Tag Archives: Flamenco

Deliciously Vibrant Flamenco

Gerardo Nuñez and Ulf Wakenius – Logos (ACT Music, 2016)

Journalist, writer and provocateur Hunter S. Thompson once wrote, “Music has always been a matter of Energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel. I have always needed Fuel. I am a serious consumer. On some nights I still believe that a car with the gas needle on empty can run about fifty more miles if you have the right music very loud on the radio.”

Whether you’re bent on calling it inspiration or fuel, music is one of those things that indelibly mark us; it is those bright, shiny pieces we pick up simply because we are slaves to it whether we want to be or not. Speaking of the bright and shiny, guitar and flamenco fans have a set of the brilliantly fiery pieces to clutch at and put away in their pockets with ACT Music’s release of Logos by Spain’s famed flamenco guitarist Gerardo Nuñez and Sweden’s master jazz guitarist Ulf Wakenius.

With recordings such as Calima (1998), Flamencos en Nueva York (1992), Travesia (2012) Jucal (1997) and Jazzpaña Live (2015) to his credit Mr. Nuñez teamed up with Mr. Wakenius, who has own recording credits that go beyond work with the Oscar Peterson quartet and the Ray Brown trio such as Vagabond (2012), Momento Magico (2014), Love is Real (2008) and Forever You (2013), for the live recording Jazzpaña Live in 2015. Hitching a ride to that collaboration, Logos is a rich and rewarding collaboration for this unlikely pairing. Fiery, masterful and simply superb, Logos dives deep into the waters where flamenco and jazz eddy together to create a whirlpool that’s warm and effervescent.

Gerardo Nuñez and Ulf Wakenius - Logos
Gerardo Nuñez and Ulf Wakenius – Logos

Deliciously vibrant, Logos opens with title track “Logos” and it’s difficult not to get a little breathless as this pair finds a groove that is so finely and tautly drawn. Joined by flamenco percussionist Cepillo, as well as Mr. Nunez’s wife Carmen Cortes and daughter Isabel Nuñez on palmas, Logos travels a road that lushly landscaped, where every turn is yet another stunning overlook with tracks like “Selene,” “Habana” and “Mirlo.”

With the bulk of the composition credits going to Mr. Nuñez, Logos revisits a few of his earlier themes, but the pair collaborates together on flamenco fiery “Fui Piedra” that includes vocals by flamenco singer Cancun.

Mr. Wakenius takes his own composing credit for the breezily elegant “Mirlo.” Fans get other goodies like the rich and savvy “Orfeo,” the dramatic “Liber Pater” and the graceful “Sevilla.” Kudos should definitely go to sound people and studio staff because this is one of those crystal clear recordings where listeners can pick out every nuance and note.

Logos is indeed bright and shiny polished and is very definition of masterful, but it’s not like we’d expect anything different from these consummate guitarists. So, yeah, I see us going an extra fifty miles and beyond with this kind of fuel.

Buy Logos in the Americas

Buy Logos in Europe

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Flamenco Summit Festival Reveals 2016 Program

Madrid’s iconic flamenco festival Suma Flamenca will take place June 16 – July 3, 2016. Presented by the Madrid regional government, Suma Flamenca is one of the greatest flamenco festivals in Spain.

This year’s program features celebrated artists such as Vicente Amigo, Juan Carmona, Estrella Morente and Farruquito.

Next concerts

Vicente Amigo, Concierto flamenco
Wednesday, June 15, 20:30 (8:30 p.m.)
Teatros Del Canal, Sala Roja (Madrid)
Ticket price: 19 – 25 €

Mayte Martín, Cosa de dos
Thuesday, June 16, 20:30 (8:30 p.m.)
Teatros Del Canal, Sala Roja (Madrid)
Ticket price: 19 – 25 €

El Pele y Carmen Linares
Friday, June 17, 20:30 (8:30 p.m.)
Teatros Del Canal, Sala Roja (Madrid)
Ticket price: 19 – 25 €

