero, his partner.

The CD ends with a hidden track.  Perhaps I should not expose a hidden track, but I think it is indicative of the time, respect, and hard work that Miguel de la Bastide has obviously given to flamenco.  Tucked in after his Soleá por Bulerías, Alma Libre, is a soleá where he is accompanying el cante.  It appears to be a recording done on more primitive equipment, but that makes no difference.  His accompaniment is strong and generous to his cantaor.  Although his entire CD is rich in musicality and melodic prowess, here is where he proves himself.  For as every  flamenco guitarist knows, accompanying the cante is where we often see what separates the flamencos from the rest of the pack.  A job well done.

RPM WEEKLY, January 11th, 1999
Toronto, Canada

"There's no question, Miguel de la Bastide has his fingers on the pulse of flamenco. Having shared CD compilations with Paco de Lucia, Al Di Meola, Tomatito and Rafael Riqueni, this flamenco guitarist extraordinaire steps into the spot light with his solo album. There's more to flamenco music than what we get from the overrated purveyors of this exciting music genre, and here Bastide passionately gives us a true sample with what is described as masterful blends of Afro-Latin, Middle Eastern and Arabic elements... All published tracks are instrumental, but Bastide has cleverly added a hidden track titled Solearés, also a Bastide original, featuring exceptional improv vocalizing by Alfonso Mogaburo Cid. The title track will be released as a video with imagery supplied by Carmen Romero, whose movements are being touted as being as exciting as Bastide's guitar work. Anyone of these tracks could serve as a wake-up call to early morning radio listeners. Certainly, in-store play will create a buzz through the store... Take your pick, there isn't a weak track..."

The Arts Council of Buffalo and Erie County, May 2nd, 1998
Buffalo, USA

"A word must be said about this ensemble.  First they brought the house down with an audience responding to them with a standing ovation, cheers and screams.  The Calumet was an interesting setting for this show.  It's intimate feel, low lights and close stage added to the impact of the performance.  The ensemble multicultural in its make up, consisted of two percussionist, Mario Melo and Debashis Sinha, flautist David Slater, bassist Rudy Bolanos and guitarist extraordinaire Miguel de la Bastide.  Their set opened with the deep smoky rumble of Nigerian Udu drums, which look remarkably like larger ceramic jug.  Messers Sinha and de la Bastide are dynamite players who took the crowd to new rhythmic heights using a broad array of exotic percussive instruments.

The Herald, April 1998
B.C., Canada

"The sensual sound of Miguel de la Bastide's solo guitar bridged the opening and the grand entrance of Carmen Romero."