Tag Archives: Flamenco

Artist Profiles: Razón de Son

Raúl Rodriguez, Razón de Son – Photo by Oscar Romero

Razón de Son is a creative research project that investigates the intercultural origin of early flamenco music. The research uses a double method of investigation: on one side the anthropological background and on the other musical experimentation.

Razon de Son aims to expand the musical storyline by tracing back to the deeply mestizo culture heir of the cultural crossover that occurred in the Afro-Caribbean colonies and the Andalusian ports of Seville and Cadiz between 16th and 19th centuries.

Raul Rodriguez creates new tunes and reinterpretations of the ancient Afro-Hispanic dances. He also introduced a new musical instrument that he calls the tres flamenco, combining Cuban son and flamenco toque which opens the possibilities of a new language: Son Flamenco.

Razon de Son also applies the latest historical and musical studies around the multiple sources that influenced flamenco music. This idea was developed over the last few years by several authors such as Faustino Nuez, Jose Luis Ortiz-Nuevo. J. L. Navarro Garcia and Santiago Auseron offering some of the most interesting perspectives around the basic fundamentals of the flamenco culture.
This new perspective not only shows new origins of Flamencos most deeply rooted traditions but also highlights the importance of the contribution of black music from the Andalusian ports of the XVI to XVIII centuries to flamenco music. Detailed studies show that the African dances already existed in the Spanish Golden Age and had a decisive influence on the development of many of the modern Flamenco dances thus opening up a path to follow in order to continue to discover new tools of expression new sones for the future.

In 2003. Raul Rodriguez founded the celebrated band Son de la Frontera featuring for the first time the Cuban tres in Flamenco in an homage work to Diego del Gastor. He produced both albums of the band for Nuevos Medios: Son de la Frontera (2004) and Cal (2006). The band got international reputation receiving several awards as Flamenco Hoy 25 Best Instrumental Album, BBC Radio World Music Awards as Best European Album 2008. Son de la Frontera toured worldwide and played in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, La Habana Miami, Mexico DF, Montreal, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Rome, etc. from 2003 to 2008.

Razon de Son is Raul Rodriguez’s continuation of his musical research of early flamenco.

Line-up: Raul Rodriguez – tres cubano; Mario Mas – Spanish guitar; Aleix Tobias on percussion; and Guillem Aguilar – bass

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Artist Profiles: Ray Heredia

Ray Heredia – Photo by Mario Pacheco

Ray Heredia was one of the most charismatic of the “young flamencos”. He combined Flamenco and Gypsy rumba with Caribbean salsa and jazz. He died prematurely in Madrid the 14th of July of 1991 at the age of 27 a month after his first solo album Quien no Corre Vuela was released.

Heredia was part of a Gypsy family from Madrid with a long musical tradition. Son of the dancer Josele, Ray started performing as a child. At 12 he registered his first recording at a studio and his career developed collaborating in recordings by Flamenco artists such as Camaron, El Chato de la Isla and Enrique de Melchor.

Notwithstanding that he grew up in a Flamenco environment he always showed a great interest in other kinds of music. He himself remembered that at the beginning of his musical career when he was not at a “tablao” (Flamenco nightclub) he spent hours with his ear glued to a radio trying to assimilate all kind of influences.

His anxiety lead him to be the real instigator of Ketama the band that he formed together with the Carmona brothers and Jose Soto Sorderita. Ketama’s debut album ignored at its time by the media showed the brilliance of New Flamenco and was praised by such different people as David Byrne, Jack Nicholson and Angelica Houston.

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Artist Profiles: Ramón Montoya

Ramón Montoya

Ramón Montoya Salazar is considered a genius by most Flamenco guitarists. He was born November 2, 1879. Some biographies mention he was born near Toledo (Spain), while others indicate his birthplace as Madrid, Spain.

As a child he visited Madrid’s influential Cafe de la Marina, watching guitarists play. The key moment came when he met the most important classical guitarist of that time Miguel Llobet.

Ramón Montoya recorded his first solo piece as a soloist in 1936 in Paris, at the age of 56. Until then Montoya had only recorded as accompanist.

Ramón Montoya died July 20, 1949 in Madrid, Spain.

Discography:

Flamenquistas volume II (Stinson Records, 1962)
Arte Clasico Flamenco. Un Maestro De La Guitarra (Hispavox, 1971)
Le Vrai Flamenco Instrumental ‎(Disc’Az, 1974)
Great Masters of Flamenco, Vol .5 – Grandes Figures Du Flamenco (Le chant du Monde, 1996)
El Genio De La Guitarra Flamenca (2003)
Maestro De La Guitarra Flamenca ‎(Calé Records, 2011)

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Artist Profiles: Paco Fernandez

Francisco Fernández Vargas “Paco Fernández” was born in Triana (Sevilla) in 1967. He grew up in a family of singers, guitar players and dancers.

