Flamenco guitar and Cuban tres player Raúl Rodríguez Quiñones was born in Sevilla (Spain) in 1974. He started out playing electric guitar and drums, taking a particularly interest in blues and rock music, but by age 17 shifted his attention to playing flamenco guitar.
Raúl later attended the University of Sevilla, where he majored in the History of Cultural Anthropology. He began playing professionally in the group Caraoscura, a duo including himself and Jose Loreto “Charmusco,” the son of the famous guitarist Parrilla de Jerez. In 1995, they released an album titled Qué es lo que quieres de mí? on RCA Records that was produced by Kiko Veneno and Joe Dworniak.
In 1996, Raúl joined Kiko Veneno as his flamenco guitarist, touring and recording Punta Paloma (BMG 1997), Puro Veneno (BMG 1998), and La Familia Polio (BMG 2000). Raúl Rodriguez also performed with his mother, the renowned Spanish singer Martirio, playing guitar and percussion.
In 1999, Raúl co-produced Martirio’s Flor de Piel (52 P.M.), an ambitious flamenco-jazz interpretation of South American music. In 2001, Raúl produced and arranged Martirio’s Mucho Corazon (52 P.M.) that was nominated as “Best Flamenco Album” at the 2002 Latin Grammys. His collaborations with Martirio continued with the albums “25 años” (Nuevos Medios, 2009), “El aire que te rodea” (Sony, 2010), “De un mundo raro. Cantes por Chavela” (Universal, 2013), and “Martirio – 30 años” (Universal, 2015).
In 2003 Raúl formed the acclaimed flamenco fusion group Son de la Frontera. Raúl Rodriguez played the flamenco tres he developed, based on the Cuban tres.
A seasoned session musician, Raúl Rodriguez has also recorded with Compay Segundo, Jackson Browne, Chavela Vargas, Soledad Bravo, Jerry Gonzalez, and many others.
His first solo album Razón de Son came out in 2014. The CD version came in a beautifully-packaged hard cover book.
* ¿Qué es lo que quieres de mí?”, with Caraoscura (BMG, 1995)
* Son de la Frontera (Nuevos Medios/World Village, 2005)
* Cal (Nuevos Medios/World Village, 2007)
* Razón de Son (Fol, 2014)
* La Raíz Eléctrica (2017)
Ramón Suárez Salazar, better known as Ramón El Portugués, was born in Mérida (Badajoz province), Spain in 1948. He is the nephew of the legendary singer Porrina de Badajoz.
Ramón El Portugués is specialized in cantes extremeños (Flamenco songs from Extremadura, a region in western Spain), such as tangos and jaleos. The jaleos are thought to be one of the oldest forms of Flamenco, a primitive form of the alegria.
Although born in Mérida, Ramón El Portugués is known in the Flamenco circuit as El Portugués because his region, Extremadura, borders Portugal.
Ramón El Portugués has taken part in most relevant flamenco festivals and has proved to be a “live” artist rather than a recording artist. He has recorded very few albums during his musical career, the first one in the early 1970s.
On his second album, Gitanos de la Plaza, he was accompanied by some the finest flamenco guitarists: Juan Habichuela, Pepe Habichuela, Tomatito and El Bola. His own son, Paquete, and El Negri, also collaborated, both being members of La Barberia del Sur. Therefore, Gitanos de la Plaza brought together several flamenco generations with the fabulous voice of Ramón El Portugués.
In 2009, top flamenco artists participated in a tribute to Ramón El Portugués’ 50th anniversary as a singer. Pepe Habichuela, José El Frances, Los Chunguitos, Juan Carmona and others got together in a series of fundraising concerts to pay for knee surgery.
* Gitanos de la Plaza (Nuevos Medios, 1992)
* Canta Ramón El Portugués (2006)
* Archivo De Flamenco Vol.17, Aires Flamencos De Extremadura Con El Indio Gitano Y * Ramón “El Portugués” (2007)
* Jaleo, with Guadiana (Karonte, 2014)
The SGAE Foundation announced the artists selected to participate in the 2nd Flamenco EÑE Show for International Flamenco Programmers. The event will take place May 18 to 20, 2017 in Malaga, southern Spain.
The initiative, organized by the SGAE Foundation, with the collaboration of the Malaga Picasso Museum and the Andalusian Institute of Flamenco – Andalusian Regional Ministry of Culture, aims to internationalize flamenco.
