Josemi Carmona & Javier Colina – De Cerca (Universal Music Spain, 2016)
Flamenco meets jazz in this intimate collaboration between flamenco guitarist Josemi Carmona and jazz bassist Javier Colina. They are joined by Bandolero on percussion and palmas (Flamenco handclap percussion).
Ever since Carles Benavent adapted the bass to flamenco, Spain has produced a series of excellent bassists with a jazz background who adapt perfectly to flamenco. Javier Colina is one of these musicians. Former Ketama guitarist Josemi Carmona provides his own flamenco compositions, including alegrías, seductive tangos and a granaina.
In addition to flamenco and jazz, the musicians venture into the sounds of Latin America, incorporating versions of boleros and salsa songs. Wind instrument master and regular flamenco collaborator Jorge Pardo appears as guest on flute on “El incomprendido” (the misunderstood), a tribute to the late flamenco rumba star Antonio González, “El Pescaílla.”
Even though the majority of the album is instrumental, Spanish soul vocalist Amparo Velasco “La Negra” participates in the classic bittersweet bolero “Verdad amarga” written by Mexican songwriter Consuelo Velázquez.
Carmona and Colina define De Cerca as an album directed to the heart featuring music that tell stories of joy and heartbreak.
Josemi Carmona was born in Madrid in 1971 within a family of flamenco artists (his father is famed guitarist Pepe Habichuela). He was one of the founders of the groundbreaking flamenco fusion band Ketama. After playing with Ketama for twenty years he worked with artists as diverse as Paco de Lucía, Miguel Bosé, Alejandro Sanz and Rosario. Josemi recorded an earlier flamenco guitar-jazz bass duet album titled “Sumando“, with bassist Carles Benavent.
Javier Colina was born in Pamplona in 1960. He has performed jazz and flamenco and participated in the iconic album “Lágrimas negras” by Cuban pianist Bebo Valdés and flamenco vocalist Diego “El Cigala.”
De Cerca is an excellent collaboration by two of the finest musicians in the world of flamenco fusion.
The second concert of the last season of ‘The Flame Series’ will feature Spanish flamenco fusion guitarist Alberto Carrión. The concert will take place next Saturday, May 21st at Cornelia St Café. This performance is produced by World Music Boutique Productions in collaboration with Cornelia St Café and Spain Culture NY (Consulate General of Spain in New York).
‘The Flame’ showcases performances of artists that combine jazz, Flamenco and other forms. Alberto Carrión, based in Toledo, Spain, was born in a small town in the outskirts of Toledo, Spain and began playing guitar at the age of 12 taught by his father who was himself a guitarist.
Homeschooled at first, Alberto soon found the need to expand his musical knowledge and started studying music at local academies and afterwards in Madrid, at the prestigious ‘Ateneo Jazz’.
The last three years of his studies he focused heavily in the study of harmony applied to flamenco. With a very refreshing approach to the flamenco guitar, his compositions reflect all of his musical influences, from Jazz to Latin to pop but, trying to maintain the roots of flamenco but infusing it with ‘a little something extra’.
Alberto Carrión has worked, as a studio musician and as a sideman for live performances, with musicians from all musical genres. Alberto has shown to be a very prolific composer for theater, dance school and TV commercials. His latest album is ‘Poesia en pentagrama’ (‘Poetry on a pentagram’) which brings a soft combination of classical guitar, Latin, Jazz music and Flamenco.
The concert will take place from 6:00-7:30PM at the downstairs of Cornelia St Café, 29 Cornelia St, Greenwich Village, NY. 212 989 9319.
The EXIB 2016 opening act on May 6th was captivating Spanish vocalist and composer Lara Bello. Although she’s originally from Granada, Lara Bello is currently based in New York City. Lara’s concert at Praça do Giraldo in the Evora town center was one of the highlights of the day, delivering an entrancing mix of sounds of the Mediterranean: flamenco, North African, jazz and Latin America.
Lara Bello uses flamenco and jazz vocal stylings and was accompanied by two superb Spanish instrumentalists, guitarist David Minguillón and percussionist David Gadea.
