The leader of the world fusion group Ancient Future, Matthew Montfort, released his first solo recording, ‘Seven Serenades for Scalloped Fretboard Guitar’ in 2009. He is a pioneer among guitarists who have had their fretboards scalloped in order to play various forms of world music that require intricate note-bending ornaments while still being able to play chords.
Montfort immersed himself in an intensive study with veena master K.S. Subramanian in order to fully apply the South Indian gamaka (note-bending) techniques to the guitar. The December 2009 Les Paul issue of Guitar Player Magazine includes a full page feature on Matthew Montfort with a corresponding GuitarPlayer.Com video and lesson entitled “The Music of Jimi Hendrix Applied to Indian Raga.”
He has performed concerts worldwide, from the Festival Internacional de la Guitarra on the golden coast of Spain to the Festival of India in Mumbai. He has worked with many world music legends, including tabla phenomenon Zakir Hussain and Chinese zither master Zhao Hui.
Montfort wrote the book “Ancient Traditions – Future Possibilities: Rhythmic Training Through the Traditions of Africa, Bali, and India,” which has been used by many musicians to improve their rhythm skills.
Knut Reiersrud was born in 1961 in Oslo. He has been a much sought-after guitarist since he was teenager. He started out as a scholar of blues and folk music, and acquired a vast amount of knowledge about older forms of folk music. He became a professional musician in the late 1970s.
At 18, Knut Reiersrud made a sensation locally in Scandinavia when he tried to upstage blues guitarists Buddy Guy and Otis Rush in concert jams when they played Northern Europe. Later he has shared stage with among others Dr. John, Rick Danko (of The Band), Joe Cocker, Jan Garbarek and countless Norwegian jazz and rock settings, such as Silje and Bendik Hofseth (of Steps Ahead). He has also played with Morten Harket (of A-HA).
Reiersrud’s knowledge of Norwegian and international folk music has made him a renowned guitarist and composer. He has toured throughout the world, and has collaborated with musicians from all corners of the globe. His powerful presence and playful exuberance on stage make him a popular performer for all audiences.
Knut Reiersrud is also a renowned record producer, who has worked with numerous blues, folk and world music acts.
* Blå Koral with Iver Kleive (Kirkelig Kulturverksted FXCD 106, 1991)
* Himmelskip, with Iver Kleive (Kirkelig Kulturverksted FXCD 163, 1994)
* The sweet sunny north vol 1, with Kaiser/Lindley (Shanachie SH 64057, 1994)
* The sweet sunny north vol 2, with Kaiser/Lindley (Shanachie SH 64061, 1996)
* IX, with Bendik Hofseth ( Sony/Columbia 468 400 2, 1991)
* Amuse yourself, with Bendik Hofseth (Sony/Columbia 472 988 2, 1993)
* Tramp (Kirkelig Kulturverksted FXCD 129, 1993)
* Klapp (Kirkelig Kulturverksted FXCD 151, 1995)
* Soul of a man (Kirkelig Kulturverksted FXCD 194, 1998)
* Sub (Kirkelig Kulturverksted FXCD 215, 1999)
* Den signede dag, with Iver Kleive (Kirkelig Kulturverksted, 2000)
* Sweet Showers of Rain (Kirkelig Kulturverksted, 2001)
* Pretty Ugly (Kirkelig Kulturverksted, 2004)
* Gitar (Big Dipper Records, 2009)
* One Drop Is Plenty, with Mighty Sam McClain (2011)
* Aftonblues (Bluestown Records, 2013)
* Tears Of The World, with Mighty Sam McClain (ACT Music, 2015)
Julio A. Santillán is a composer and guitarist originally from Tucuman, Argentina. His compositions combine elements from his home land folk music, jazz improvisation and classical music.
He has studied classical guitar at Instituto Superior de Musica (Argentina) under the direction of maestro Pablo Gonzalez Jasey. He graduated summa cum laude with a dual major in Classical Composition and Contemporary Writing and Production from Berklee College of Music (Boston, USA). He also studied jazz improvisation with Mick Goodrick.
Santillan received the 2004 Van Lier Fellowship, ASACPlus Award, Louis Armstrong Jazz Award, the Arif Mardin Award and the Contemporary Writing and Production Achievement Award.
