Category Archives: Artist Profiles

Artist Profiles: Companyia Electrica Dharma

Companyia Electrica Dharma

Companyia Electrica Dharma’s main objective was to create music that ascribed to the Mediterranean mentality and sensibility. Companyia Electrica Dharma (C.E.D.) was started by the Fortuny brothers in 1974. It became a popular band in Catalonia (northeastern Spain).

The founders, Esteve, Joan and Josep, successfully introduced into the Iberian rock scene the melodies and sounds born from the Mediterranean and Catalan folklore. The band combined, in its own special way, typical rock instruments (drums, bass, electric guitar and synths) with a soprano sax that sounds very similar to the Catalan “tenora”. Some called it sardana rock.

Esteve Fortuny died in 1982. Josep Fortuny died in 2013.

Discography:

Diumenge (Edigsa/Zeleste, 1975)
L’Oucomballa (Edigsa/Zeleste, 1976)
Tramuntana (Edigsa/Zeleste, 1977)
L’Àngel De La Dansa (Edigsa/Cabra, 1978)
Ordinaries Aventures (Edigsa/Cabra, 1979)
L’Atlantida (Belter, 1981)
Companyia Eléctrica Dharma I Cobla Mediterránia – Al Palau De La Música Catalana (Belter, 1982)
Catalluna Polydor, 1983)
Força Dharma! Deu Anys De Resistència (PDI, 1985)
No Volem Ser (PDI, 1986)
Fibres Del Cor (PDI, 1989)
Tifa Head (PDI, 1991)
Que No Es Perdi Aquest So (PDI, 1993)
El Ventre De La Bestia ‎(Picap, 1996)
Racó De Món ‎(Picap, 1998)
Llibre Vermell ‎(Discmedi, 2002)
Dharmasseria ‎(Discmedi, 2004)
30 Anys, La Dharma L’arma ‎(Música Global Discográfica, 2006)
El Misteri D’En Miles Serra I Les Músiques Mutants ‎(Picap, 2008)
Nit Col.lectiva! ‎(Picap, 2012)

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Artist Profiles: Citania

Citania was started in 1986, researching Galician traditional tunes and recovering ancient musical instruments. The group disbanded in the early 1990s.

Musicians: Xosé Álvarez on lute; Lete Torres on flute, ocarina; Fernando Aguiar on zanfona; Fernando Rey on Galician frame drum and tambourine; Xesús Domínguez on guitar; and Miguel García on flute.

Discography:

Citania (Sonifolk, 1986)
O Asubío Do Padriño (Sonifolk, 1988)

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Artist Profiles: Chouteira

Chouteira

Chouteira performed Galician tradititonal music sucjh as pasodobles, muiñeiras and waltzes with new arrangements and featured the beautiful voice of Uxía Pedreira. The group incorporated brass to Galician trad music.

The band: Uxía Pedreira vocals, tambourine; Olga Fernández accordion; Olimpio Giraldez Galician pipes, requintas, percussion; Anxo Graga Galician pipes, sax, Galician hurdy gurdy; Alfredo Moldes drums, spoons, castanets, frame drum; Francisco Estevez drums, spoons, castanets; David Rodríguez trumpet, Galician bagpipe; Lolo Martínez tuba.

Discography:

Chouteira ‎(Do Fol, 1995)
Ghuaue! ‎(Do Fol, 1997)
Folla de lata (2004)

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Artist Profiles: Chicuelo

Chicuelo

Juan Gómez “Chicuelo”(Little Kid) was born in Barcelona in 1968. He began studying the guitar as a boy in the flamenco peñas (clubs) of Barcelona. He was an outstanding student of Manolo Sanlucar and his brother Isidro Muñoz. In 1989, he received recognition as a guitarist from Sabicas in Carmen Amaya’s home in Begur (in the province of Gerona) as part of the first International Flamenco Seminar.

