Jenny & The Mexicats – Mar Abierto (Mexicat Records, 2017)
Globetrotting mestizo music band Jenny & The Mexicats has a new album titled Mar Abierto (Open Sea). The multinational group is led by British vocalist and trumpet player Jenny Ball. Originally based in Madrid, the band later moved to Mexico.
Mar Abierto includes catchy Spanish and English-language songs featuring flamenco rumba, pop, cumbia, reggae, merengue, swing, son veracruzano and pop influences. The English-language set includes Jeny’s neo-soul vocals.
The lineup includes Jenny Ball (UK) on vocals, trumpet and guitar; David González Bernandos (Spain) on percussion and vocals; Alfonso Acosta “Pantera” (Mexico) on guitar and vocals; and Luis Díaz “Icho” (Mexico) on bass.
With Mar Abierto, Jenny & The Mexicats demonstrate that it’s one of the most exciting roots music acts currently based in Mexico.
Mártires del Compás pushed the boundaries of traditional flamenco. Since its storied 1995 debut, Flamenco Billy, Martires brought a rougher, rootsier sound and a more street-level point-of-view to the flamenco-rock party.
“To me, “flamenco billy” is a description of the Martires sound,” explained singer and lyricist Chico Ocaña. “It describes flamenco that’s on the border, something a little more raw, that can only be learned on ‘the University of the Street.’ What separates us from Ketama and Pata Negra is that they play rumba, which is just one style. We play actual flamenco, in many different styles – soleas, bulerias, fandangos, etc. Even though we’re payos (non-Gypsies) and even though we’re all self-taught musicians, we’ve studied and learned many different compas (rhythms) and palos (styles). We come from Andalucia, where all that matters is that you respect the music and play it well. If you play it well you’ll be accepted, no matter who you are. So when we mix our music with blues or rock or something African, it’s still coming from a base of flamenco. It’s always flamenco first.”
Life at the border, both musical and cultural, is something that comes naturally to Ocaña, who grew up in the small coastal town of San Roque, which was the gateway to Gibraltar. “I was born on the frontier,” he laughed. “22 kilometers (14 miles) from Africa and three kilometers (two miles) from England! Growing up I listened to shortwave radio and heard Arab music from Africa and pop music from England. All of that is part of the music I make today.”
That eclecticism was reflected in Martires del Compas’ original lineup, which first came together around 1994. In addition to Ocaña’s vocals, guitarist Julio Revilla brought his heavy metal licks to hear. and Alberto Alvarez traded in his drum kit for flamenco’s cajon. Manuel Soto brought traditional flamenco guitar technique and bassist Jesus Diaz added a pop sensibility to the Martires’ sound, while Senegalese percussionist Sidi Samb gave the group a funky. West African twist and Rocio Vazquez brought a clean breeze with her backing vocals.
Together, these musicians combined their disparate influences into Martires’ signature “flamenco billy” sound, and helped reinvent flamenco for the 21st century. “I don’t think that we created a new sound,” said Ocaña, “but rather a new posture within flamenco. We take real flamenco and update the lyrics for today’s street. My lyrics are inspired by what I see everyday, what I watch on the news on what I read in the papers. Of course, I write a lot of songs about love, too… because you just can’t get away from that in life.”
This ground-level lyricism and musical adventurousness has served Martires del Compas well. Since their 1995 debut they’ve released four subsequent albums in Spain: 1996’s Prohibido da el cante (“Singing Prohibited”), 1998’s Al compas de la llaga dolorida (To the Pulse of the Stigmata) 2000’s Mordiendo el duende (“Biting the Duende”), and 2000’s Empaquetado al vacio (“Vacuum Packed”). Only one of these, Mordiendo el duende, was released in the United States.
The band navigated some personnel changes, too, such as the departure of Sidi Samb. All of these albums saw Martires opening new dialogs between flamenco and rock, flamenco and blues, flamenco and West African music, flamenco and the music of the Latin Caribbean. As Martires explored the connections between flamenco and these other musics, they echoed the larger conversation of contemporary Spain finding its place in the world.
In 2007 the group disbanded. Lead vocalist Chico Ocaña went on to pursue a solo career. The rest of the band formed a new group called Pellizco.
* Flamenco Billy (1995)
* http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001LP33UW?ie=UTF8&tag=musidelmund-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=1789&creativeASIN=B001LP33UW | Prohibido da el cante “Singing Prohibited” (1996)
* Al compas de la llaga dolorida To the Pulse of the Stigmata (BMG, 1998)
* Mordiendo el duende “Biting the Duende”(Warner, 2000)
* Empaquetado al vacio “Vacuum Packed” (Warner, 2002)
* Simpapeles.es Compapeles.son (Warner, 2004)
* Mártires del Compás – 10 años (Warner, 2005), DVD + CD anthology
The SGAE Foundation will present a new edition of its much-admired Flamencos and Mestizos series March 9-12, 2017 at Sala Berlanga in Madrid.
The showcase will feature performances by La Shica, Pablo Rubén Maldonado & La Susi; Enrique Heredia ‘Negri’, Genara Cortés, Toñi Fernández and the bailaoras (dancers) Macarena Ramírez, Leilah Broukhim and Antonio Molina ‘El Choro’.
Flamencos and mestizos will open on Thursday, March 9th with two shows that defy tradition. First, with the heterogeneous style of La Shica, which will present a form of flamenco fused with alternative genres such as punk, rock or funk. She will be joined by the young bailaora (dancer) Macarena Ramírez, whose wild performances steer away from orthodoxy.
On March 10, the Berlanga Hall will host Pablo Rubén Maldonado (piano) & La Susi (vocals). They play flamenco that rather than fusion is evolution. The double bill will also feature Enrique Heredia ‘Negri’, one of the finest vocalists of new flamenco.