Lara Bello’s discography includes Niña Pez (2009) and Primero Amarillo Después Malva (2012).
The second act, award-winning fado singer Jaqueline was one of the most popular acts that night. Her charismatic presence on stage and her passionate, powerful voice drew in a large crowd. Although we’ve been given an image of the melancholic fado singer, there was no melancholy there. Jaqueline delivered well-known songs that Portuguese members of the audience were very familiar with, and they sang along.
Jaqueline was accompanied by three virtuoso musicians, who got an opportunity to showcase their talent with an instrumental piece. The lineup included Paulo Ferreira on guitarra portuguesa (Portuguese guitar), Jerónimo Mendes on Viola de Fado (fado guitar) and Miguel Silva on bass guitar.
Jaqueline Carvalho was born in Lisbon in a family of musicians and singers from Madeira and Lisbon. She was a member of “As Miudas Mem Martins”, a group of Portuguese fado artists who performed throughout Portugal and abroad. In 2009 Jaqueline released her first album, titled “Fado”.
Cuban multi-instrumentalist Mel Semé was the third act on stage. He was joined by guest vocalist and guitarist Iraqis del Valle. The concert showcased Mel Semé’s acoustic side featuring Cuban-rooted jazz and pop songs.
Born in Camagüey, Cuba, Mel Semé began his music career playing with the older musicians who performed a type of Latin gospel music. After graduating from Havana University of music and forming part of the Havana Symphony Orchestra and the Camagüey Symphony Orchestra he lived for a while in Switzerland where he taught courses in percussion and performance. He is currently based in Spain and is the leader of the reggae and funk group, Black Gandhi. Mel Semé latest album is “Naturaleza”.
The fourth official showcase act was Portuguese world music band Projeto Alma. The ensemble crosses various musical and geographical boundaries, featuring genres from the Iberian Peninsula such as fado from Portugal and flamenco tango from Spain as well as Afro-Brazilian bossa nova, Latin American boleros, Cape Verdean morna and Argentine tango.
“O Outro lado da Rua” (the other side of the street) is the band’s first album.
Projeto Alma’s members include Teresa Macedo on vocals; Júlio Vilela on guitar; Zeca Neves on bass; Vitor Apolo on accordion; and João Abreu on percussion.
The last act on stage was La Corrala from Granada, Spain. The group features musicians from various parts of Spain who are based in Granada and come from the reggae and mestizo music scene. Granada has become a really attractive and affordable location for musicians from Spain and abroad (sort of like Asheville in the USA). La Corrala plays flamenco combined with Latin music and reggae beats, jazz, Argentine tango, blues, bossa nova and pop featuring original lyrics by the band’s vocalist. They were one of the highlights of the night.
La Corrala has released an EP with studio and live tracks. Band members include Manuel Jesús Afanador Herrera on vocals; Juan María García Navia on piano, flute and background vocals; Eduardo Tomás del Ciotto on electric bass; Jesús Santiago Rubia on percussion; Juan Peralta Torrecilla on trumpet, flugelhorn and background vocals; and Rubens García Real on guitar.
The threat of rain forced organizers to move the EXIB 2016 showcase stage from the Roman Temple of Évora (Templo de Diana) to Praça do Giraldo in downtown Evora. The first artist to appear on stage was Chilean singer-songwriter Nano Stern. Armed with just a guitar and his vocals, he put on a lively show. Nano is deeply influenced by the Nueva Canción Chilena, especially artists like Victor Jara and Inti Illimani.
Nano’s lyrics are charged with political and anti-establishment messages. Unlike other singer-songwriters in the past, he strums and plays some solos on his acoustic guitar wildly, looking more like a rocker than a folk singer. His one-man show was highly entertaining.
The next artist scheduled to perform was Ecuadorian singer Mariela Condo. Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to make it due to the devastating earthquake in Ecuador. Mariela was replaced by Spanish vocalist, dancer and educator Mariola Membrives.
Membrives performed part of her “La Llorona” show. It’s a mix of flamenco, Latin American influences and jazz. She appeared before the live audience accompanied by bassist Masa Kamaguchi. While Membrives sang with a mixture of flamenco and jazz vocal techniques, Masa Kamaguchi performed serpentine jazz bass lines. It was an unexpected mix that felt like two simultaneous performances on stage, but it worked.