In his early years, he worked at the Tablao de Carmen nightclub in Barcelona with Mario Escudero, Angelita Vargas, La Tolea, Yerbabuena, Sara Varas, Adrián Galia, Belén Maya, Antonio El Pipa, Joaquín Grilo, etc. He worked as a studio musician on recordings by a variety of artists including Tomatito, Duquende, Mayte Martín, Ginesa Ortega, and Joan Manuel Serrat. He also worked as musical director on various recordings including “Siento”(HMI 987011) y “Oscuriá”(HMI 987016) by Ginesa Ortega, and “Suena Flamenco”(HMI 987019) by Miguel Poveda.

In 1992, he participated at the World Expo and in Seville’s Flamenco Biennial. Since then, he has toured through out Europe, Japan, and the United States he did the cover version of the music for Orson Welles’ latest film, “El Quijote” and he participated in Paris’ Flamenco Youth Festival with unprecedented success.

In 1996, he founded and led the group Cambalache. Chicuelo has accompanied outstanding cantaores such as Enrique Morente, Rancapino, Chano Lobato, José Mercé, Duquende, Mayte Martín, and Potito he is Miguel Poveda’s regular guitarist.

Translated by Rita Granda, rgranda@sympatico.ca

Discography:

Siento, with Ginesa Ortega ‎(Harmonia Mundi, 1997)
Cómplices
‎(Harmonia Mundi, 2000)
Diapasión ‎(Flamenco Records, 2007)
Coplas Del Querer, with Miguel Poveda and Albert Amargos (Universal Music, 2009)
Cante I Orquestra ‎(DiscMedi Blau, 2009)
Qawwali Flamenco ‎(Accords Croisés, 2013)
Sintonías ‎(Taller De Músics, 2016)
Conexión ‎(Taller De Músics, 2017)

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Artist Profiles: Chambao

Chambao

Chambao, the platinum selling band from Malaga defined the technological frontier of Spain’s reinvention of Flamenco. Somewhere between the organic passion of gritty flamenco of the barrios of Andalucia and the electronic sound of Ibiza, Chambao became stadium fillers in their own country.

Chambao, formed by María del Mar Rodriguez Carnero (La Mari), Eduardo Casañ (El Edi) and Daniel Casañ (Dani). exploded on the scene in 2002 with their self-titled debut and inclusion in the monster selling Flamenco Chill series guaranteed them a huge following. They were soon branded ‘Flamenco Chillout’, a way of defining a music that mixes the outdoor element of Flamenco with the indoor element of chillout. Time has proved Chambao to be one of the only groups capable of creating artistically viable songs from two such disparate elements.

Taking their name from a ‘chambao’ (a type of thatched beach hut to protect people from the sun and wind used during the San Juan celebrations) in the Malaga district of El Pedregalejo, their sound captured the spirit of Spain’s partying lifestyle and became the soundtrack to thousands of beach parties.

Chambao’s UK debut in the fall of 2006 saw them sell out shows in Bristol, Brighton and London with no national publicity or UK album release, something not seen since the debut of the Gotan Project.

Singer La Mari’s duet with Ricky Martin was phenomenally successful in Latin America and she was the subject of several MTV features.

Chambao celebrated its 10th anniversary with 10 Años Around The World, a double album that included updated and brand new versions of their essential songs.

The group disbanded in 2017.

Discography:

Flamenco Chill Sony Music , 2002)
Endorfinas en la Mente (Sony Music Spain, 2003)
Pokito a Poko (Sony Music Spain, 2005)
Con Otro Aire (Sony Music Spain, 2007)
En el Fin del Mundo (Sony Music Spain, 2009)
Chambao (Sony Music Spain, 2012)
10 Años Around The World (Sony Music Spain, 2013)
Nuevo Ciclo (Sony Music Spain, 2016)

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Artist Profiles: Carmen Linares

Carmen Linares – photo by Paco Manzano

Carmen Pacheco Rodríguez, better known as Carmen Linares, was born in 1951 in Linares, a small village in Jaen province, Spain. She has earned by her own merit, a privileged place among the current flamenco singers, being one of the most in demand artists in contemporary flamenco.