As a composer/arranger he has produced music for documentary films, theater, recordings and live performances for artists around the world. Recently, Argentine virtuoso guitarist Victor Villadangos, has included guitar studies from Julio’s Book Cinco Estudios Criollos in his latest CD Guitar Music from Argentina vol. II (Naxos).
Julio also produced Colombian singer Marta Gomez’s Cantos de Agua Dulce, Entre Cada Palabra (Chesky Records) and La Ronda- Women of Latin America, Paula Ausente- Women of the World (Putumayo Records).
He has recorded and performed with many musicians from Argentina, Boston and New York including Oscar Stagnaro (Paquito D’Rivera), Livingston Taylor, Raul Carnota and Sandra Mihanovich.
Santillan has shared the stage with important artists such as Mercedes Sosa, John Mayer, Pablo Ziegler (Astor Piazzolla), Paquito D’Rivera, Bonnie Raitt, Tania Libertad, Diana Krall and Leon Gieco. He has performed and gave workshops in Argentina, Colombia, Finland, Greece, Canada and in more than fifty cities in the U.S. including New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Miami, Dallas and Washington D.C.
Julio A. Santillan has recorded over 30 CDs, including a play-along CD for The Latin Bass Book (Sher Music, by Oscar Stagnaro), two albums with the Pablo Ablanedo Octet (Freshsound records), four cds with Marta Gomez (BigSur records /Chesky Records)- one of which was chosen among the best 10 records of 2003 by the Boston Globe- and one by tango diva Katie Viqueira (Freshsound records)- Independent Music Award winner, 2005 best World Music Album.
Santillan led for almost 10 years Los Changos (trio & septet); an ensemble that performed his own compositions. The group has been featured in some of the most prestigious venues in the U.S. such as Blue Note (New York) and Regattabar (Boston).
Los Changos toured South America in four opportunities. At the moment Julio is working with a brand new project: the Julio Santillan Trio. He has released four cds with his compositions: Desde el Norte, Anit Negra, Nann and El Bosque de la Memoria (BigSur Records- CAP Records).
He was a faculty member at Manhattan College 2004-2009. Later he moved to Spain where he worked at a music school until 2012. He’s currently the director of the Orquesta-Escuela de Chascomús in buenos Aires.
Desde el Norte (Big Sur Records, 2001) Anit Negra (Big Sur Records, 2003)
Nann (Big Sur Records, 2005) El Bosque de la Memoria (Big Sur Records, 2008)
Argentinian Jazz in New York (Big Sur Records, 2009)
Un instante (Big Sur Records, 2011) Meia laranja (Big Sur Records, 2012)
Va place tango? (Big Sur Records, 2015)
Cinco Estudios Criollos, a book with five studies for guitar based on Argentine folk rhythms (chacarera, milonga, cueca, guarania and malambo).
Jose Antonio Rodríguez was born in Córdoba on March 28th, 1964. In 1981 he won the First Prize for Flamenco Guitar Concert, at the XXI Festival de Cante de las Minas de la Unión.
In 1982 Rodriguez won First Prize for Flamenco Guitar Concert at the XI National Contest of Flamenco Guitar in Jerez de la Frontera.
In 1984 he obtained the Official title of Flamenco Guitar teacher at the High Conservatory of Music in Córdoba. At the age of 20, he was the youngest guitar teacher of flamenco.
1986 – National Prize “Ramón Montoya” for Flamenco Guitar Concert at the XI National Contest of Flamenco Art in Córdoba. The same year he was elected member of Fundación Societat i Cultura “Live Music now” as a guitar player. His premiere in Madrid, at Centro Cultural de la Villa, was a great success, where many influenwriters, musciians and actors were present.
1987 – Premiere of his work “Guajira Para Guitarra Flamenca y Orquesta” within the extraordinary concerts on the occasion of “Andalucía Day”.
1988 – Intensive period of concerts in Europe and America. That same year he composed the music for the work “Tiempo De Amor y Muerte” for its premiere in Sevilla, with choreography of Mario Maya. He has two solo CDs interpreting his own compositions, “Calahorra” and “Callejon De Las Flores”. Some of his compositions are included in CDs released in Europe, such as his “Valls Flamenco” released by Ex Libris Digital Recording.