The third act, Duarte, brought the passion and charisma of fado to downtown Evora. Duarte started the show saying “Welcome to my square, welcome to our square. It’s good to be back home after so many travels.” Duarte is a native of Evora and has a fado and pop and rock background. He researched traditional Fado lyrics and music and has composed his own songs that form part of his repertoire. In 2006 the Amalia Rodrigues Foundation awarded him the Emerging Male Fado Singer prize.
The audience loved Duarte’s captivating performance. He was accompanied by two outstanding instrumentalists, Pedro Amendoeira on guitarra portuguesa (Portuguese guitar) and Rogério Ferreira on viola de fado (fado guitar).
Vocalist and percussionist Karyna Gomes brought the sounds of Guinea Bissau to EXIB 2016. Karyna grew up in Guinea Bissau and was a member of the iconic Super Mama Djombo. She currently lives in Portugal.
During her show, Karyna introduced the gourd water drum played only by women and despite having a drummer, Karyna delivered a set of laid back songs.
Karyna Gomes recently recorded her first solo album, titled “Mindjer“, produced by Paulo Borges. “Mindjer” is a tribute to the strength, determination and courage of the women of Guinea Bissau.
Karyna Gomes’ band included Jose Afonso on keyboards; Hugo Aly on bass; Nir Paris on drums; Ivan Gomes on guitar; and Ibrahima Galissa on kora.
Northern Basque band Kalakan put on a popular show, using drums, the alboka animal horn (hornpipe), the chalaparta percussion instrument and Basque traditional vocals. The trio sings in Basque and their dynamic show was well-liked by the audience.
Kalakan has a new album titled Elementuak that features instrumental and a cappella pieces, combining traditional sounds with newly composed material.
Band members include Thierry Biscary on vocals and percussion; Jamixel Bereau on vocals and percussion; and Xan Errotabehere on vocals, alboka, flute and percussion.
Títere Tran Tran is a puppet project from Granada (Spain) that aims to bring the world of flamenco to a younger audience. It’s a family show in which they explain the types of flamenco and its historical characters. All with the help of two puppets, La Farruca and Tomasillo el Alegrías. Source: Andalusian Stories.
The SGAE Foundation revealed the names of the artists selected to perform at the International Flamenco Showcase for Arts Presenters. The showcase will be held May 19-22, 2016 in Malaga (Spain). The initiative, organized by the SGAE Foundation, in collaboration with the Picasso Museum in Malaga, the Andalusian Institute of Flamenco and Spanish Cultural Action, aims to disseminate flamenco worldwide.
The artists selected include José Antonio Rodríguez, Babel, Ultra High Flamenco (+ Rosario Toledo), Pedro el Granaíno, Alfonso Aroca Quinteto, Josemi Carmona & Javier Colina, Esperanza Fernández, Dos Cabezas… Pa un Sombrero (Dorantes / Pele), Antonio Reyes, Flamencas, Rafael Riqueni and Manuel Valencia. The organizers received over 186 submissions.
Over four days, the Flamenco artists will perform showcases for an audience that includes European festival directors and programmers invited to the reality of Spanish flamenco. In addition, meetings between festival directors and programmers European flamenco, invited by the SGAE Foundation, and representatives of authors and groups to foster new ways of collaboration between them organized.
The objectives of the First Exhibition of Flamenco for International Programmers SGAE Foundation are directly promote flamenco; encourage the participation of Spanish flamenco dancers at festivals; promote international tours for artists and encourage meetings and exchange of experiences and knowledge among professionals (authors, artists, agents, programmers, festival directors, record companies, etc.) in Spain and the rest of Europe.
The Picasso Museum is located on Calle San Agustin 8, Malaga.
On Saturday night, most of the bands were French to please the general public. The crowd around was younger on average than in the previous nights. Some just wanted to be there to get a buzz and jumped up and down on the faster songs, while talking throughout the quieter ones.
