Talento Flamenco (Flamenco talent) closed its third edition at the 2019 Cordoba Guitar Festival. In a crowded courtyard at the Posada del Potro, the Fosforito Flamenco Center hosted on July 12th the hard-fought final of the Flamenco Guitar Accompaniment Contest 2019, organized by the Cristina Heeren Foundation. The award went to Cordoba-born Juan José León. The first prize is endowed with 1,400 euros and a trophy.
The second prize, worth 900 euros, went to Pablo Fernández (Barcelona), to whom the jury also awarded the Acciona Scholarship, worth 5,000 euros, which will allow him to study the next academic year at the Cristina Heeren flamenco school in Seville.
The third prize, 600 euros, went to Luis González from Badajoz.
In total, in its three editions, Talento Flamenco has given awards to more than fifty young singers, guitarists and dancers, aged 16 to 30 years, mostly Andalusians, but also from other points of the Spanish geography and countries such as Brazil and France.
The Flamenco Guitar Accompaniment Talent Contest 2019 is sponsored by the Cristina Heeren Foundation with the aim of “giving young people the boost they need to, with knowledge and practice, shining on their talent“, according to Pepa Sánchez, Academic Director of the school.
Juan Torres Fajardo, better known as Juan Habichuela Nieto was born in Granada, Spain on May 31, 1989. He is a renowned guitarist and composer who belongs to one of the most important flamenco dynasties. He is the grandson of Juan Carmona ‘Habichuela’, an indisputable maestro guitarist who passed away in 2016.
At the age of 15, Juan was already playing guitar, accompanying the late Enrique Morente, one of the finest singers of his generation, performing on the best stages in the world.
Since then he has worked with great artists like Pitingo, Estrella Morente, Jose Enrique Morente, his uncle Antonio Carmona, Juan de Juan, Antonio Canales, Carlos Benavent and Jorge Pardo among others.
In 2011, he received the Bordón de Oro award from the Cante de las Minas Festival.
Juan Habichuela Nieto’s first solo album was “Mi alma a solas” (Universal Music Spain). It features well-known guest artists such as Estrella Morente, Marina Heredia, Antonio Carmona, Lolita, Rosario Flores, etc.
His second album “Sentimientos de mi ser” (Universal Music Spain) was released in July of 2017.
Diego Moreno Jiménez, better known as , was born September 20, 1978 in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain.
He grew up as a member of the renowned dynasty of the Morao. Diego is the eldest son of Moraito Chico and he trained at home under the watchful eye of his father, although he also received training at the Carbonero school.
He appeared on stage at 14, accompanying artists at different clubs and festivals. Soon his guitar attracted the attention of flamenco stars such as José Mercé. Enrique Morente, Diego el Cigala, la Niña Pastori, Miguel Poveda, Pansequito, Diego Carrasco, Montse Cortés, Marina Heredia, and others.
Andreas Arnold is a US-based, jazz-trained German guitarist who fell in love with flamenco and spent some time in southern Spain immersed in flamenco culture. Odisea is his third release and it is deeply influenced by flamenco guitar and Mediterranean music. Unlike other non-Spanish guitarists who play easy listening flamenco rumbas, Arnold plays the real stuff: soleas, tangos and other forms.
Odisea is a melting pot of musical ideas and cross-pollination. Andreas Arnold incorporates jazz, flamenco, Greek and other world music influences. This project showcases a skilled trio format that includes Arnold on guitars, Greek musician Petros Klampanis on acoustic bass and Japanese percussionist Miguel Hiroshi, who was raised in Granada, Spain.
“I think this album is sort of a homecoming for me,” says Arnold about Odisea. “Back to a looser and improvised approach, while incorporating many things that I’ve learned during my travels across the vast seas of flamenco. Back to jazz elements, even back to classical elements that are rooted in my childhood.”
The recordings took place in Brooklyn (New York) and also in Cadiz and Madrid (Spain) and feature additional guests who provide additional authenticity to the flamenco side of the album. Guests include Carlos Ronda on cajon and palmas (flamenco handclap percussion); Cristian Soto on vocals; David Enhco on trumpet; Guy Mintus on piano and melodica; Jeremy Smith on percussion; Juan Carmona on percussion and palmas; Lucas Carmona on palmas; Maria Manousaki on violin; Ricardo Piñero on electric bass and palmas; and Rocio Parilla on vocals and palmas.
Odisea is a remarkable journey through the spirited sounds of western Mediterranean flamenco, eastern Mediterranean Cretan and Greek music and contemporary jazz.
Spanish flamenco guitarist Antonia Jiménez is set to perform
on Friday, February 15, 2019 at Instituto Cervantes in Chicago. This concert is
part of the Chicago Flamenco Festival 2019.
This concert is the result of Antonia Jiménez´s long career
as a composer and flamenco guitarist to the best of today’s flamenco dance
stars (Olga Pericet, Marco Flores, Manuel Liñán). Many of these compositions
have been heard in venues such as the famous Villamarta Theater at the Jerez
Festival and the prestigious Teatro Lope de Vega during the Flamenco Bienal in Seville.