1990 – Premiere of his ambitious concert for flamenco guitar “Viento De Libertad”, that featured orchestral arrangements by Joan Albert Amargós.
1992 – The Bienal de Arte Flamenco “Ciudad de Sevilla” asked him to arrange the composition, orchestration and musical management of the show “Tango”. He took part in the recording of “Sevilla Es Asi” for the inauguration of EXPO 92 in Sevilla.
1993 – He took part in the soundtrack of the film “La Lola Se Va A Los Puertos”, starring Rocío Jurado.
1994 – He composed “Requiem”, together with Joan Albert Amargós and choreography by Mario Maya, for the world premiere of the Compañía Andaluza De Danza. He also participated in the performance of the show “A Oscuras” together with Enrique Morente and Esperanza Fernández.
1995 – He toured with the Cultural Series “Conocer el Flamenco” along with Manolo Sanlúcar.
He took part in the “Flamenco” film by Carlos Saura. He also participated in the new mixing of the recording “Nochebuena Gitana” accompanying Camarón and Paco de Lucía.
He composed the original music of the work “Retratos En La Memoria” with choreography of Ramón Oller, whose premiere was at the Festival Internacional de Danza in Sevilla.
1996 – Premiere of the new orchestration of “Viento De Libertad” conducted by Joan Albert Amargós.
1997 – He composed the work “El Jaleo” by request of Centro Andaluz De Danza with choreography by María Pages and Fernando Romero.
1998 – Premiere of his recording work “Manhattan De La Frontera” at Bienal De Arte Flamenco De Sevilla.
In 2016 he released an independently produced album titled Adiós Muchachos (2016). It features many guests, including one track where he invited some of the finest guitarists in Spain.
John Doyle is one of the most talented and innovative musicians to come out of Ireland in recent years. Now a resident of Asheville (North Carolina), John Doyle was born in 1971 in Dublin, Ireland, into an extended family of musicians and singers. He was playing professionally by the age of 16 when he and singer Susan McKeown joined to form The Chanting House, which later added the prodigious talents of Seamus Egan and Eileen Ivers to the group.
A few years later, John and Egan came together with John Williams, the wonderfully inventive accordion player from Chicago, talented fiddler Winifred Horan, and Waterford-born singer Karan Casey, to form the enormously influential band, Solas.
John’s powerful guitar playing provided the signature rhythmic backbone for the band, and his delicate and emotional finger-style playing and creative vocal harmonies can be heard on all Solas’ recordings for Shanachie Records. Solas performed to sold-out audiences around the world, appeared on NBC’s The Today Show, public radio’s A Prairie Home Companion, Mountain Stage, E-Town and World Cafe, and received three NAIRD awards and a Grammy nomination.
John composed music for the film Uncle Robert’s Footsteps and the play Down the Flats, and appears on the soundtracks for The Brothers McMullen, Soldier and PBS’s Out of Ireland. He has performed at scores of major festivals worldwide, including the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Rocky Mountain Folks Fest, Washington Irish Festival, Milwaukee Irish Festival and major festivals in Denmark, Belgium, Brittany, England, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, Finland and Ireland.
John is also a highly sought-after sideman and has recorded and/or toured with Liz Carroll, Eileen Ivers, Tim O’Brien and The Crossing, Frank McCourt, Linda Thompson, Kate Rusby, Mick Moloney, John Williams, Seamus Egan, Cathal McConnell, Kim Robertson, Brian Conway, Joannie Madden, James Keane, Joe McKenna, Karan Casey, Cathie Ryan and James Leva.
John’s much anticipated first solo recording, Evening Comes Early, was released on Shanachie Records in 2001, and his second solo CD Wayward Son was released in 2004 on Compass Records.
Gerardo Núñez is considered one of the best guitarists of all genres in the world today. He is comfortable playing deeply emotional traditional Flamenco at an amazing speed, but he can also venture into jazz, Latin music, and other genres with ease.