The voice of Carmen Linares is full of nuance, musicality, and versatility. She is constantly searching for new expressions, combining deep flamenco with Symphonic and Chamber Orchestras. She was one of the first flamenco artists that was invited by the Philarmonic Orchestra of New York and performed at Lincoln Center.

She has performed “El Amor Brujo” at Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires with conductor Rafael Frunbech de Burgos, and also “La Vida Breve” at Opera Theatre in Sydney with conductor Josep Pons. She was also invited by the Spanish Embassy to participate in a concert-homage to Plácido Domingo in Washington DC.

Carmen Linares’ recordings have been acclaimed by music critics and received important prizes (French Academy and Silver Medal of the Junta de Andalucía).

Some of her iconic works include “Canciones Populares Antiguas”by Federico García Lorca (Auvidis, 1994) and “Antología de la Mujer en el Cante”(Polygram, 1996).

The great film director Carlos Saura featured her in his film “Flamenco”.

In 2018 she toured with the show “Tempo de Luz” with vocalists Arcangel and Marina Heredia.

Carmen Linares won the National Music Award from the Ministry of Culture of Spain.

Discography:

Cantaora (Flamencos Accidentales/Gasa, 1988)
La Luna En El Río (Auvidis Ethnic, 1991)
Canciones Populares Antiguas (Auvidis Ethnic, 1994)
Spain: Desde El Alma (Cante Flamenco En Vivo) (Network Medien, 1994)
Antología – La Mujer En El Cante (Mercury, 1996)
Su Cante (Hispavox, 1996)
Locura De Brisa y Trino (Mercury, 2000)
Un Ramito De Locura (Universal Music Spain, 2002)
Raíces y Alas (Salobre, 2008)
Remembranzas (Salobre, 2011)
Verso A Verso – Canta A Miguel Hernández (Salobre, 2016)

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Artist Profiles: Carles Benavent

Carles Benavent – Photo by Mario Pacheco

Bass player, Carles Benavent, was born in the Pueblo Seco (Poble Sec) neighborhood in Barcelona, Spain. His earliest days playing music were in blues and rock groups at the age of fourteen.

Essentially self-taught, Carles benefited from being in the midst of the surging musical environment in Barcelona of the 1960s. It wasn’t long before he formed the fusion band, Musica Urbana, along with keyboard player, Joan Albert Amargos, recording two albums. After that group broke up, he began to play and record with flamenco guitar virtuoso and innovator, Paco de Lucia in 1978. It was the starting point of a continuous musical relationship between both musicians that lasted for many years.

1991 proved to be a high point for Carles when he performed with Miles Davis in one of the music legend’s very last concerts in Montreux, Switzerland.

His lowest low was hit in 1995 when Carles suffered a serious accident that caused great damage to his left arm. However, he was determined to return to playing music. With hard work he recovered and for the past years he has performed throughout the globe in many different contexts with musicians like Al Di Meola, Peter Erskine and many others.

Carles Benavent

Carles Benavent has an unmistakably distinct sound. He is considered by many to be among the finest, most complete bass players in the world. Musicians and fans alike can hear his outstanding playing in a variety of settings including his work with Paco de Lucia, his own solo recordings, and with Chick Corea and Touchstone.

Discography:

Carles Benavent (Nuevos Medios, 1983)
Dos de copas (Nuevos Medios, 1985)
Peaches with Salt (Frog Records, 1985)
Colors (Nuevos Medios, 1991)
Agüita que corre (Nuevos Medios, 1995)
Fénix (Nuevos Medios, 1997)
Aigua (Nuevos Medios, 2001)

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Artist Profiles: Carlos Núñez

Carlos Núñez – Photo by Daniela Dacorso

Thoruhgout his career playing the gaita (Galician bagpipe) Carlos Núñez , a charismatic piper from Spain’s northwestern coast has collaborated frequently with the Chieftains, Ry Cooder, and Sinead O’Connor. Carlos Núñez tours with a dynamic ensemble that fuses individual and ensemble playing with bouzouki, Spanish guitar, dancing fiddle, and passionate whistles.

