Flamenco pianist Rosario Lazo Montoya “Reina Gitana” was born in Jerez de la Frontera on April 29, 1974.
The Reina Gitana (Gypsy Queen) grew up in a gypsy family full of artists. Her father is Antonio “El Pescaero”, owner of a flamenco fan club in Jerez that bears his name. Her maternal grandfather was a great guitarist and so is her uncle. Her aunt Rosario Montoya was a singer that toured the world with her own company. Her grandmother Pilar Montoya was also a great dancer.
Rosario studied at the Royal Conservatory Manuel de Falla in Cádiz, where she obtained the first prize for composition.
She is the first gypsy woman in Spain that received a degree as piano teacher and instrumentalist.
She has performed at major venues throughout Spain and also appeared on various TV and radio networks, such as Televisión Española, Canal Sur, Canal 2 Andalucía and Onda Jerez.
Rosario is passionate about pure, traditional flamenco.
Chico Pérez was born in Jaén in 1994. He is a Spanish flamenco pianist, performer and composer. In 2016 he obtained the Superior Degree in Music in the specialty of piano at the CSM conservatory in Jaén. He has trained and collaborated with artists such as David Peña Dorantes, Jorge Pardo and Pepe Rivero, among others.
He obtained from the RTVE Institute the award for Best Musical Band of the Year in 2017, and Talent Award 2018 at the Jaén Music Awards.
Chico successfully raised funds to record his debut album “Gruserías,” produced by Paco Ortega.
Chico Pérez believes in music without walls. He fuses flamenco roots with jazz, blues and classical music.
Born in 1973 into one of the elite families of Seville’s Tres Mil Viviendas neighborhood, by the young age of 11, Diego Amador was already playing professionally and had mastered drums, guitar, piano, and bass, and possessed an unusually powerful voice.
He joined the revered flamenco rock band Pata Negra founded by his brothers Raimundo and Rafael. Now considered one of the few flamenco masters on the piano, he developed his own self-taught method and is able to adapt traditional guitar accompaniment formats to the keyboard, winning the admiration of his colleagues in the flamenco sphere.
He has also played with La Susi, Remedios Amaya and Joaquin Grilo and is a long-time member of Tomatito’s Sextet. Internationally, Amador has collaborated with artists such as Larry Coryell, Luis Salinas, Alex Acuna, Birelli Lagrene and Jerry Gonzalez.
As one of the most gifted musician-composers of the current flamenco scene, he remains very much rooted in the unique gypsy approach to rhythm and harmonic structure and is thus hailed as a provocative, innovative and creative force within flamenco’s evolution, combing flamenco, jazz and salsa.
His skills are showcased on his Nuevos Medios/Fantasy Records release Piano Jondo on which he plays practically every instrument. His genius and trademark magnetism or “duende” are also clearly reflected in live performances.
Pianist and composer Chano Dominguez, one of the essential innovators of flamenco jazz, and will be touring the West Coast of the United States in May and June. Chano discusses his music and the upcoming tour with World Music Central.
How did you come into contact with flamenco, rock and jazz?
Flamenco was played at my house in a pickup my dad had, rock came through my older brother who listened to groups like Emerson Lake and Palmer, Genesis, Yes and others, then the Beatles, and jazz came through the radio station at the US naval base in Rota.
What repertoire will you be performing during your upcoming American tour?
We will mainly play the repertoire of the album Flamenco Sketches, which are all Miles Davis songs adapted to flamenco rhythms, but with all the freedom that Miles was looking for in his music
What’s your current band lineup and how did you come into contact with the band members?
On this occasion I have the pleasure of having Alexis Cuadrado on the double bass, a Catalan musician who has lived in New York for more than 20 years, and on drums, the prodigious Henry Cole, a percussionist from Puerto Rico who has also been living in New York for more than a decade.
From Spain there is flamenco cantaor (singer) Blas Cordoba on vocals and palmas. He’s been my cantaor for more than 20 years in all my albums; and dancer Daniel Navarro, a virtuoso of foot percussion and a fantastic elegant dancer.
What do you consider as the essential elements of your music?
Who can you quote as your main musical influences?
There are many but Paco de Lucía is my biggest influence along with Bill Evans.
Tell us about your first recordings and your musical evolution.
This year I book my 40 career as a music professional. It all started in 1978 with my first project the Andalusian rock group Cai.
I think since then I have been mixing flamenco rhythms with everything that has influenced me, rock, classical, jazz, etc.
You grew up and lived in Spain for many years. How did you end up in Seattle and now in New York City?
Especially to give my children an opportunity to get to know other cultures and to develop in another country since in my own it seems that the economic situation is not going to change and also to develop my work where the cradle of this music is located, I think it is important to spread this way of understanding jazz and flamenco together and here I have the opportunity to do it in schools and universities.
Are you still connected to the Spanish flamenco jazz scene?
Yes, in fact on June 10, I’ll play with my flamenco quartet at the flamenco festival in Madrid.
Although your main instrument is the piano, you started playing electronic keyboards. Do you still have electronic keyboards and do you plan to use them in the future?
Yes, I still have my keyboards and play them. A few years ago I recorded a project for Verve that was called NFS, new flamenco Sound. In that work I played keyboards too.
I still have interest in playing other instruments such as the guitar, the vibraphone or the drums.