Gerardo Núñez was born in 1961. He grew up in Jerez de la Frontera, in southern Spain, listening to Flamenco and also to American rock and jazz. At an early age, he took guitar lessons from Rafael Aguilar. At fourteen, he was a skilled player and accompanied well-known Flamenco singers like Tío Gregorio El Borrico, Terremoto de Jerez, José el de la Tomasa and Manuel Mairena.
Gerardo studied at the Cátedra de Flamencología (Flamencology School) in Jerez de la Frontera, the only music school in Spain with a department exclusively dedicated to teaching Flamenco music. Later, he moved to Madrid, where he worked with various professional Flamenco dance companies, including the famous Mario Maya Dance Company, where he met world class dancer Carmen Cortés, who later became his wife. In 1981, Gerardo toured Japan together with fellow guitarist Paco Cepero.
Settled in Madrid, Gerardo began to experiment with top jazz musicians like pianist Tomás San Miguel and Nuevo Flamenco saxophone player and flautist Jorge Pardo. Gerardo also participated in the annual Flamenco Summit several times and has performed as a solo artist and with his band in New York City, Tokyo, Paris, Zurich, Sao Paulo, Dublin and many other cities.
Gerardo Núñez has recorded as a guest with pop stars like Julio Iglesias, Mecano and Rosario and other world class artists such as Radio Tarifa, Danilo Pérez, John Patitucci, Michael Brecker, and Andreas Vollenweider.
In 1998, American world music label Alula Records released an album produced and recorded in New York City, titled Calima. The album featured renowned jazz and world music musicians, such as pianist Danilo Perez, percussionist Arto Tuncobeciyan and bassist John Patitucci.
In 2002 he won the Giraldilla award for best flamenco guitarist at the Bienal de Flamenco.
In recent years, Gerardo has been nurturing new guitarists. In 2003 he produced the album La nueva escuela de la guitarra flamenca (The new school of flamenco guitar), which features José Manuel León Delgado, Antón Jiménez, Juan Antonio Suárez, Jesús de Rosario, Vicente Cortés and Gerardo Nuñez himself.
In 2016, Gerardo recorded an album with Swedish guitarist Ulf Wakenius.
Gerardo lives in Madrid during winter and spends summers in southern Spain, taking care of his vineyard and teaching guitar workshops in Sanlucar de Barrameda.
* El Gallo Azul (Flamencos Accidentales, GASA, 1987)
* Flamencos en Nueva York (Spain: GASA/Europe and USA: Verabra Records, 1989). Reissued as Flamencos en Nueva York (DRO East West, 1989). Midline CD compilation featuring tracks from El Gallo Azul and Flamencos en Nueva York.
* Jucal (El Gallo Azul, 1994)
* Jucal (Alula Records, 1997). Longer American version, featuring additional 15 minutes of music.
* Salomé (Art-Danza, 1998). Soundtrack from the ‘Salomé’ dance show.
* Calima (Alula Records, 1998)
* Jazzpaña II (Act 9284-2, 2000)
* Cruce de Caminos, with Perico Sambeat (Resistencia RESCD 115, 2001)
* Andando el tiempo (2004)
* Travesia (ACT Music, 2012)
* Logos, with Ulf Wakenius (ACT Music, 2016)
* Flamenco. El Arte de Gerardo Núñez. Vol. I (Flamenco. The Art of Gerardo Nuñez. Vol. 1), 2002
* La técnica al servicio del arte. Vol. II (Technique at the service of art. Vol. II), 2002
Fierro Chifle included Juan Manuel Sanchez, Gabriel Santamaria and Pablo Vernieri. The trio was formed in Buenos Aires (Argentina) at the beginning of 2004. The tango guitar ensemble’s idea was to reconstruct the different periods of tango, including traditional as well as contemporary expressions. Sebastian Piana, Agustin Bardi, Anibal Troilo, Roberto Grela, Homero Exposito, Julian Plaza, Horacio Salgun and Astor Piazzolla, among others, are at the turning point of a musical and aesthetic search developed through a traditional sound.
The repertoire included tango classics adapted to dance rooms as wells as concert rooms. In addition, various genres such as Tango, Waltz and Milonga were incorporated and interlaced in a dynamic show.
Fierro Chifle is an idiomatic expression which means “to drive misfortune away”
Juan Manuel Sanchez graduated from Music School of Avellaneda, Buenos Aires. Pablo Vernieri and Gabriel Santamaria graduated from music conservatory of Morin, Buenos Aires.