Trio Keynoad appeared on stage representing the Provence Alpes – Côte d’Azur region. The members of Trio Keynoad are Ameylia Saad Wu (voice and harp), Christian Kiane Fromentin (violin, saz) and Nicola Marinoni (percussion).
Ameylia is the daughter of Lebanese writer Michel Saad and a Chinese mother. The group’s lyrics are poems by Ameylia’s father set to music. She grew up on Reunion Island and quickly became interested in learning the Celtic harp and classical singing.
The song “Follow your star” featured a steady darbuka beat. We easily recognized the Eastern structure of the song containing intervals of three-quarter tones.
The remaining songs ‘Okinanoss “Sega islands” and “Night Wings” invited us to a journey in space and time. A mixture of neo-classical and world music.
The next performance I attended at the Chapiteau stage was Compagnie Lyakam ((India – France). Jessie Veeratherapillay performed Bharata Natyam, the dance of her Tamil ancestors. It’s a form of Indian classical dance expressing grace, purity, and sculptural poses.
The musicians on electric sitar, saxophone and percussion, together with vocal harmonies, delivered jazz and flamenco flavors.
Soadaj, from Reunion Island (France) brought a breath of fresh air at the Salle des Sucres. The musicians specialize in Maloya that is, along with the Sega, one of two major genres of Reunion.
Pan-African and European influences are mixed into their music reflecting the melting pot of the band.
On “Out ‘Po” the crystalline voice of the blonde singer Marie invaded the space, supported by the sound of the didgeridoo, plunging us into a shamanic trance. The voice of Laurence, the second singer in counterpoint, harmony or response fitted completely into the music of the band.
The musicians of Saodaj were full of beauty, talent and youth, with a solid background and life experience. They brought us authenticity and the enthusiastic reception of the public was fully justified.
Belgium-based duo Vardan Hovanissian (Armenia) & Emre Gültekin (Turkey) played at the Cabaret stage. Vardan Hovanissian plays duduk, an Armenian music instrument like a double reed oboe, while Emre Gültekin plays the saz, a long-necked lute.
Both musicians brought into life the coexistence of two cultures that existed under the Ottoman Empire until the tragic events of the early 20th century with the physical elimination of about 1.5 million Armenians.
Vardan Hovanissian and Emre Gültekin produced a duo album “Adana“, one hundred years after the beginning of the Armenian genocide.
The title song “Adana” is dedicated to Adana, a city which housed a large Armenian community in the late 19th century and was exterminated during the genocide. Emre’s voice expressed suffering.
“Daglar” (mountain in English) is a poem written by Emre’s father. Emre sang softly. The accompaniment by the darbuka and the saz created a sense of emptiness on mountain tops. Vardan and Emre were supported by two experienced musicians mastering the Turkish and Armenian music structures based on Eastern and Western scales.
The concert by Vardan Hovanissian & Emre Gültekin ended with a standing ovation of more than 1,500 persons.
The band 7SON@TO that performed at Salle des Sucres is the flagship of gwoKa, the musical style Guadeloupe of island. It is mainly played with drums of different sizes called ‘ka’, a family of percussion instruments.
On stage, a lead singer in the center, 3 singers (two women and one man) and four percussionists.
Durg the song “Péyi Dewo” a singer took over the lead vocals. Then other musicians, and part of the audience responded. “Ah Ta Mama Yayo” had growing harmonies. I recognized Central African words in the Creole songs. Indeed, gwoka was born during the period of slavery and was a means of escape and communication. The audience accompanied the songs and danced to the vibes of the Caribbean Isles.
I found that the representation was a bit too pedagogic, but 7SON@TO brought into light their traditions rooted in our time. Their concert enriched me with their culture.
I hope that the coverage of more than one third of the acts gives you an idea of the new discoveries and highlights. Babel Med Music is, without question, one of the important international events in world music. We were very lucky with music and Mediterranean sunshine.
Oud maestro Simon Shaheen and special guests will present a musical program that brings to life the Arab music of Al-Andalus and blends it with the art of flamenco. The show will take place on Saturday, April 9, 2016 at Baruch Performing Arts Center’s Mason Hall, 17 Lexington Avenue at 23rd Street, New York City.