Núñez began his international career at the age of 13 as soloist with the Lorient Festival Orchestra. There he won the Macallan Trophy three years in a row for his performance on the gaita, an instrument he took up at the age of eight. Discovered there by The Chieftains, Núñez first collaborated with the Celtic superstars on the soundtrack to Treasure Island in 1989. Since then he has been a guest on several of their albums, including the Grammy award winners The Long Black Veil and Santiago. Núñez himself was the inspiration for Santiago, The Chieftains’ own exploration of Galician music.

Núñez also received classical training on the recorder at the Royal Conservatory of Madrid, but would not be swayed from his first love, the Galician musical tradition.

All of these experiences resulted in the recording of Núñez’s first BMG recording, Brotherhood of Stars (A irmandade das estrellas), co-produced by Núñez, Paddy Moloney of The Chieftains, and Ry Cooder. The album was certified platinum in Spain, breaking all previous sales records for this kind of music.

Núñez subsequently embarked upon a tour of all of the major Celtic festivals in Europe, culminating in a performance before an audience of 80,000 at WOMAD in Gran Canaria, Spain. This was followed by a world tour with The Chieftains in 1997. In 1999 Núñez was a featured performer on Paddy Moloney’s album Christmas in Rome, a collection of holiday music from around the world.

Two years in the making, Os Amores Libres (which translates as “Free Loves”), released in 1999, was an even more ambitious record than its predecessor, encompassing music and musicians from the Galician and Andalusian traditions within Spain, as well as the music of gypsies from Romania, Muslims and Sephardic Jews, all cultures who passed through Spain at one time or another, leaving their imprint upon the native music as well as carrying its influences abroad. The album was a serious piece of musical scholarship, illuminating this borrowing and trading of musical styles and revealing the inner connections among seemingly disparate cultures.

Carlos Núñez

Núñez enlisted the services of over 100 musicians to realize his vision, some world famous, others known primarily to knowledgeable insiders and serious devotees. Among the best known of these guests are Jackson Browne, Mike Scott (formerly of the Waterboys), Teresa Salgueiro (Madredeus), Derek Bell and Kevin Connell of The Chieftains, producer/keyboardist Hector Zazou, Afro Celt Sound System mastermind Simon Emmerson, Breton guitarist Dan Ar Braz, Donal Lunny (Bothy Band, Planxty), Flamenco vocalist Carmen Linares, Israeli vocalist Noa, and piper Paddy Keenan. Also appearing were such diverse performers as the Romanian Gypsy band Taraf of Caransebes, the Sufi Andalus Tangiers Choir, and Galician peasant vocalist Divina.

His third CD, Mayo Longo (BMG Music Spain, 2000) took Núñez closer to pop structures, getting airplay in pop radio. Todos os Mundos followed in 2002.

At thirty, he released his first CD with Sony Music, Almas de Fisterra, which was also released in France. It was a tribute to Finisterres (land’s end), which are found both in Galicia and Brittany. For three years Núñez spent many weeks in Brittany, selecting the best musical pieces. He collaborated with some of the most famous Breton musicans, such as Alan Stivell and guitarist Dan Ar Braz.

In 2004 Núñez entered the world of cinema. Spanish director Alejandro Amenabar asked him to compose a song for his movie Mar Adentro. This led to his participation in the movie score. The movie won an Oscar as well as 14 Goya awards (the most prestigious Spanish movie awards).

Cinema Do Mar (2005) explored the world of soundtracks, including music from Mar Adentro and several Japanese productions.

Throughout the years, Carlos Núñez has sold over 1.000.000 CDs worldwide and is regarded as one of the most reputable musicians in the Celtic music scene.

In 2016 Núñez participated in the movie J: Beyond Flamenco by Carlos Saura, the celebrated Spanish filmmaker who introduced the passion of the jota, a popular trasditional waltz-like castanet dance with its origins in Saura’s home province of Aragon.