Singer-songwriter Toñi Fernández and bailaor (dancer) Antonio Molina ‘El Choro’ will dive into Flamenco roots to endow them with new meanings on Saturday, March 11.
Vocalist Genara Cortés and dancer Leilah Broukhim will present the final performance of the current edition of the Flamencos and Mestizos series on Sunday, March 12 with a show that demonstrates that flamenco does not recognize borders.
Flamencos and mestizos is a showcase series created to provide a window to emerging artists who straddle the border between deep flamenco and mestizo flamenco through music and dance. This is the fifth installment of this series started in 2015, directed by producer, composer and singer Paco Ortega.
Sala Berlanga is located at Calle de Andres Mellado, 53, 28015 Madrid.
Time 21:00 (9:00 pm).
Tickets: €5.50 euros
The Primavera Trompetera Festival 2017 will take place March 31 – April 1 at the racetrack in Jerez de la Frontera, in southern Spain. The festival will feature a wide-range of genres, including mestizo, world music and reggae. Some of Spain’s leading roots music acts will perform there along with Asian Dub Foundation and American band Balkan Beat Box.
The lineup includes Asian Dub Foundation, Eskorzo, The Zombie Kids, La Jungla Band, Miguel Caamaño Dj Set , Los Vivos, La Tarambana, Kase.O, Balkan Beat Box, Tomasito, Enseco, Loquillo, Fali Abad, Cristo el Mesías de Jerez, Marcos Cruz Dj Set, Chagar Dj Set, Bony Stuche Dj Set, Aivan Cabrera Dj Set, Dannyboy DJ Set, Cali Dj set, Miguel Campello, Guadalupe Plata, Rozalén, Ganjahr Family & Atlantic Force Band, Gordo Master, Macaco, La Raíz, Narco, Nikone, G.a.s Drummers, La Selva Sur, Nach, Fuel Fandango, Poncho K, Emeterians & Forward Ever Band, Mama Ladilla , El Chojin, Estricnina, Mala Rodríguez, Chambao, Fyahbwoy & Forward Ever Band, Green Valley, Muchachito, Shotta and Mario Díaz.
Madrid-based band Canteca de Macao was founded in 2003 and has caused a stir in international music circles in recent years with its wild blend of flamenco, Gypsy rumba, rock, reggae, ska, salsa and jazz. One of Spain’s most popular live acts, the group makes each performance into an exciting and joyful party. Canteca de Macao’s concerts include music, dance and sometimes jugglers.
Canteca de Macao was started around 2003 when several musicians from Spain, Venezuela and Chile got together to perform at Madrid’s popular flea market, El Rastro. The nine-piece band recorded a self-produced first album titled Cachai, which sold 4,000 exclusively at concerts. To promote the album, Canteca de Macao toured throughout Spain and the rest of Europe.
The band’s line-up in 2009 included Ana Saboya “Anita Kuruba”, Álvaro Melgar (‘Azelga’), Isidoro Lora-Tamayo (‘Chiki’), Danilo Montoya, Guillermo Martínez Yusta, Juan Tomás Martínez París (‘Juancho’), Pablo Carretero, Javier Rodríguez de Zuloaga (‘Zulo’) and Rodrigo ‘El Niño’ Díaz.
In 2013, to celebrate its 10th anniversary, Canteca de Macao released a music video each month featuring its greatest hit s and new songs. A tour followed.
The band released a CD + DVD titled Una Década that features its greatest hits accompanied by some of the leading mestizo and flamenco crossver acts in Spain: Chico Ocaña, Amparo Sánchez, El Canijo de Jerez, Alamedadosoulna, Juan Manuel Montilla (Langi), and Dremen.
In 2015, Canteca de Maca released “Lugares Comunes.” The band featured new songs composed by Chiki and Anita. The lineup in 2016 features Ana Saboya, “Anita”; Isidoro Lora-Tamayo, “Chiki“; Javier Rodríguez de Zuloaga “Zulo“; Rodrigo Ulises Díaz, “El Niño“; Carlos Leal Valladares; bassist Yago Salorio; and keyboardist Rubén García Motos.
SGAE Foundation has announced the program of the new edition of the ‘Flamencos and mestizos’. The music and dance series will take place March 17-20 at Sala Berlanga in Madrid.
The showcase will feature performances by Gualberto and Ricardo Miño; Ariadna Castellanos; Alonso Núñez “Rancapino Chico” with Manuel Jero; Alicia Gil, accompanied by Lito Espinosa; and dancers Asuncion Demartos, Aitana de los Reyes, Karen Lugo and Adi Akiva dancers.
Producer, composer and singer Paco Ortega returns as curator of this series, planned as a trilogy. The series takes place during December 2015, March and June 2016. The Sala Berlanga presents emerging artists that explore the boundary between deep flamenco and mestizo flamenco through instrumental performances, dancing and singing.
Flamingos and mestizos begins tomorrow, March 17, with a double bill featuring instrumental performances. First, Gualberto and Ricardo Miño (Indian sitar and flamenco guitar) will demonstrate their peculiar Sevillian flamenco fusion. The second part of the show will highlight the talent of Ariadna Castellanos who plays flamenco piano combined with jazz.
Flamenco roots will the focus on March 18 with the vocals Alonso Núñez “Rancapino Chico” accompanied by Manuel Jero on guitar, and the dancing of Asuncion Demartos. Meanwhile, on March 19, singer Alicia Gil will present her latest work accompanied by Lito Espinosa, and Aitana de los Reyes will show her unique dance style.
The series will conclude with dancers Karen Lugo and Adi Akiva, on March 20.