Simon Shaheen, one of the most influential artists of his generation, is an acclaimed musician, composer, and educator. Born in the village of Tarshiha in the Galilee into a Palestinian family, Shaheen was immersed in music in early childhood. He began to learn to play the ‘ud (oud) at the age of five with his father Hikmat Shaheen, a famous teacher of Arab music and a master ‘ud player.
In 1980, two years after graduating from the Academy of Music in Jerusalem, Simon Shaheen moved to New York to complete his graduate studies in performance at the Manhattan School of Music, and later in music education and musicology at Columbia University. He went on to form two groups: the Near Eastern Music Ensemble that performs the highest standard of traditional Arab music, and Qantara, which brings to life Shaheen’s vision for the unbridled fusion of Arab, jazz, Western classical, and Latin American music.
As a composer of chamber music, Simon Shaheen has written numerous works including “Zafir” for the Imani Winds and “The Call” for a chamber string orchestra. He has written music and scores for theater and films, including The Sheltering Sky, and Malcolm X, and released seven recordings, including The Music of Mohamed Abdel Wahab and the Grammy-nominated Blue Flame.
In 1994, he received the prestigious National Heritage Fellowship, the United States’ highest honor in the traditional arts. In 1997, he founded the Arabic Music Retreat at Mount Holyoke College, an annual event that brings together the finest educators, performers, and students of Arab music for intensive study and performance.
In addition to his two groups, Shaheen tours as a solo artist internationally and as a lecturer throughout the academic world promoting awareness of Arab music. He is currently teaching at Berklee College of Music in Boston.
The flamenco series Grands Cantaores du Flamenco focuses on the late gitano (gypsy) cantaor (flamenco singer) Roque Montoya Heredia, better known as ‘Jarrito.’ The selection includes songs from the late 1950s and early 1960s. Jarrito built his career performing at Madrid’s iconic tablaos (flamenco nightclubs) and touring worldwide with some of the finest flamenco dance companies.
Jarrito mastered most flamenco genres from various parts of Andalusia: peteneras, fandangos de Huelva, serranas, tarantas, granadinas, mineras, malagueñas, soleares, verdiales, tientos, soleá, cantiñas, cartageneras and more. He’s been described as a walking encyclopedia of flamenco styles. His vocal performances were truly diverse, from calm whispers to gut wrenching passionate cries.
It’s fascinating to listen to pre-1970s flamenco recordings. The arrangements were quite different at the time. In addition to guiar accompaniment, Jarrito’s songs include palmas (flamenco handclapping percussion), flamenco dance foot-stomping and castanets.
Roque Montoya Heredia was born in San Roque (Cádiz) in 1925 and passed away in Marbella (Málaga) in 1995. The CD booklet contains extensive biographical information in English, Spanish and French.
Grands Cantaores du Flamenco, vol. 26 features ardent performances by one of the great flamenco vocalists of the 20th century.
Simon Shaheen & Qantara with special guests Nidal Ibourk, Auxi Fernandez and Juan Pérez Rodríguez are set to perform on Saturday, April 9, 2016 at Baruch Performing Arts Center’s Mason Hall, 17 Lexington Avenue at 23rd Street, New York City.
Violin and oud master Simon Shaheen, a crucial major figure in the promotion of Arab music, will bring to life the Arab music of Al-Andalus and blend it with the art of flamenco in a program of instrumental and vocal music and dance. Shaheen will be joined by the admirable Moroccan singer Nidal Ibourk, who has collaborated with him on many occasions; the young fiery flamenco dancer Auxi Fernandez who complements the music with her sinuous arm movements and explosive footwork; flamenco vocalist, guitarist and pianist Juan Pérez Rodríguez, from a family of Gypsy musicians; and Shaheen’s much-admired Qantara ensemble.
The program renews a relationship that began more than a thousand years ago; it reveals the commonalities of a music born in cultural centers of Iraq and Syria, blew like the wind (zafir) across the waters of the Mediterranean to Al-Andalus, blended with elements of Spanish music, and was brought back across the sea to North Africa where it flourished in the cities of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.