At the age of eight he began playing the guitar and received his first lessons from Rafael Amador, a member of the “Pata Negra” band. He later continued his apprenticeship with guitar teacher Miguel Pérez (senior).

At the age of twelve, Paco Fernandez officially debuted with his brothers Esperanza and José Fernández at the Álvarez Quintero Theater in Seville, forming the group Pandilla Gitana. The following year, his father Curro Fernández, along with the important representative José Antonio “Pulpon”, had the great idea of forming one of the most recognized flamenco families in the country, “La Familia Fernández”, which toured for eight years throughout America, Europe, Japan, and India.

At a young age, Paco was recruited by guitar maestro Rafael Riqueni as second guitarist in his shows. Later, he participated with guitar virtuoso Gerardo Núñez on a tour of Germany.

In 1992, Paco played guitar in Roció Jurado’s album, “Dos Mundos Cantan”, in the songs “Fandangos de Descubrimiento” and “Del Amor de España”.

In 1995, Paco participated in the song “Bulerias del Olivar” from the album “De Aquí a Ketama” and on the album “Pasión Gitana by dancer Joaquín Cortes “.

In 1996 Paco participated, together with Tomatito on the album by Morenito De Illora. He also accompanied Niña Pastori and Joaquín Cortes dring their tours.

In 1998, he started as a music producer on Carmen Carmona’s album, intervening as musical director, arranger and guitarist of all the songs. At the end of the same year he also produces and plays the guitar on the album “Sueños” by La Chiqui.

In 1999 he produced two albums, “Sueños de Mimbre” by Rocío Ruiz and “Volcán” by the group Varaya; both productions for the OFS discography.

In the year 2001 he participated with his show “Sastipen Tali”, at the Lewes Guitar Festival in Great Britain. Also at the eighth Astaffort Guitar Festival in France.

In 2002 he collaborated as a musical producer and guitarist in the show “Yo misma” by Juana Amaya, participating in the XII Bienal de Flamenco de Sevilla. That same year he toured with acclaimed singer and guitarist Raimundo Amador.

In January 2003, he received a platinum record for his song “Teléfono de Mi Casa” from Javi Cantero’s album and that year he also took part in the “Por Derecho” tour with Juana Amaya and Farruquito.

In 2005, Paco released his first solo album “Sastipen Tali.” Paco Fernandez is currently one of the most sought-after guitarists in Spain.

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Artist Profiles: Paco De Amparo

Paco De Amparo

Flamenco guitarist Paco De Amparo was born in 1969 in Morón de la Frontera, Spain, into a family with a long lineage of great flamenco guitarists. He is the great nephew of Diego del Gastor, the nephew of Luis Torres Cadiz, “Joselero de Morón” and also the nephew of Diego de Morón and Andorrano.

Paco’s extensive list of sideman credits includes work with Juana Amaya, Antonio Canales, Gaspar de Utrera, Luis “El Zambo”, Manuel Molina, Rafael de Utrera and Jose Merce. In 1998 he began to collaborate with the singer Martirio and soon thereafter became one of the lead guitarists of her flamenco group.

He also worked with dancer Antonio Canales in his performance titled “Bailaor” which was presented at the Bienal de Flamenco de Sevilla in 2002 and also collaborated on the album Solo Compas, en vivo desde Moron De La Frontera. He appears on Martirio’s album Mucho Corazon.

Paco De Amparo formed a flamenco fusion group called Son de la Frontera. The group later disbanded and Paco formed a new incarnation called SonAires de la Frontera. The new ensemble released Moroneando in 2010.

Discography:

Mucho Corazón, with Martirio ‎(Sunnyside, 2001)
Cal, with Son De La Frontera ‎(World Village, 2007
Moroneando, with SonAires De La Frontera ‎(Bujío Producciones, 2010)
Alma de mi guitarra (2017)

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Carmen Linares, Flamenco Legend 2017

Carmen Pacheco Rodríguez, better known as Carmen Linares, has received the 6th Flamenco Legend Award. The award is bestowed by Venta de Vargas, La Fragua magazine and Flamenco de La Isla. The jury includes flamenco experts and enthusiasts.

Carmen Línares will be the first woman to receive this award. Previous winners include, Alonso Núñez “Rancapino”, Antonio Fernández “Fosforito”, Paco Cepero, Juan Peña “El Lebrijano” and Curro Malena.