Flamenquillos, La Nube Viajera
* Canciones populares infantiles
Friday, June 17, 19:00 (7:00 p.m.)
Auditorio De La Escuela Municipal De Música (Pozuelo de Alarcón, Madrid)
Ticket price: 5 €

Juan Carmona, Mis pasiones
Friday, June 17, 23:00 (11:00 p.m.)
Café Berlín (Madrid)
Ticket price: 12 €

Estrella Morente, Estrella & Riqueni
Saturday, June 18, 20:30 (8:30 p.m.)
Teatros Del Canal, Sala Roja (Madrid)
Ticket price: 19 – 25 €

Caño Roto, Concierto flamenco
Saturday, June 18, 20:00 (8:30 p.m.)
Centro Cultural Paco Rabal (Madrid)
Ticket price: 8 €

Farruquito, Improvisao
Saturday, June 18, 19:30 (8:30 p.m.)
Teatros Del Canal, Sala Roja (Madrid)
Ticket price: 19 – 25 €

Headline photo: Vicente Amigo

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Guitar Master José Antonio Rodríguez to Present New Album in Madrid

José Antonio Rodríguez
José Antonio Rodríguez

José Antonio Rodríguez, one of the leading guitar players in Spain, will be presenting his new album Adiós Muchachos… (2016) on Tuesday, June 14, 2016 at Festival Flamenco Madrid 2016. The concert will take place at Teatro Fernán Gómez, Centro Cultural de la Villa, Sala Guirau.

Accompanied by his regular band, José Antonio Rodríguez will perform pieces from the new album as well as earlier works.

Read the CD review: Masterful Guitar Celebration

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Artist Profiles: Ahmed el Salam

Ahmed el Salam
Ahmed el Salam

Ahmed el Salam was born in Oued Souf, in the Algerian Sahara, where he learned to play the flute. Later he moved to Algiers, the capital of Algeria, where he discovered the guitar. He now lives in France and his music embraces the sounds of his life, combining a sublime combination of strings (guitar, ud, violin) his voice speaks from the heart.

In Ahmed’s music, you can hear a plurality of cultural influences – echoes of chaabi with other music styles of North Africa and the Middle East, alongside Arab-Andalusian music, flamenco, the blues, Santana and Jimi Hendrix.

Ahmed el Salam has performed extensively in France, Germany, The Netherlands, Denmark, Spain, Italy, Turkey and elsewhere.

website: http://www.ahmed-el-salam.fr/en/

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Masterful Guitar Celebration

José Antonio Rodríguez – dAdiós Muchachos… (2016)

It looks like 2016 is going to be a great year for guitar albums. Some of the finest guitarists in the world have released new recordings. Flamenco guitarist José Antonio Rodríguez is one of the leading players in the genre and he has just released an extraordinary new album titled Adiós Muchachos… It’s an indie production showcasing the talent of José Antonio Rodríguez playing a mix of contemporary and orthodox flamenco pieces.

The 11 compositions on Adiós Muchachos include flamenco tangos, alegrías, bulerías, colombianas and granaínas. Although most of the album is instrumental, José Antonio Rodríguez invited two celebrated vocalists to the studio, José Valencia and Macarena de la Torre. The rest of the band includes Agustín Henke and Agustín Diassera on percussión, Pedro Vinagre on bass and Manuel Montero on guitar.

Special guests include guitar maestro Víctor Monge “Serranito” on the track “El Regalo.”

There is also a piece titled “La fiesta de los locos” that features many of the finest guitarists in Spain: Manolo Sanlucar, “Serranito”, Paco Cepero, Diego Cortes Amaya “Dieguito de Morón”, Domi Serralbo, Dani de Morón, José Quevedo “Bolita”, Jesús Guerrero, Diego del Morao, Manuel Montero, and Chico Gallardo. You can see them all in this music video:

Adiós Muchachos… is an impressive guitar recording. It clearly demonstrates that José Antonio Rodríguez is one of the finest players in today’s flamenco guitar scene. A candidate for best guitar album of 2016.

Buy the digital download version of Adiós Muchachos…

Buy the Adiós Muchachos… CD

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Songs of Exultation and sorrow through the Flamenco Prism

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.