The artists selected include Angelita Montoya, who will present Versos Perdidos (Forgotten Verses); guitarist Daniel Casares, who will pay homage to the painter Pablo Ruiz Picasso (who was born in Malaga) through his show Picassares; cantaor (singer) David Palomar will present Denominación de origen (Denomination of origin); the latest from brothers David de Jacoba and Carlos de Jacoba; Veteran performer Diego Carrasco will review his 50-year career; Guadiana, who will deliver the show Raíces de mi tierra (Roots of my land); the Jairo León Quartet; José Carlos Gómez, with his new album, Origen; Mixto Lobo, who will present Plugged Flamenco; Naike and Paquete, who will showcase Diez canciones Con nombre de mujer (ten songs with a woman’s name); Raúl Rodríguez, who will perform his latest project, La Raíz Eléctrica; and Rycardo Moreno, with the special collaboration of Sandra Carrasco in the project A Galeano.
Over the course of four days, the participating flamenco artists and groups will perform concerts in showcase format to the attending public, which will include different directors and programmers from European festivals interested in current Spanish flamenco. There will also be networking meetings.
Antonio Manuel Álvarez Vélez, better known as Pitingo was born into a seafaring family in the city of Ayamonte in Huelva, Spain, in southwestern Spain.
After going to school locally, he moved to Madrid where he started performing in underground flamenco clubs, eventually ending up with a weekly gig at the flamenco bar El Mago (The Magician), a regular spot of flamenco’s greatest vocalists, such as Enrique Morente and Carmen Linares. He soon debuted at festivals and theaters across Spain and was signed to Universal Music.
Pitingo’s first album, Pitingo con habichuelas, brought together the singer with worldclass guitarist Pepe Habichuela. Pitingo quickly distinguished himself from other flamenco singers with his unconventional R&B and Gospel approach to flamenco.
In 2008 Pitingo released his first major effort to fuse flamenco with soul and gospel traditions, Soulería. The word-play of the title refers to the flamenco musical style called bulería. Pitingo followed that release with 2010’s Olé and Amén that featured the London Community Gospel Choir.
Pitingo’s Malecón Street (named for the famous Havana seaside promenade) expanded his flamenco soul style to the streets of Old Havana with a collection of classic Cuban songs from decades past.
Flamenco musician Pedro Ricardo Miño is one of a growing number of pianists who are taking Flamenco in new directions.
Pedro Ricardo Miño is the son of Pepa Montes and flamenco guitarist Ricardo Mino. He was born in Sevilla in the Bario de Triana in 1979, destined to join the many luminaries of the Flamenco world with his enormous gift and musical skill. He was presented in his first public piano concert in Sevilla, at the age of four. His training and formation took place in the family and at the Conservatory of Music in Sevilla.
He has toured and played in various prestigious theaters in Spain, such as the Teatro Manuel de Falla de Cadiz, Gran Teatro de Cordoba and the Noches de la Villa de Madrid, to name a few. He has also toured parts of Europe and the United States as a soloist and with his parents company, “Flamenco en Concierto”.
Pedro Ricardo Miño is considered one of the world’s top Flamenco pianists as well as a world class musician. His first recording as a soloist can be found in the collection Novisimos that was released by Sony in 2004.
In 2011 he collaborated with sitarist Anoushka Shankar on her album titled Traveller.
Pedro Ricardo Miño teaches piano masterclasses and is also a producer and musical director of flamenco recordings.
David Carmona Fernández was born in Granada in a well-known gypsy family of flamenco performers called Fernández de Íllora. Some of the best known artists in the family include Ramón de Loja, El Moreno (Diego El Cigala’s father) and Morenito de Íllora. Other family members include José Carmona, Carmen Carmona, Isabel Fernández and Evangelino Fernández, all of whom are familiar flamenco performers in Granada.
David has received numerous awards, including the 2010 Giradillo for Upcoming Artist at the XVI Biennial of Flamenco Art in Seville. In 2009, he won the first prize at the XXIII International Contest of Flamenco Guitar, organized by Peña Flamenca “Los Cernícalos” in Jerez de la Frontera, and that same year he won the Fundación Autor-SGAE Award for Musical Composition at The XVIII Contest of Choreography of Spanish Dance and Flamenco.
In 2011, he received the “Young Creators” award from the Fundación Instituto de Cultura Gitana (Foundation Institute of Gypsy Culture), and the Insignia de Oro 2011, from Peña Flamenca “La Platería” for his artistic career. At 12, he won the Hispamusic Prize at Canal Sur Televisión, in the “Veo Veo” program.