Antonia Jiménez’s program includes the following flamenco
styles: taranta, guajira, tanguillo, seguiriya, alegría, petenera, tangos, soleá
Rafael Riqueni del Canto was born in the Triana barrio of Seville in 1962. He is one of the top guitarists in the world and belongs to the generation that comes after Paco de Lucía’s.
At the age of 15 he won the most prestigious national award for Flamenco guitar, the Ramón Montoya Award for concert guitar given in Córdoba. Riqueni continued his training performing at tablaos (Flamenco nightclubs) and accompanying famous Spanish singers and dancers. In 1981 Riqueni won another National award, this time in Jerez. As a result, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Spain commissioned him to play as a national representative.
In 1986 Riqueni recorded his first solo album performing his own compositions. Since then he has developed his career as a composer and solo performer, although he still accompanies some top Flamenco singers.
Riqueni’s technique is faultless and implacable. He’s got a very elegant touch, full of sensibility and astonishing and rich melodies that evoke the unmistakable aroma of the Triana neighborhood where he grew up.
Rafael Riqueni stopped performing and recording in 1997 due to health reasons. In 2011 he made a comeback, performing with various well-known artists at festivals and working on a new album.
Juego De Niños (Nuevos Medios, 1986) Flamenco (Flamencos Accidentales, 1987) Mi Tiempo (Nuevos Medios, 1990) Suite Sevilla (JMS Records, 1993) Maestros (Discos Probeticos, 1994) Alcázar De Cristal (Auvidis Ethnic, 1996) Parque De María Luisa (Universal Music, 2017)
Born in the Andalusian city of Cordoba, Paco Peña began learning guitar from his brother at the age of six and made his first professional appearance at the age of 12. In the late 1960s he left Spain for London, where his recitals of flamenco music captured the British public’s imagination.
Since 1970 Paco Peña has performed regularly with his own hand-picked company of dancers, guitarists and singers in a succession of groundbreaking shows. The Paco Peña Flamenco Dance Company has taken flamenco into the realm of music-theater with regular seasons in London (Royal Festival Hall, Sadler’s Wells Theatre and Barbican) and festival appearances in Edinburgh, Adelaide, Amsterdam, Athens, Israel, Istanbul, Singapore and Hong Kong.
1999 brought the most ambitious production yet: Musa Gitana. Peña based the piece on the life and work of another artist from Cordoba, the painter Julio Romero de Torres. Its seven-week season at the Peacock Theatre in London’s West End stands as the longest-ever run of a flamenco show and a further London season followed in Spring 2001.
Another landmark was Misa Flamenca, a 1991 setting of the Mass that juxtaposed Peña’s company with a classical choir. Its premiere at London’s Royal Festival Hall, given with the Choir of the Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields, was followed by a staging at the 1992 EXPO in Seville. Misa Flamenca has also been seen in Australia, New Zealand, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and the USA. Paco Peña has further plans to marry flamenco with the forms and forces of classical music.
Venues for his solo performances have included the intimate Ronnie Scott?s Jazz Club and the monumental Royal Albert Hall in London, New York’s Carnegie Hall and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. He has shared the stage with fellow-guitarists, singers and instrumental groups, bridging diverse musical genres, including classical, jazz, blues, country and Latin American.
In 1981 he founded the Centro Flamenco Paco Peña in Cordoba, later becoming Artistic Director of the Cordoba International Guitar Festival.
Paco Peña is based in London, but still spends a significant part of the year in his native Spain. In 1997 he was proud to be named Oficial de la Cruz de la Orden del Merito Civil, an honor bestowed by King Juan Carlos of Spain.
Manolo Sanlúcar, guitarist and composer, was born in Sanlúcar de Barrameda (Cádiz), a town by the seashore, where the Guadalquivir River ‘says farewell’ to Andalusia.
Initiated by his father “el tocador” (the guitar player) Isidro Muñoz, Manolo learned to passionately love the guitar. Very quickly, he assimilated its art and perfected it to the extent of becoming one of the best performers of the present time.
At the age of 12, he made his debut as a professional, and at the age of 18, putting aside the fashionable flamenco, he began to investigate and shape his unique conception and interpretation of flamenco music, gradually reinforcing himself, not only as a privileged instrumentalist, but also as a composer. A musician from the sensitive and lively people, faithful to the cultural heritage and to the precise call of the contemporary.
Manolo Sanlúcar belongs to that small group or artists upon which nobody doubts when coming to acknowledge their talent. Gifted with an exceptional musicality and a technique out of the ordinary, each of his recitals becomes a superb lesson in guitar, expertise and art.
His astonishing technique, which never loses contact with improvisation and the direct spiritual communication with flamenco style, doesn’t make of virtuosity a goal in itself, but praises it to convey deep emotional qualities.
“Trebujena”, guitar and orchestra concert in RE MAJOR, opened a new door to flamenco in the path of classical music and set up a full composite revelation, starting from the flamenco roots.
His “Medea”, composed for the Spanish National Ballet, was performed all over the world gathering success.