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Spanish Flamenco Fusion Guitarist Alberto Carrión to Perform in New York

Alberto_Carrion_NY_2016

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.

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The Diverse Sounds of Iberia and Cuba at EXIB 2016 Day 2 Showcases

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 at EXIB 2016 - Photo by Angel Romero
Lara Bello at EXIB 2016 – Photo by Angel Romero

 

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).

 

Jaqueline at EXIB 2016 - Photo by Angel Romero
Jaqueline at EXIB 2016 – Photo by Angel Romero

 

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.

 

Praça do Giraldo audience at EXIB 2016 - Photo by Angel Romero
Praça do Giraldo audience at EXIB 2016 – Photo by Angel Romero

 

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.

 

Paulo Ferreira on Portuguese guitar at EXIB 2016 - Photo by Angel Romero
Paulo Ferreira on Portuguese guitar at EXIB 2016 – Photo by Angel Romero

 

Jerónimo Mendes on fado guitar at EXIB 2016 - Photo by Angel Romero
Jerónimo Mendes on fado guitar at EXIB 2016 – Photo by Angel Romero

 

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”.

 

Mel Semé at EXIB 2016 - Photo by Angel Romero
Mel Semé at EXIB 2016 – Photo by Angel Romero

 

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”.

 

Projeto Alma - Photo courtesy of EXIB 2016
Projeto Alma – Photo courtesy of EXIB 2016

 

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.

 

La Corrala at EXIB 2016 - Photo by Angel Romero
La Corrala at EXIB 2016 – Photo by Angel Romero

 

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.

Related articles:

The Passionate Music of Alentejo, the Focus of EXIB 2016 Opening Concert

Three Continents Represented at EXIB 2016 Day 1 Showcases

Related links:

Lara Bello
Mel Semé
Projeto Alma
La Corrala

Headline photo: Lara Bello, David Minguillón and David Gadea at EXIB 2016 – Photo by Angel Romero

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Three Continents Represented at EXIB 2016 Day 1 Showcases

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.

As I am gradually able to create powerful vibrations, other people can feel the effect that this has; if it is intense, then everything vibrates around it,” says Nano about his work. His discography includes Live in Concert; Las Torres de Sal; Los Espejos; Nano Stern; Mil 500 Vueltas; and Voy y Vuelvo.

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.

 

Mariola Membrives at EXIB 2016 - Photo by Angel Romero
Mariola Membrives at EXIB 2016 – Photo by Angel Romero

 

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.

 

 Mariola Membrives and Masa Kamaguchi at EXIB 2016 - Photo by Angel Romero

Mariola Membrives and Masa Kamaguchi at EXIB 2016 – Photo by Angel Romero

 

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.

 

Duarte at EXIB 2016 - Photo by Angel Romero
Duarte at EXIB 2016 – Photo by Angel Romero

 

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).

 

Pedro Amendoeira at EXIB 2016 - Photo by Angel Romero
Pedro Amendoeira at EXIB 2016 – Photo by Angel Romero

 

 Rogério Ferreira at EXIB 2016 - Photo by Angel Romero

Rogério Ferreira at EXIB 2016 – Photo by Angel Romero

 

Duarte has released three albums “Fados Meus” (2004), “Aquelas Coisas da Gente” (2009) and “Sem dor nem piedade” (2015).

 

Karyna Gomes with Ivan Gomes - Photo by Angel Romero
Karyna Gomes with Ivan Gomes – Photo by Angel Romero

 

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.

 

gourd water drum - Photo by Angel Romero
gourd water drum – Photo by Angel Romero

 

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.

 

Kalakan at EXIB 2016 - Photo courtesy of EXIB Música
Kalakan at EXIB 2016 – Photo courtesy of EXIB Música

 

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.

related articles:

The Passionate Music of Alentejo, the Focus of EXIB 2016 Opening Concert

related links:

Nano Stern
Mariola Membrives
Duarte
Kalakan

Headline photo: Nano Stern at EXIB 2016 – Photo by Angel Romero

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