They were all professional musicians and teachers in Buenos Aires.
Born Enrique Jimenez Ramirez, in Marchena (Seville province) in 1951, Enrique De Melchor moved to Madrid at the age of 12. His father was the renowned guitarist Melchor de Marchena, who initiated him in the art of guitar accompaniment in flamenco singing.
At the early age of 15, he made his first public appearance at the famous Madrid tablao (Flamenco nightclub) Los Canasteros, owned by Manolo Caracol. He continued performing there for another five years, playing side by side with other great flamenco artists, including the maestro Mairena.
By the age of 18, he had been awarded two of the most important national flamenco awards: the National Award of the Chair of Flamencology of Jerez and the Castillete de Oro of La Union (Murcia).
He joined a group of artists that performed regularly at Torres Bermejas, one of Madrid’s most acclaimed tablaos, where he gave some unforgettable performances, being the guitar accompaniment to legendary flamenco singers such as Camaron de la Isla, La Perla de Cadiz, Pansequito, Turronero, Fosforito, etc. He also performed with Paco de Lucia in worldwide concert tours.
Without abandoning his role as one of the most sought after guitar players to accompany cantaores (singers), like his father, he wrote his own compositions and developed his skills as a concert guitarist, becoming one of the first ever flamenco artists to play solo guitar. He also toured as part of a short lived spectacular guitar trio together with Tomatito and Manzanita.
As a soloist, he has appeared in some of the world’s greatest concert halls, namely the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, Madrid’s Teatro Real, the Liceo in Barcelona, Carnegie Hall in New York City and at the United Nations’s General Assembly together with the Spanish National Symphony Orchestra, Montserrat Caballe, Jose Carreras and Jose Menese. He also performed in the annually held Madrid Jazz Festival.
Enrique de Melchor was one of the most solid professionals of flamenco guitar and he mastered, as few others do, the difficult art of accompaniment.
Enrique de Melchor died on January 3rd, 2012 in Madrid.
* Guitarras Gitanas, with Melchor de Marchena
* Grandes Guitarras del Flamenco (Philips)
* La noche y el día (Fonomusic, 1991)
* Cuchichi (Fonomusic, 1992)
* Bajo la luna (Fonomusic, 1996)
* Arco de las rosas (Fonomusic, 1998)
* Raiz flamenca (2004)
Herencia Gitana. sheet music + cd
La Guitarra Flamenca de Enrique de Melchor. Video + book (Encuentro, 1993)
Buddy Guy is an internationally acclaimed blues guitarist, singer and showman. He’s one of the finest examples of Chicago-style electric blues.
Throughout his extensive musical career Buddy Guy has received numerous Grammy Awards, Blues Foundation’s W.C. Handy Awards, a Billboard Century Award and in 2003, the United States President presented Buddy Guy with The Medal of Arts that was established by Congress in 1984.
Even though Buddy Guy is closely associated with Chicago, his story in reality started in Louisiana. Born in 1936 to a sharecropper’s family and raised on a plantation near the small town of Lettsworth, located some 140 miles northwest of New Orleans, George “Buddy” Guy was one of five children born to Sam and Isabel Guy.
His earliest years were affected by growing up in the American South: separate seating on public buses, whites-only drinking fountains, and restaurants where blacks (if served at all) were sent around back. But it was tolerance, not resentment, impressed upon in the young Buddy Guy.
Buddy was seven years old, he recalls, when he put together his first makeshift “guitar” a two-string device attached to a piece of wood and secured with his mother’s hairpins. There was usually no work to be done on the plantation on Saturday afternoons and Sundays, and the valuable free time helped Buddy to develop the very skills that would one day bring him fame. It would be nearly a decade, however, before Buddy would own an actual guitar, a Harmony acoustic that now sits on display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.
By late 1955, following a job pumping gas, the 19-year-old Guy was working as a custodian at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, earning $28 per week. His passion was already firmly connected to the guitar and the blues sounds he heard coming from the radio, but at that point in his young life, Guy had never even been out of Louisiana.