If you could gather musicians or musical groups to collaborate with whom would that be?
I would love to have a good concert tour with my original trio with which we have worked for more than 15 years. To me they are part of this language that we have invented between these two cultures. Javier Colina and Guillermo MCgill are the musicians that I would put together for some good concerts.
Do you have any upcoming projects to share with us?
I just recorded a project for brass quintet, percussion and piano. It’s my compositions arranged by me for this project. I am lucky to have the best brass quintet from my country, Spanish Brass and we hope to tour the United States next year with this project.
The Flamenco Viene Del Sur 2017 will present winners of the influential Festival de las Minas de la Unión flamenco contest. The artists are set to perform on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 at Teatro Central in Seville.
Alfonso Aroca (piano)
Although Alfonso Aroca has led soul, funk and music projects around the world, he’s a remarkable flamenco pianist as a soloist and accompanist to flamenco singers and dancers.
Antonia Contreras (vocals)
Antonia Contreras started singing flamenco at a very young age. Although she temporarily abandoned her artistic career, she resumed it by convincing himself that cante (flamenco singing) gave meaning to her life.
Alba Heredia (dance)
Alba Heredia belongs to one of the most important dynasties of the flamenco world, Los Maya. She’s the nice of Manolete, Mario Maya and Juan Maya Marote. Alba has danced since her childhood in La Rocío, her grandmother’s famous cave. In 2015 she won El Desplante Award.
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.
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 dancer Pepa Montes and guitarist Ricardo Miño. He was born in Seville in the Barrio de Triana in 1979. He was presented in his first public piano concert in Sevilla, at the tender age of four.
Pedro Ricardo Miño’s 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 toured parts of Europe and the United States as a soloist and with his parents’ company, “Flamenco en Concierto”.
World Music Central interviewed Pedro Ricardo Miño in November of 2005.
Angel Romero – There is a guitar tradition in your family, why did you choose the piano?
Well… not only guitar. My mother is a well known dancer (bailaora) in Spain. Her name is Pepa Montes (national dance awards winner). The truth is that at home we breathed and still breathe Flamenco and, naturally, my father wanted me to have academic training (at the classical music conservatory), which he was not able to get. My father [Ricardo Miño] was a Flamenco guitar professional at the age of 14 and he didn’t have the time nor the opportunity to study.
Before entering the conservatory, I had a private teacher that taught me music theory and piano ( at the age of four) little by little …and then I went to the conservatory where I finished my music degree.
That is my academic training, but in Spain you cannot study flamenco at the conservatory…but, clearly…knowing the piano technique and having the good fortune of growing up in a “Flamenco family,” that’s how I began.
I have classical music training and oral transmission of Flamenco.
Do you compose your own pieces?
I prefer to compose my own pieces. I like to squeeze the juice out of my ideas and, especially, develop them on state, in contact with the audience.
Did you ever record with your father?
I participated in some my father’s CDs and we have also performed many concerts together. For example, last May we played together in San Francisco.
How do Flamenco aficionados react to Flamenco piano?
The piano is a relatively new instrument in the world of Flamenco (although there were good works in the 1960s by Manuel Gracia Matos, Pepe Romero and Arturo Pavón).
I think they value if the person who dances, plays or sings sounds like Flamenco or not. If it gives you goose bumps or not.
Flamenco is the person, not the instrument.
Q – Other pianists who play Flamenco, such as Chano Domínguez, come from rock and jazz music. Which are your influences?
The influence and style that identify better with is pure Flamenco. In its traditional form.
What do you think about New Flamenco and fusions?
When a musical work is well done and thought out, it’s good. When I listen to Nuevo Flamenco, I don’t try to compare it with pure Flamenco, since it is another form.
But, of course, today’s Flamenco Puro (from the 1970s and 80s) was probably not considered pure in its early days, because it is not the same as what was made in the 1940s and 50s. At the time it was also Nuevo flamenco.
To me there is only one Flamenco style: that one which moves you.
You are performing a lot in the United States. Where do you live now?
That’s right. Everything seems to be going very well. I live in Spain in the city of Seville (it’s a magical place to live in), but I wouldn’t mind living here for a few months a year, especially in California. It’s a place that I like, where I have great friends: Ravi Shankar, Jackson Browne, Gino Dauri, David Crosby, Jeff Bridges, Alan Kozlowsky and Sandra Hay, …. and many more.
My first time in the US (2001) I lived four months in Santa Barbara (which I like a lot), later in Santa Monica, Topanga… I just came back last week from three concerts with Anoushka Shankar in New York … and that way up to 9 or 10 months in the US (I think it’s time to find a house here…).
Do you perform with a band?
Usually, I work as a soloist and have my own band, which I’d like to bring to the Us one day. I also collaborate with other artists.
Are you recording an album?
At this time we are negotiating with several record companies about releasing my CD. It was recorded in Santa Barbara [California] and Spain. I would like to release it in the US. That’s where it was made and where there is growing number of Flamenco fans.
How do you see the future of Flamenco?
I thank God every day. There are very good works being made and there more and better aficionados, more knowledge…more places to study Flamenco, more concerts…its wonderful!
I hope I can introduce Flamenco to US and international audiences for many years.
From here I send my greetings to all American flamenco aficionados.
Your Connection to traditional and contemporary World Music including folk, roots and various types of global fusion