The award ceremony will take place November 16th, “International Flamenco Day” in the courtyard of Venta de Vargas in San Fernando (Cádiz).

headline photo: Carmen Linares – photo by Paco Manzano

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Artist Profiles: Ojos de Brujo

Ojos de Brujo in 2002

Ojos de Brujo was a flamenco roots band based in Barcelona, Spain. The band caused a stir in international music circles in 2003-2004 with its flamenco fusion. The group whose name means ‘witch eyes’ created a popular mix of flamenco with funk, samba, reggae and other forms of world music. One of Spain’s most popular live musical acts at the time, the group was composed of musicians on flamenco guitar, bass and percussion; a DJ and a dancer and featured the captivating lead vocals of Marina Abad.

Said Xavi Turull the group’s percussionist: “We live in Barcelona and we live strong – always out in the streets so we’ve always lived rumba catalana and flamenco puro really strongly. But when Marina came into the group we became even more focused on flamenco. Our roots got stronger and we became more confident when we experimented with other styles. We became more solid – more of a band.”

The second album Bari took its name from a word in Caló – the Gypsy (Roma) dialect of Spain – that means roughly ‘finding the groove in life’ – the same way you do in music. Xavi Turull explained: “Bari is a word that Ramon, who’s Gypsy, picked up from his grandmother. It’s kind of like the feeling that everything in life is working right. That everything feels good.”

Techari came out in 2006 and was released in North America on February 2007 on Six Degrees Records. It is an ambitious self-produced journey recorded both abroad in Cuba and New York as well as in a studio at the foot of the Pyrenees Mountains close to the birthplace of Salvador Dali. “One of the pressures of success is to look for ways to stay true,” said Xavi Turull. “And we are really trying to find a way to be free. That’s why the new album is called Techari because it means ‘free’ in the gypsy language.”

Work on Techari started at the end of March 2005 and was completed at the end of October. In between the band did two international tours which stop-started the recording process. “Recording and touring at the same time was a little crazy but the result is amazing,” added Xavi. “We are finally at a point where the sound is exactly the way we want.”

Special guests included Faada Freddy from Senegalese hip hop collective Daara J, Asian Dub Foundation’s Prithpal Rajput and Nitin Sawhney, South Indian fusion artist and British TV star (who returned the favor after Ojos de Brujo collaborated on two tracks for his album Philtre).

Cuban pianist Roberto Carcasses also made an appearance alongside respected flamenco guitarist Pepe Habichuela and Cuban tres/flamenco guitar player Raul Rodriguez from Son de la Frontera.

Cuban drums were used in bulerias, funk was layered onto rumba catalana and dhol drums add an Eastern flavor to the mix. However the band was quick to point out that these collaborations were the result of new friendships and not any cynical marketing strategy.

The Techari bonus CD-ROM featured work from fourteen illustrators from around the world, each represent the individual nature of the fourteen tracks fifteen translations of lead singer Marina’s emotionally-charged lyrics and three full-length videos.

 

 

 

Lenacay, Calima, Marinah and Kejaleo are bands started by former Ojos de Brujo members.

Discography

Vengue (1999)
Bari (2002)
Bari: Remezclas de la Casa (2003)
Techari­ (2006)
Techari­ Live (2007) CD/DVD
Techari­ Remixes (2007)
Aocana (WEA Spain, 2009)
Corriente vital 10 años (WEA Spain, 2010)

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Artist Profiles: Pepe Habichuela

Pepe Habichuela

José Antonio Carmona Carmona, better known as Pepe Habichuela, was born in Granada (Spain) in 1944. The guitar has always been present in the Habichuela dynasty. Pepe Habichuela’s grandfather, Tio José Habichuela and father Juan Carmona Habichuela played the guitar and all his brothers are professional players. His son is Josemi Carmona, who along with Pepe’s nephews, founded innovative flamenco fusion group Ketama.

As many other guitarists Pepe Habichuela’s professional career started as accompanist to well-known cantaores (singers) like Camarón de la Isla. His collaboration with the great cantaor Enrique Morente meant a giant step for modern Flamenco. Pepe Habichuela participated in several of Morente’s superb albums: Se hace camino al andar, Homenaje a Don Antonio Chacon and Despegando.

Since 1980 Pepe Habichuela has been giving concerts as a soloist. Pepe Habichuela’s first solo album was a tribute to his grandfather.

Pepe has gone beyond traditional Flamenco guitar by adding bass, percussion and Jazz elements to his compositions. His interest in Jazz has led him to collaborations with jazzmen Don Cherry and David Holland. He has also explored the connections between flamenco and Indian music collaborating with Nithin Sawhney, Anoushka Shankar and The Bollywood Strings.