It was September 25, 1957, a date Guy would cite countless times in interviews over the following decades, when he boarded the 8:14 a.m. train in Hammond, Louisiana, arriving in Chicago just before midnight. In an instant, his world had changed. Gone was the rural landscape of Louisiana; in its place was the thriving urban sprawl of a large city.
Within months, though, Guy had taken up residency in Chicago’s fabled 708 Club. His first appearance followed a set by Otis Rush and an often repeated story about a hungry Guy, penniless and on the verge of returning to Louisiana, getting salami sandwiches from none other than Muddy Waters himself, who had arrived at the club in a red Chevrolet. It was the first time Guy had ever seen the blues giant, who happened to live nearby.
“When I first came to Chicago,” says Guy, “most musicians were still sitting down in front of music stands even if they couldn’t read music, they did it just to look more serious. Then Guitar Slim got wild and kicked them all off stage, and I was wild like that, too.
“We used to have guitar battles every Sunday and Monday, with guys like Otis Rush and Magic Sam. It was like watching two tennis players or two boxers, they’d go at each other, but it was just making a living. One time, I came in with a 150 foot cord, walked in the door playing, and they just put their guitars down. And even now, if I don’t go off the stage, people ask if I’m feeling alright!”
By the early 1960s, Guy was a first-call session man at Chess Records. In that role, he backed artist like Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter, and Sonny Boy Williamson. One milestone recording with Waters, Folk Singer, was made in September of 1963 and released in the spring of 1964.
Poducer Ralph Bass wrote in the album’s original liner notes about the “search” for a second guitarist to back Waters: “Buddy Guy, a young blues singer in his own right, was first choice and it is amazing for so young a musician as Buddy to be able to fit in with Muddy.”
In addition, Guy began to release a considerable amount of recordings under his own name. By the end of the 1960s, he released trailblazing albums like 1967’s I Left My Blues in San Francisco, his last recording for Chess, and 1968’s A Man and the Blues for Vanguard. In the process, Guy, the musician who developed a stinging, attacking electric guitar style and wild, impassioned vocals, was influencing a growing number of rock musicians.
“He was for me what Elvis was probably like for other people,” Eric Clapton remembered at Guy’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in 2005. “My course was set, and he was my pilot.”
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Guy released over 20 albums under his name. The best was a collaboration with the late harmonica master Junior Wells.
In the 1990s, Guy entered a new era of commercial success. His first three albums for Silvertone, the 1991 comeback hit Damn Right, I’ve Got the Blues (reissued in 2005), 1993’s Feels Like Rain, and 1994’s Slippin’ In, all earned Grammy Awards.
Succeeding releases like Live: The Real Deal (1996), Heavy Love (1998) and 2001’s Sweet Tea demonstrated that Guy, while firmly rooted in blues, has always tried to keep his music looking forward, even at the risk of alienating lovers of traditional blues sounds.
On his album Bring ‘Em In, Guy invited Carlos Santana and John Mayer on an album featuring covers of classic soul songs.
On Skin Deep, Buddy Guy showcases younger players such as pedal steel virtuoso Robert Randolph and husband-and-wife guitar guitarists Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks. These musicians serve as a living response to the question Guy raises on the song “Who’s Gonna Fill Those Shoes,” featuring pre-teen guitar whiz Quinn Sullivan, in which he reflects on the future of the blues beyond his revolutionary generation.
“I just try to get the best players, and hope I can pop the top off this can and show that the blues are back,” said Buddy Guy. “I learn from them, bring them in and see what they can do. And these guys got me feeling like when I was 22 years old and went into the studio with Muddy Waters.”
On March 14, 2005, Buddy was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame and on March 15 he re-released the Grammy Award winning Damn Right, I’ve Got The Blues.
In 2010, The Blues Foundation presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Buddy Guy. The award is a one-of-a-kind creation of Patterson & Barnes, who also created the original artwork that served as the basis for the 2010 poster.
Vicente Amigo is one of the finest Flamenco guitarists in the world. He was born in Guadalcanal in 1967, a small town in the province of Sevilla, though he grew up in Córdoba. It was there where he had his first guitar lessons. “I believe that flamenco has always been something for adults, not just for children. To understand flamenco, you need maturity. You can play the guitar as a child You understand the technique. But the essence of flamenco is something that requires maturity.” Amigo became a professional very quickly. Then, he joined Manolo Sanlucar’s band in which he played guitar for five years.
