Flamenco star José Mercé will be performing in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York as part of Festival Flamenco Gitano. Concerts dates include Friday, September 28 at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco Friday; Wednesday, October 3 at Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center; and Friday, October 5 at Town Hall in New York City.
“These artists are bringing the Gitano essence of flamenco into the 21st century,” explains Festival Flamenco Gitano director Nina Menéndez. “They have an ease for improvisation that comes from living the art as part of everyday life.
No choreography is required, only an intimate connection among the dancers and musicians who interact freely on the basis of a shared legacy and an insatiable hunger to find the spark of duende that transforms the mundane into the sublime.”
José Mercé is one of the world’s greatest flamenco singers. Born into the Soto Sordera clan of Gypsy flamenco singers, he spent his early years working with dancers Mario Maya, El Guito and Carmen Mora and touring with Antonio Gades’ company.
He garnered worldwide recognition as a solo artist with his groundbreaking 1998 recording Del Amanecer. Through his concerts and more than 600,000 albums sold over the past 15 years, he has made an indelible mark on flamenco. In this program, he will be accompanied by the remarkable guitarist Diego Del Morao and three palmeros (hand clappers) from Jerez de la Frontera.
Born in 1955 in Jerez de la Frontera, José Mercé (Jose José Soto) is the great grandson of Paco Luz and nephew of Manuel Soto “Sordera.” After singing as a child in the students’ choir of the Mercy Basilica (from which he took his artistic name), he appeared in Los Jueves Flamencos de Jerez and in the tablao La Cueva del Pájaro Azul.
He arrived at Madrid when he was 13 years old to record his first album produced by Manuel Ríos Ruiz, who would later write that “the consolidation of José Mercé as a new figure in singing means, for Jerez de la Frontera, the continuity of the flamenco miracle.”
With numerous Latin Grammy nominations and over 600,000 albums sold in the last 15 years, Jose Merce is a major star in Spain. His flamenco adaptions of Latin American and Spanish topical songs such as “Te recuerdo, Amanda” by Chilean singer-songwriter Victor Jara; “Clandestinos” by mestizo music pioneer Manu Chao and “Al Alba” by Spanish singer-songwriter Luis Eduardo Aute, defy all categories, taking flamenco to a broader audience. The latest addition to his extensive discography will be an album produced by Javier Limon to be released on Blue Note EMI in the fall of 2012.
His numerous honors and awards include winning Cordoba’s National Contest of Flamenco Art in 1986, an appointment as Hijo Predilecto de la Provincia de Cádiz (Favorite Son of the Province of Cádiz) in 2007, the Medal of Andalusia in 2010, and the 2011 FCG International Award for the Performing Arts.
Friday, September 28, 8pm
Palace of Fine Arts,
3301 Lyon Street
San Francisco, CA 94123
Wednesday, October 03, 2012 at 7:30 PM
Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center
1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd
Redondo Beach, CA 90278
Phone: (562) 556-4824
Friday, October 5, 2012 8pm
Town Hall, 123 W. 43rd Street, NYC
$45, $55, $65; students $20, Ticketmaster (800) 982-2787
$125 VIP tickets include reception – call (212) 545-7536