Discography:

Homenaje a D. Antonio Chacón, with Enrique Morente ((Hispavox, 1976)
Despegando (CBS, 1977)
A Mandeli (Nuevos Medios, 1983)
Habichuela en Rama (Nuevos Medios, 1997)
Yerbagüena, with The Bollywood Strings (Nuevos Medios NM15788, 2001)
Hands, with Dave Holland (Dare2 Records, 2010)

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Artist Profiles: Miguel Poveda

Miguel Poveda

 

Spanish flamenco singer Miguel Angel Poveda León was born in Barcelona on February 13, 1973. He grew up in the Badalona suburb and started singing at 15 at local peñas flamencas (Flamenco fan clubs).

In 1993, Miguel Poveda won the most sought-after award “La Lampara Minera” at the 33rd Song Festival de las Minas de La Unión and became known to a wider public. At the same festival, Miguel Poveda obtained three further awards La Cartagenera, La Malagueña and La Soleá

Having gained recognition as a new talent by the professional flamenco world, his artistic career quickly developed. In 1994, film director Bigas Luna took him on as an actor in the movie “La Teta i la Lluna”. One year later he produced his first CD “Viento del Este” together with musicians such as Moraíto, Carles Benavent and José Soto.

In 1996 Miguel Poveda participated in various festivals in Spain and Europe and set out for his first tour of Japan. In the following year he produced a show about García Lorca for a seminar organized by the University of Bologna, Italy.

In 1998 he attended the “Festival of Culture and Arts” in Ramallah, Palestine and was the invited artist in “La Vida es un Sueño” presented by Calixto Bieito in the International Festival of Edinburgh. At the same time he presented successfully his latest show “Suena Flamenco” throughout Europe. The most outstanding pieces of these live concerts are included in his CD “Suena Flamenco”.

Miguel Poveda is one of those artists who grow once they are on stage and manages to connect quickly with the public. In 2003 he moved to Sevilla one of the cradles of flamenco.

 

 

In 2015 Poveda released “Sonetos y poemas para la libertad.” It’s a collection of poems by leading poets from the Spanish-speaking world in Spain and Latin America, including Quevedo, Rafael de León, García Lorca, Borges, Miguel Hernández, Pablo Neruda and Joaquín Sabina. Poveda recreated the expression of these poems through flamenco.

 

Discography:

Viento del Este (1995)
Suena Flamenco (Harmonia Mundi Ibérica HMI 98719, 1999)
Zaguan (Harmonia Mundi, 2001)
Poemas del Exilio Rafael ALberti (Harmonia Mundi, 2004)
Qawwali-Flamenco (Accords Croises, 2006)
Desglac (Discmedi, 2005)
Tierra de calma (Discmedi, 2006)
Cante i orchestra (Discmedi, 2009)
Coplas del querer (Universal Music, 2009)
Coplas del querer en directo live (Universal Music, 2010)
Artesano (Universal Music, 2012)
Real (Universal Music, 2012)
Diálogos De Buenos Aires A Granada, with Rodolfo Mederos (Universal Music, 2013)
Sonetos y poemas para la libertad (Universal Music, 2015)

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Artist Profiles: Miguel Angel Cortés

Miguel Angel Cortés

 

Miguel Angel Cortés was born in Granada (Spain) on January 26th, 1972. The Cortés family is well known for its fine guitarists so it is not surprising that Miguel Angel displayed an early enthusiasm for carrying on the family tradition. His unusual talent was discovered when he was given a guitar at the age of 8. He made his debut into the world of flamenco at the Zambra del Sacromonte club in the famous Gypsy caves of Granada.

By the time he was 14 years old Miguel Angel was already touring extensively throughout Europe, the United States, Turkey and Japan accompanying top Flamenco dancers such as Mariquilla, Manolote, Antonio Canales, Javier Barón and Juan Andrés Maya and flamenco singers José de la Tomasa, José Merce, Chano Lobato, Luis El Polaco Morenito de Illora and Estrella Morente.

In 1994, Miguel Angel won the Paco de Lucía Guitar Award. For the past several years he and his brother Paco Cortés have been working and touring with one of the leading flamenco singers in Spain, Carmen Linares. They also worked on a music project in collaboration with several other musicians and El Guito, formerly Paco de Lucia’s dancer.

Miguel Angel’s pride as a Gypsy musician compels him to continue composing and performing Flamenco music. He is traditional in his approach while still being an active participant in the exciting ongoing evolution of Spanish guitar music.

To me it is more important to ‘feel the pain’ with sensibility when playing flamenco because anyone can achieve technical speed by rehearsing 12 hours a day.”

Discography:

Patriarca (Antequera Records/Alula Records, 1998)
Bordón De Trapo ‎(Nuba Records KAR7714, 2006)

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