Artist Profiles: Benjamin Escoriza

Benjamin Escoriza

Benjamin Escoriza, was born in Granada and later moved to Madrid. In the Spanish capital he met French multi-instrumentalist Vincent Molino and Spanish percussionist Fain Sanchez Dueñas and the result of their musical chemistry was the groundbreaking band Radio Tarifa, founded in the 1990s.

In 1993, Radio Tarifa’s Rumba Argelina was released. The album, produced by indie label Música Sin Fin, is regarded as a masterpiece of Spanish world music. Other recordings followed, Temporal, Cruzando el Rio and Fiebre, recorded live in Toronto (Canada).

Along with his work for Radio Tarifa, Benjamin Escoriza worked on a solo album. He enlisted Jaime Muela, Vicente Molino, Fernando Mej5as and the producer of Rumba Argelina, Juan Alberto Arteche. Together they created Alevanta!. The album is a powerful mix of Arabic music, Flamenco, Arab Andalusian and Sephardic influences, along with Andalusian folk, Medieval music and rock.

On Alevanta!, Benjamin Escoriza shifted from being a contributor to writer of all the material. In this flamenco-focused record Benjamin left his Granada roots more visible. The songwriting process took place in stages. After writing the lyrics, Benjamin tried them out over his own guitar or small electric keyboard, searching for melodies and chords and writing them down on a 4-track recorder. He later worked on the rough demos with his various musical collaborators, primarily Vincent Molino, but also Jaime Muela, Fernando Mejias and producer Juan Alberto Arteche. Much of the record was put together in these musicians’ homes. By working through the ideas and arrangements, the songs gradually took shape and the choice of instruments was selected to reflect the mood and meaning of each composition.

Benjamin Escoriza died on March 9th, 2012.

Discography:

Rumba Argelina (Música Sin Fin, 1993, released by World Circuit / Nonesuch outside Spain)
Temporal (1996)
Cruzando el río (2000)
Fiebre (2003)
Alevanta! (18 Chulos Records, 2006/Riverboat Records-World Music Network, 2007)

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.

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