“Tauromagia”, is a musical journey that the composer undertook through the world of bullfighting. Themes where guitars and voices (a choir of strings, metals and percussion) keep threshing, note by note, the history of the art of the fighting, from the birth of the bull in the meadow (‘Nacencia’) to the triumphal appearance of the bullfighter through the big door (‘Prince’s Gate’), follow harmoniously linked the moments of hope, fear, happiness, death and glory that come into the fiesta.
On May 20th, 1992, he premierd in Malaga his symphonic poem “Aljibe”, a flamenco symphony for guitar, symphonic orchestra, male and female voices and percussion. The concert was with the Orquesta Ciudad de Málaga, conducted by Enrique García Asensio.
Manolo was the Musical Director of the film “Sevillanas” by Carlos Saura.
By request of the Malaga University, he composesd and performed the soundtrack of the “La Enciclopedia Electrónica de Andalucia”, presented at the pavilion of Andalusia at the Expo 92.
He is the composer of the Japanese documentary soundtrack about the Romería del Rocío, titled “Viva la Blanca Paloma”. The music was recorded in London with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Manolo Sanlúcar himself.
In November 1997 he was nominated as a member of the Real Academia Provincial de Bellas Artes de Cádiz.
Recital Flamenco (Marfer, 1969) Inspiraciones (Vergara, 1970) Mundo y Formas De La Guitarra Flamenca Vol. 1 (CBS, 1971) Mundo y Formas De La Guitarra Flamenca Vol. 2 (CBS, 1973) Mundo y Formas De La Guitarra Flamenca. Volumen 3 (CBS, 1973) Sanlucar (CBS, 1975) King Of Flamenco Guitar (Columbia Masterworks, 1975) Sentimiento (CBS, 1976) Fantasia Para Guitarra y Orquesta (RCA Victor, 1978) Y Regresarte (A Miguel Hernández) (RCA Victor, 1978) Guitarras Flamencas/ Bailes Flamencos (Marfer, 1978) Manolo Sanlúcar En Japon (RCA Victor, 1979) Candela (RCA Victor, 1980) Azahares (RCA Victor, 1981) Al Viento (Polydor, 1982) Tauromagia (Polydor, 1988) Locura De Brisa y Trino (Mercury, 2000)
Juan Manuel Cañizares was born in 1966 in Sabadell, in Spain’s northeastern province of Barcelona, the son of parents from southern Spain. He started his studies at the age of 10 at the Sabadell Municipal Conservatory then continued in Tarrasa and Barcelona. In 1982, Cañizares obtained the Jerez National Guitar Award.
He toured with the group El Ultimo de la Fila in 1989, which allowed him to see outside the world of flamenco. Since then, he has continued to work with Spanish and international musicians such as: Enrique Morente, the legendary Camaron de la Isla, María Pagés, Pepe de Lucía, Rocío Jurado, Vince Mendoza, Joan Manuel Serrat, Peter Gabriel, Al Di Meola, Mike Stern, Peter Erskine, Michael Brecker and The Chieftains.
Meeting Paco de Lucía was one of the most decisive experiences in Cañizares’ musical career. He collaborated with Paco de Lucía in the shows Sólo, Dúo, Trío and was later a member of the Paco de Lucía Septet. Their collaboration lasted ten years (1988-1998), until Cañizares decided to launch his own career.
In 1997, Cañizares recorded his first album titled Noches de Imán y Luna, which is rated as a great event in the flamenco world. With this recording, Cañizares found a new way to understand flamenco and became one of the most important advocates of flamenco guitar. His second album is based on an exceptional transcription of Albéniz’ piano sonnets for two guitars it is a beautiful work from both a musical and a historical point of view.
In 2004 Cañizares collaborated with the recording of “The Official Torch Relay Theme”. This track was included on the record “Unity” (the official record for the Olympic Games in Athens 2004) which was sold in over 50 countries. In 2005 he had a huge success at Carnegie Hall in New York where he performed at the “Mano a Mano” show with Jose Maria Gallardo del Rey. Cañizares is also a noted composer who has created works for the Ballet Nacional de España as well as film scores.
In 2007 he released “Suite Iberia, which is a transcription and interpretation of the Iberia Suite, exactly a hundred years after Isaac Albeniz composed the masterpiece. This rather grand and vast composition is based on the popular music and sonority of the Spain in which Albeniz lived, inherently influenced by flamenco. Iberia, originally written for the piano, is for the first time adapted for two guitars, both played by Cañizares. The result is an exciting and surprising communion between the charisma of Cañizares’ guitar and the flamenco underlying the original piece by Albeniz.
Cañizares recorded several classical music albums featuring compositions by Albéniz, Granados, Falla and Scarlatti.
In 2018, Cañizares released an independent album titled “El mito de la caverna.” The album won the prestigious Spanish MIN independent music award in 2019 for Best Flamenco Album.
“Flamenco tradition has brought me, following the Platonic metaphor, the language of the shadows in the cavern, those mysterious sounds that reached me traveling down the river of tradition. Years later, while studying at the music conservatory, I learned musical theory, which in similar metaphoric terms can be regarded as the language of sunlight. This intellectual perception of music allowed me to travel to a very different musical world,” said Cañizares.
[First part of the biography translated by Rita Granda]