"Provence" - a TOP 10 Recording -
No. 7 on the international Top 100 Radio Airplay Charts (Oct 10).
At worldwide 2010 ZMR Music Awards in two categories among top 5:
Best Instrumental Album - Acoustic - & Best World Album
Provence, the southeastern region of France, is known for its painterly sunlight, mistral wind, scenery, wine, food and ambience, and now it serves as the title and inspiration for the fourth album by the German act Luna Blanca, which over the past decade has become one of the most popular nouveau-flamenco groups in the world.
Luna Blanca’s CDs -- New Flamenco Odyssee, Magic, Guitar Island and Provence, plus their concert DVD Guitar Island Live -- established the group internationally as a top modern flamenco ensemble combining melodic emotional acoustic guitar performance with piano and keyboards backed by tasteful passionate percussion. Luna Blanca has become known for their catchy and instantly-appealing melodies plus a Latin-oriented ensemble sound that makes the listener feel they are traveling to a warm climate to enjoy good times.
Luna Blanca was founded by acoustic lead guitarist Richard Hecks, who has used a variable line-up of musicians in the band. But the other mainstay of the group is pianist Helmut Graebe, who joined the second year, just before they recorded the first album, and now co-writes the music with Hecks. Both on record and in concert they add other musicians as needed (drums and percussion, bass, one or two acoustic rhythm guitars, organ, occasional vocalizing, etc.). On Provence, Hecks and Graebe are joined by rhythm guitarist Bino Dola (a flamenco player much respected throughout Europe) and Clemens Paskert (who added bass, percussion and additional keyboards). Paskert, who runs Capitol Sound Studios where the CD was recorded, also served as arranger and co-producer with Hecks. The band is based in Bocholt, Germany.
In addition to garnering airplay around the world with their music, Luna Blanca has had many memorable moments. They performed at major concert events -- “La Guitarra” in 2004 and “Noche de Guitarra” in 2005 -- with international guitar stars Peter Finger and Bino Dola joining them. On their Guitar Island album, Hecks and Graebe brought in award-winning percussionist Sascha Pöpping. From that CD, the tune “Pastis” went to No. 3 on the Australian Indie Radio Chart, “Island Reggae” appeared on a Global Rhythm compilation CD, “Villa Azur” was heard on a New Age and New Sounds compilation recording, and “Rising Sun” was chosen to be on two compilation albums -- “Goa Chillout Zone” and on “Café World Lounge” together with Nelly Furtado and Neneh Cherry.