Jose Ortega Heredia, also known as 'Manzanita,' was born in Madrid on February 7, 1956. He was one of the pioneers of Nuevo Flamenco, combining rumba, salsa and other elements.
Manzanita was the son of Andalusian Gypsies. His father was Flamenco singer and dancer Rafael Ortega Garcia and his mother was dancer Trinidad Heredia Jimenez. His uncle was Manolo Caracol.
At the age of 9, he played at Flamenco nightclubs, like Zambra, where his mother worked as a dancer. It was at Zambra that Manzanita met Flamenco master Enrique Morente. At 11, Manzanita started to accompany Morente. During the following years, he worked at Tablao de los Canasteros, and at the Torrebermeja and Cafe de Chinitas nightclubs.
While on tour in Mexico with Enrique Morente, Manzanita met Amador Losada, Miguel Losada and Alfonso Gabarre. In 1974 he formed Los Chorbos, together with the Losadas and Gabarre. That same year, the band recorded its first album Sonido Cañorroto (Cañorroto Sound), named after the neighborhood in the Carabanchel district of Madrid, where they all lived. The album had a song, 'Vuelvo A Casa', that hit the Spanish charts at number 2.
In 1977, Manzanita started a solo career. His first solo album, Poco ruido y mucho duende, came out in 1978. In 1980, his second LP came out, Espiritu Sin Nombre.
Manzanita's third LP, Talco y Bronce, recorded in 1981, included two singles, 'Ramito De Violetas' and 'Por Tu Ausencia' that sold over half a million copies in Spain.
During most of the 1990s, Manzanita disappeared from the music scene. He quit singing, became a flea market salesman, selling comforters. He moved with his wife and kids south, to the Malaga province and joined an evangelical church.
The flea market business didn't go too well and he returned to making music in the late 1990s. At 42, Manzanita re-recorded his greatest hits live in an acoustic format, with a lot of percussion and less computers and keyboards. It was a rootsier sound. Por tu ausencia was recorded in Madrid in 1998. His son, Pepe Ortega Heredia, 17 years old at the time, sang backing vocals.
On Gitano Cubano (Cuban Gypsy), released in 2002, Manzanita fused Cuban sones, guarachas and boleros with flamenco. The guests on the album included Raimundo Amador (Spain), Lucrecia (Cuba), Lolita (Spain), David Montes and Nestor Gutierrez.
Manzanita died December 5 of a heart attack at his home, in Alhaurin de la Torre, Malaga (Spain). He was 48.
Poco Ruido y mucho duende (CBS S 83188, 1978)
Espiritu Sin Nombre (CBS S 84392, 1980)
Talco y Bronce (1981)
Cuando La Noche Te Envuelve (CBS S 25150, 1982)
La Quiero a Morir (1983)
Mal de Amores (CBS 4026035, 1984)
Echando Sentencia (CBS, 1986)
Pueblo Gitano (CSP 40-13696)
Por tu ausencia (Warner, 1998)
Locura de Amor (2001)
12 Exitos de Oro (2001)
Verde y otros Exitos (2002)
Gitano Cubano (Warner Music Spain, 2002)
|Flamenco, Pop, Vocals, Guitar|