Spanish musician María Toro was born in 1979 in La Coruña, Spain. She is a respected flutist and flamenco-jazz composer whose career path has taken her across many countries in different continents over the years. Seven years after moving from her native Galicia to Madrid, in 2009, she joined an international flamenco company in Zurich, Switzerland.
Afterwards, she crossed the Atlantic to form part of the flamenco and jazz movement in New York City. Later, she settled in Rio de Janeiro in order to integrate her music with the effervescent musical sounds of the city.
In Switzerland, she started to compose her first album, A Contraluz, finally recorded in the United States in 2014 with renowned jazz performers in New York City. In 2016, while living in Rio de Janeiro, she recorded her second album, Araras, accompanied by great performers such as Hermeto Pascoal, who provided Brazilian rhythm to her proposal.
In 2017, Maria Toro returned to Madrid, where she continues composing and performing her musical repertoire throughout Spain and Europe.
Jose Romero Project (2012) A Contraluz (Jazz Activist, 2014) Araras (Jazz Activist, 2018)
The idea of Flook was first conceived in Manchester, November 1995, when Michael McGoldrick (flutes), Brian Finnegan (flutes) and Sarah Allen (flutes, whistles, accordion) got together for one tour titled Three Nations Flutes. The unusual line-up included three flute players. Guitarist Ed Boyd was drafted in at the end of the tour and they changed their name to Fluke!, later to Flook.
In 1997, the band released Flook! Live!, which captured the three talented flutists at their best during the Sidmouth Folk Festival. Michael McGoldrick and was part of the Manchester Irish scene from a young age. Brian Finnegan was raised in Armagh in Ireland while Sarah Allen was originally from London. Ed Boyd spent his childhood in Bath before he moved to Manchester and formed Red Ciel prior to Flook!
When Mike left to pursue solo projects in 1998, John Joe Kelly (bodhran), who was also a veteran of the Manchester Irish scene, was brought in full time, having previously appeared as an occasional guest.
Flook’s unique combination of flutes, underpinned by fluid guitar and hugely impressive bodhram playing made them one of the most popular groups on the live music circuit in the UK.
Flook won Best Band at BBC Folk Awards in 2006.
The group disbanded in 2008 and reformed in 2013. A new album titled Ancora was announced in 2019.
Flook! Live! (Small CD 945 1997) Flatfish (Flatfish 2CD 1999) Rubai (Flatfish4CD 2003) Haven (World Village, 2006)
Explicaciones (Explanations) is the new solo album from Cuban composer and skilled flute player Magela Herrera. Currently based in Miami, Magela Herrera performs music rooted in American jazz and Cuban rhythms and melodies. She has a charming, highly expressive style as a flutist.
The musicians on Explicaciones are some of Miami’s finest jazz players: Tal Cohen on piano; Nestor del Prado on bass; Dion Keith Kerr on bass; Hilario Bell on drums; David Chiverton on drums; Greg Diamond on guitar; Jean Caze on trumpet; and Philbert Armenteros on batá drums.
Although most of the tracks are instrumentals highlighting the flute, Magela also sings on a couple of tracks. She includes the Spanish language romantic classic “Bésame Mucho” (“Kiss me a lot”), written in 1940 by Mexican songwriter Consuelo Velázquez and popularized by Los Panchos.
Explicaciones is a delightfully-crafted album showcasing the talent of a young composer and superb instrumentalist.
Jorge Pardo was born in Madrid in 1955. He started his studies at the Conservatory of Madrid at the age of 14. From very early on in his career he immersed himself in jazz and was one of the founding members of the group Dolores (together with Pedro Ruy-Blas). Today, Jorge is regarded as one of the true leaders of a style of music that fuses flamenco with jazz. In fact, he is among the elite group of jazz figures from Spain with an international following.
Introduced to the world of professional flamenco at the hands of groundbreaking flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia, he has acquired a new hybrid language between jazz “de raiz” (“from the roots”) and flamenco.
Jorge Pardo’s style and technique on both flute and the sax is blazing new trails in this constantly developing music. In addition to his work in Sexteto by Paco de Lucia, he has collaborated with nearly every major figure in the world of flamenco; his resume includes concerts with Chick Corea and Astrid Gilberto, and Jorge is also a longtime collaborator with flamenco rock bands Ketama and La Barberia del Sur, further exploring the outer reaches of the rhythms of flamenco.