In 1989, Amigo began a solo career and earned first prize in guitar at the prestigious Festival Nacional del Cante de las Minas de la Unión. Shortly thereafter, he won the Contest of Extremadura. He became part of the Flamenco Guitar elite when he won the “Ramón Montoya” award in May 1989 as well as the first prize in guitar at the XII National Concert of Flamenco Art in Córdoba.
Amigo has accompanied flamenco singers Luis de Córdoba and Carmen Linares, among others. He also recorded with Brazilian composer Wagner Tiso and Spanish pop stars Miguel Bosé and Nacho Cano.
Vicente Amigo is a guitar player with an obviously strong personality, a natural sense of modern flamenco as well as the traditional forms. Flamenco’s wealth and diversity give him an extraordinary opening to all kinds of music. “I love flamenco music as a foundation because it allows me to tell a story in a very different, non-linear fashion,” says Amigo. “The organization of that tale is less important than the feeling of it. I can start at the end or the beginning and explore and insert many themes upon the main theme, adding little messages along the way. There can be many hidden meanings within the main storyline as I change melody and harmony. There doesn’t have to be a specific ending. It’s just a matter of following my soul when I find something good to express in the song.”
The Ciudad de las Ideas (City of the Ideas) album title was taken from a verse by classic Greek poet Kavafis. In the early stages of recording, Amigo became enamored of Kavafis and especially a poem titled “The First Step.” “The piece is about an old poet in conversation with a young poet. The youngster brags that he’s written a masterpiece that can never be surpassed, but the older man puts him in his place and tells him he has so much to learn, that such talk is foolish. The young man eventually realizes the wisdom of this and says thank you. With City of Ideas, I related to the young poet, opening myself up to new experiences and new influences. Each song is like a big ‘thank you’ to all the life experiences I’ve had to draw from. I see music as a realm with no frontiers and each project allows me to explore even further.”
The CD is dedicated to Andalusia and it includes pieces like the bulería Ojos de la Alhambra (Eyes of Alhambra), that is sung by the renowned Algerian singer Khaled. There are also vocals by Diego El Cigala, Argentine singer Pedro Aznar, Montse Cortes and Lin Cortés. On percussion you can find three of the big names of Spanish and flamenco percussion: Tino di Geraldo, Chaboli and Echegaray Street. Mino Cinelu is on drums, Alfredo Paixao on bass.Recorded at the Filigrana Studios in Cordoba (Amigo’s adopted hometown) and mixed in Madrid, the collection is orchestrated and conducted by Joan Albert Amargos.
Ciudad de las Ideas won the 2001 Latin Grammy for Best Flamenco Album and was the first album by Amigo to be released in the United States.
“Making music for so many years has carried me deep into the heart of myself, to the place where I have come to understand what it means to be a fully realized human being,” says Amigo. “Music plays a very important part in the world today, and it’s wonderful to be a part of bringing that joy to people. When people listen to me play, they know it’s coming from a very real and truthful place inside me.”
After five years without publishing a solo album, Vicente Amigo returned in 2005 with Un momento en el sonido. The album features Tino di Geraldo and Joan Albert Amargos as well as singers Antonio Villar and ‘Potito’.
Paseo De Gracia, released in 2009 was produced by Vicente Amigo and features many friends and guests including the entire Morente family led by the “patriarch” Enrique Morente together with Estrella,” Soleá and Enrique Jr. Other stars include Niña Pastori, pop singer Alejandro Sanz, Rafael de Utrera,” Pedro Heredia, Miguel Ortega, José Parra,” Lin and Nani Cortés. The band on the album includes Tino di Geraldo (drums and percussion)”,” Antonio Ramos “Maca” (bass)”, Alexis Lefevre (violin) and Paquito Gonzalez (percussion).
In 2013, he released Tierra, composed completely by Amigo with music that combines flamenco and Celtic music traditions. It debuted at Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow in 2013. the album was recorded in London ad features musicians from Mark Knopfler’s band and the Scottish folk supergroup Capercaillie.