Del Castillo

Texas Platters

Phases and Stages

Del Castillo

Vida (Smilin' Castle)

It's all too easy to understand why Austin's Del Castillo has captivated so many local fans. Part old-world "gitano," part new-world flamenco with generous shots of rock and blues and a twist of soul, Del Castillo brings it all together in Vida, the group's vibrant second album. If the flamenco rhythms of "Los Caballos" or the giddy "Yiddish March" don't nab you, their spectacular delivery will. The fierce guitar licks from brothers Mark and Rick del Castillo lead the way along with throaty vocalist Alejandro Ruiz. Completing the package is blood-pumping percussion by Rick Holeman, Mike Zeoli, and bassist Albert Besteiro. In the hands of lesser talents, the music might be novelty, but in Del Castillo's capable hands, the results are rich, multilayered tunes. "Sueños Madrigales," "Mi Gitana," and "Por Qué?" in particular render the new-old fusion in sublime fashion, peaking in ecstatic crescendos. Even those tunes seem restrained, however, when compared to Vida's bonus track, "Barrio Blues," which will leave you limp. If you can't feel the sweat trickling down your back after this tune, seriously -- go see your doctor. The buzz around Del Castillo is, see them while you still can. If Vida is proof, their road to fame will be as short as an I-35 entrance ramp.

*** .5

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