David Carmona recorded first album “Tratante” in 1997. He has accompanied leading acts since 2006, such as guitar master Manolo Sanlúcar and well –known singers and dancers like Estrella Morente, Esperanza Fernández, Diego “El Cigala”, Morenito de Íllora, Antonio Canales, Patricia Guerrero, Fuensanta “La Moneta”, and Luis “El Zambo.”
In 2008, he performed at the XV edition of the Biennial of Flamenco Art in Seville. In November of 2016, during Flamenco Day, David performed a concert organized by the Diputación Provincial de Granada within the “Flamenco and Culture” program and in December he was part of the program “Flamenco Encounters of Granada” together with José Enrique Morente.
David has a degree in music, specialized from the Superior Conservatory of Music “Rafael Orozco” of Córdoba.
His 2017 album “A Dream of Madness” features top flamenco acts such as Estrella Morente, Arcángel, Carmen Molina and Tino Di Geraldo.
David Carmona – Un Sueño de locura (Nuevos Medios NM 15 929, 2017)
David Carmona is one of the rising stars of flamenco guitar. This young musician and composer from Granada grew up in a family of flamenco artists and studied with maestro Manolo Sanlucar.
On his new album “Un Sueño de locura,” co-produced by Manolo Sanlucar, David Carmona is joined by some of the finest flamenco performers in the current scene.
“Un Sueño de locura” demonstrates that David Carmona is a highly talented guitarist who sticks to the purest tradition on several of the musical pieces, but is also open to more modern flamenco arrangements.
The lineup on “Un Sueño de locura” includes David Carmona on guitars; Estrella Morente on vocals; Arcángel on vocals; Carmen Molina on vocals; Tino Di Geraldo on percussion; Agustín Diassera on percussion; Los Mellis and Carlos Grilo on palmas (handclap percussion); and El Bo, Carlos Grilo, José Cortés “El Pirata” and Ismael Tirado provide jaleos (shouts of encouragement).
“Un Sueño de locura” is a dazzling flamenco guitar album by one of the finest young players in the flamenco scene.
Paco de Lucía was one of the greatest guitarists in the world. He was born Francisco Sánchez Gómez in Algeciras, a port city in the province of Cádiz, in the southernmost tip of Spain on December 21st, 1947. His stage name (Lucia’s Paco) is a tribute to his mother Lucía Gómez.
His father, Antonio Sánchez, a day laborer, played guitar at night as a way to supplement his income. His father, Paco’s elder brother Ramón de Algeciras, and flamenco guitar master Niño Ricardo were de Lucía’s main influences. His first performance was on Radio Algeciras in 1958.
The training ground for a flamenco guitarist, de Lucía once said, “is the music around you, made by people you see, the people you make music with. You learn it from your family, from your friends, in la juerga (the party) drinking. And then you work on technique. Guitarists do not need to study. And, as it is with any music, the great ones will spend some time working with the young players who show special talent.
You must understand that a Gypsy’s life is a life of anarchy. That is a reason why the way of flamenco music is a way without discipline, as you know it. We don’t try to organize things with our minds, we don’t go to school to find out. We just live… music is everywhere in our lives.”
In 1958, at only age 11, de Lucía made his first public appearance and a year later he was awarded a special prize in the Jerez flamenco competition. At 14 he was touring with the flamenco troupe of dancer Jose Greco. He worked with Greco for three seasons.
It was while on tour with Greco in the United States of America that de Lucía met the great Sabicas, an influential guitarist whose name became synonymous with flamenco in the United States, who encouraged him to pursue a more personal style. De Lucía would follow Sabicas’ advice a few years later in his debut at Carnegie Hall in 1970.
“In flamenco, the guitarist first and foremost, must not get in the way of the singer,” de Lucía once explained. “There is a dialog going on. The cantaor (singer) sings the words. There are no songs per se in flamenco, just short lyrics, so the guitarist follows the call of the singer. Part of the tradition in flamenco is not playing too hard or too much. You need to support the singer, help him.”
Back in Spain, de Lucia joined Festival flamenco Gitano, an annual flamenco showcase tour that lasted for seven years, and recorded his first album in 1965, at the age of 18.
With La Fabulosa guitarra de Paco de Lucía, released in 1967, de Lucía began to distance himself from the influence masters such as Niño Ricardo and Mario Escudero and by Fantasia Flamenca, recorded in 1969, he had defined his own style. His superb technique was displayed in well-structured pieces that departed from the flamenco tradition of theme and variations.
In 1968, he met Camarón de la Isla, one of the leading flamenco singers at the time. Their association was chronicled on more than 10 records. Their album Potro de Rabia y Miel (1991) was perhaps the last studio release by Camarón de la Isla, who died in 1992.