Discography:

A Irmandade das Estrelas (BMG Ariola, 1996)
Os amores libres (BMG Ariola, 1999)
Mayo Longo (BMG Ariola, 2000)
Todos os mundos (BMG Ariola, 2002)
Almas de Fisterra (Sony Music, 2003)
Cinema do mar (Saint George, 2005)
Alborada do Brasil (Sony Music, 2009)
Discover (Sony Music, 2012)
Inter Celtic (Sony Music, 2014)

DVDs

Carlos Núñez & Amigos en casa (Sony/BMG, 2004)

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Artist Profiles: Carlos Piñana

Carlos Piñana

Carlos Piñana is the youngest of the Piñana saga, a family of deep flamenco tradition that started with the patriarch, his grandfather Antonio Piñana, a cantaor (singer) who won the first Cante de las Minas contest at the beginning of the 1960s; that continued with Carlos’ father, Antonio Piñana, guitarist reputed in the world of orthodox flamenco; and that extends to the new generation, with three solid artists: Pepe Piñana, guitarist; Curro, a respected cantaor; and Carlos.

Carlos Piñana was born in Cartagena (Murcia, Spain) in 1976 and, in addition to the deep learning in flamenco that he assimilated since childhood, he studied classical guitar at the Conservatory of Music of Cartagena between 1988 and 1998. Since 1995 when he began his professional work with the flamenco guitar, a rising star of the new millennium: First Prize and Mining Staff at the Festival de las Minas of 1996; Ramón Montoya National Guitar Award of Córdoba, in 1998; First Sabicas Prize at the National Festival of Young Flamencos.

Whether accompanying his brother Curro, either alone or with his own group, Carlos Piñana has performed throughout Spain and a handful of cities abroad: Paris, London, Berlin, Oxford, Stockholm … even in the Islands Mauricio, at the Francois Miterrand International Music Festival.

In 1996 he published his first album, El cuidado de la esencia, a product firmly anchored in Flamenco orthodoxy. Later he collaborated in the album of his brother Curro De lo humano y lo divino [From the human and the divine] (RTVE, 1998) and in the compilations Con duende (Together with Camarón, Menese and Carmen Linares) and Strictly World 99, released by the European Forum of Worldwide Music Festivals .

Cal-Libir is not a tradtional flamenco record. Carlos Piñana uses flamenco to explore classical and Mediterranean guitar concepts, finding a musical crossbreeding with the Caribbean, African and Balkan traditions of his bandmates.

Discography:

Cal-Libiri ‎(Big Bang, 1999)
Palosanto ‎(Big Bang, 2001)
Mundos Flamencos ‎(Big Bang, 2003)
Misa Flamenca ‎(Karonte, 2007)
Manos Libres (Karonte, 2012)


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Artist Profiles: Camerata Meiga

Camerata Meiga

Camerata Meiga started off as the natural development of a previous musical existence as Xeque Mate (Checkmate). They had recorded two albums under that name: Paisaxes (Landscapes, Clave Records, 1995) and Alén da lenda [Beyond legend] (Ediciones Resistencia, 1997). Both recordings and the band’s live tours garnered applause from the critics and were very well received by the public.

The result of the musical evolution of its members and their joining forces with three new musicians was a new vision of Galician music under the the name of Camerata Meiga.

The musicians in Camerata Meiga had an extended background in music, combining traditional folk music, classical, pop, and so on. Members included José Amador: violin; Nacho Casas: sax and recorder; Víctor Gil: cello, mandolin, rebec and guitar; Carlos Iglesias: piano, accordion, guitar and Egyptian oud; Miguel Forneiro: marimba, keyboards, accordion, bagpipe; Rubén Giorgis: double bass; Tino Mojón: percussion

Between March and May 1999 Camerata Meiga recorded their first CD for Ediciones Resistencia. It featured Portuguese singer Amélia Muge and acclaimed musician Juan Alberto Arteche as producer.

The title of the album, Habelas hailas, refers to a popular saying in Galicia: Meigas (witches) do not exist, but… “habelas hailas” (there are definitely some of them around).

Camerata Meiga’s live debut took place in January 1999 at the Ninth New Music Festival in León, followed by a show at the Jerez Folk Festival 99.

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