Calaita Flamenco Son (Riverboat Records/World Music Network, 2014)
Calaita Flamenco Son is a Manchester-based flamenco rooted band. Three of the five musicians are originally from southern Spain, which infuses the music with Andalusian authenticity. Most of the band’s repertoire consists of lively flamenco styles such as rumba, tangos, guajira, colombiana, and buleria, as well as the deep seguiriya.
The soul of the band is vocalist, songwriter and rhythm guitarist Chico Pere from Sevilla. He has a voice perfectly suited for flamenco, full of passion and duende (a special flamenco spirit). The rest of the band includes composer Glenn Sharp on guitar, Leo Paredes on percussion, Diana Castro on vocals, and saxophonist and flutist Matt Nickson.
Although the label paints the band’s format as innovative because of the use of jazzy saxophone, this is an old flamenco format used for at least three decades in Spain. Jorge Pardo pioneered the use of saxophone and flute. Since then saxophone has been used by numerous flamenco artists.
Chico Pere grew up in the scenic Triana barrio in Seville within a family of flamenco musicians and singers. He worked with bands in Barcelona and later toured Andalusia as a singer and percussionist with a group specializing in sevillanas and rumbas. Chico later studied piano and flamenco guitar at the Jam Session Academy before completing his first album, ‘Son las cosas del buen Son’.
Guitarist Glenn Sharp studied guitar with Juan Martin (UK) and Francisco Morales (Seville). He has gigged and toured with numerous world music artists including Nitin Sawhney, Aref Durvesh and Nizar Rohana, as well as musicians from Nigeria, India, Egypt and Spain. Glenn’s current project, the Jadid Ensemble performs a mix of flamenco, Arabic and Turkish music.
Leo Paredes (percussion) is from Sevilla. He specializes in Flamenco cajón, West African jembe and Arabic darbuka. Leo worked as percussionist in Seville with many bands. He moved to Manchester in 2005 where he soon became a sought after player and workshop director. After additional study in Senegal with Kulaty Cabo he was then asked to join Manchester’s West African group Tanate. A subtle and passionate player Leo has a remarkable dynamic range and intensity of playing.
Vocalist Diana Castro is from Lanjarón, near Granada in Spain. She studied music at Granada University where she started her career as a professional blues, jazz and soul singer. In 2007, she left Spain to go to Manchester (UK), where she met Chico Pere. In addition to performing with Calaita, Diana is currently training in singing and music production at Salford Univeristy. She was also the artistic coordinator of ‘Lanjarock’ festival in Spain for 2011.
Matt Nickson (saxophone, flute) is the founder of Matt and Phred’s Jazz Club and the Manchester Jazz Festival and has been one of the main driving forces in North West jazz over the last 20 years. Matt has a huge sound on tenor, an equally full sound on flute and a flowing melodic playing style. Matt plays in his own trio, is a noteworthy session player, vintage 78rpm DJ, a promoter, and runs Matt Nickson Music
Calaita Flamenco Son is well-crafted debut album by a UK-based band that has a genuine flamenco soul.
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