Paco de Lucia was criticized by flamenco die hards for his ventures into other styles. His own sextet, formed in 1981, included bass, drums, and saxophone. Paco also had high profile collaborations, especially with jazz musicians, most notably with pianist Chick Corea and fellow guitarists John McLaughlin, Larry Coryell and Al DiMeola. The remarkable results of these collaborations have been documented in several releases including the guitar trio albums Castro Marin (1979), Passion Grace and Fire (1982) and Friday Night in San Francisco (1981).
Paco de Lucia also recorded soundtracks for films such as Carlos Saura’s Carmen, Borau’s La Sabina, and the ballet Los Tarantos, presented at Madrid’s prestigious Teatro de la Zarzuela in 1986.
However, as if to make a point, de Lucía returned to pure flamenco in the spectacular Siroco (1987), a brilliant outline of his style, and then twist and turned back towards fusion with Zyryab (1990) that featured his sextet enhanced by pianist Chick Corea.
Through his Brazilian percussionist Rubem Dantas, Paco de Lucía introduced the cajón, a previously unknown Peruvian instrument to flamenco. Since then, the cajón has become a standard feature in most flamenco ensembles. Spanish instrument makers have created cajón variations, developing what is now known as cajón flamenco or caja.
De Lucía shrugged off the complaints or the concerns that he might lose his roots or betray the essence of flamenco. “I have never lost my roots in my music, because I would lose myself,” he once said. “What I have tried to do is have a hand holding onto tradition and the other scratching, digging in other places trying to find new things I can bring into flamenco.”
“There was a time when I was concerned about losing myself,” he once said, “but not now. I’ve realized that, even if I wanted, I couldn’t do anything else. I am a flamenco guitarist. If I tried to play anything else it would still sound like flamenco.”
In 2004, Paco de Lucia won the 2004 Prince of Asturias award of the Arts. This is the most important and prestigious award of its kind given in Spain. The other contenders were American rock musician Bruce Springsteen, French dancer Maurice Bejart and British composer Andrew Lloyd Webber.
In 2004, after living several years in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, Paco de Lucia moved back to Spain. He chose the ancient historic city of Toledo, which is near Madrid, but is much quieter.
In 2010 Paco de Lucia was presented with an honorary doctor of music degree from Berklee College of Music, recognizing his achievements and influence in music, and for his enduring contributions to American and international culture.
Jerez Texas is a fascinating trio from Valencia (Spain) that has developed a unique combination of musical genres and instruments. ‘Clar de lluna’ is their new live album, recorded at the ancient Roman Theater ruins in Sagunto, north of Valencia.
Frenchman Matthieu Saglio and Spaniards Ricardo Esteve and Jesús Gimeno are three virtuoso musicians who clearly demonstrate the genuine chemistry in their live performances. Jerez Texas’ alluring sound brings together passionate flamenco guitar, graceful classical music cello, and drums rooted in jazz and flamenco, along with additional world music influences.
Clar de lluna features fiery chamber flamenco performed by three remarkable musicians. Jerez Texas has released several music videos from this live concert that showcase their talent.
Although most of the material on this album are original compositions by members of Jerez Texas, Clar de lluna contains a great version of Joe Zawinul’s jazz fusion classic “Birdland” along with a recreation of Serge Gainsbourg’s Couleur Café retitled in Spanish Color Café.
The lineup includes Ricardo Esteve on flamenco guitar; Matthieu Saglio on cello; and Jesús Gimeno on drums and flamenco cajón.
In Spain, she is known as La Niña Pastori, a much-beloved, superstar flamenco and crossover pop vocalist who has sold more than 1 million units over a stellar career since 1995.
Maria Rosa Garcia Garcia was born in San Fernando (Cadiz) in 1978. Taking her artistic name from her mother La Pastori (therefore, La Niña Pastori), the always passionate singer learned the art of flamenco from her mother as she accompanied her to shows around her hometown.
It was pop singer Alejandro Sanz and celebrated Spanish singer-songwriter and producer Paco Ortega who discovered Pastori and launched her career when she was 17 years old with her album Entre Dos Puertos (Between Two Ports). The album sold 100,000 units to a broad range of fans who have stuck with her ever since.
In 2002 Niña Pastori married flamenco percussionist and producer Julio Jiménez ‘Chaboli’.
In 2014, Niña Pastori recorded Raiz (Root), a collaborative album with Mexican-American vocalist Lila Downs and Argentine singer Soledad Pastorutti.