In 2013, Jorge Pardo received the award for Best European Jazz Musician, by the French Academy of Jazz.
In 2016, Pardo released the Djinn Metaflamenco project that delved into the essence of flamenco, takinge it beyond the confines of its current borders. The album featured Hammond organs, keyboards with acid sounds, powerful drums, electric bass and flamenco guitars joined by saxophoness and flutes (sometimes processed) and the contributions of Dj’s and producers working with samples of vintage singing.
In 2017, Djinn Metaflamenco won the Best flamenco album award at the Premios MIN, the elading indepedne t jusic awards in Spain.
Jorge Pardo (Blau, 1982) El Canto De Los Guerreros (Linterna Música, 1983) A Mi Aire (Nuevos Medios, 1987) Las Cigarras Son Quizá Sordas (Nuevos Medios, 1991) 10 De Paco, with Chano Domínguez (Nuevos Medios, 1994) De Dos En Dos (Nuevos Medios, 1995) 2332 (Nuevos Medios, 1997) Music For Ebbe: Live In San Sebastian (El Delirio, 1999) El Concierto De Sevilla (Nuevos Medios, 2000) Directo (Satchmo Jazz Records, 2001) Mira (Nuevos Medios, 2001) Bouderbala, with Nass Marrakech and Omar Sosa (World Village, 2001) Quid Pro Quo (Satchmo Jazz Records, 2003) Vientos Flamencos (Manantial De Músicas, 2005) 3dd’3 (Quadrant Records, 2006) Desvaríos (RTVE Música, 2007) Entre (MusiMagic, 2008) Sin Precedentes (Nuevos Medios, 2008) Vientos Flamencos 2 (Flamenco World Music, 2009) Sobre la Marcha (CQuadrant Records, 2011) Huellas (Cabra Road, 2012) Puerta Del Sol (Nuba Records, 2013) Historias de Radha y Krishna (Fol Música, 2014) Djinn (Karonte, 2016)
Live At The Auditori Pau Casals, El Vendrell (Quadrant Records Q00002V 2007
Nestor Torres was born in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, in 1957. He took flute lessons at age 12 and began formal studies at the Escuela Libre de Música, eventually attending Puerto Rico’s Inter-American University. At 18, he moved to New York with his family. “That’s where I first developed my improvisational skills as a charanga (Cuban dance music) flutist,” he says. “In charanga, the flutist improvises a great deal – the focus of his solos are to make people dance. Even when I play today, my approach is still very rhythmic and melodic.”
Torres went on to study both jazz and classical music at the Mannes School of Music in New York and the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, among other places.
He moved to Miami in 1981, and signed with PolyGram, where he released Morning Ride in 1989. His major label debut climbed quickly to the top of the Billboard Contemporary Jazz charts and soon brought him widespread acclaim. Tragedy struck a year later when an accident in a boat race left him with eighteen fractured ribs, two broken clavicles and a collapsed lung. His record company dropped him, he and his wife divorced, and his home was nearly repossessed.
A longtime practitioner of Nichiren Buddhism – a branch of Buddhism with roots in 13th-century Japan – Torres says the ordeal “taught me that no matter how difficult and hopeless my situation seemed, my life was fine. It was not about ‘Why me?’ but rather ‘Okay, this is what I must deal with and overcome now…so let’s go!'”
An outpouring of sympathy followed from the South Florida community, including a benefit concert staged by a local radio station and individuals who stepped forward with money to save Torres’ home. “An appreciation for life and a realization that we are all interconnected is the greatest legacy of that experience,” he says. “I also learned firsthand about the value of the people behind the scenes – the nurses, my family and friends, and especially my fans. Were it not for them, I would not have been able to overcome this difficult situation.”
Torres began the long recovery process and released Dance of the Phoenix in 1990. In 1994, he recorded Burning Whispers for Sony. His Latin-jazz composition ” Luna Latina” was nominated in 2000 for a Latin Grammy. A year later, he won a Latin Grammy for This Side of Paradise. “Of course it was a great honor and privilege to win the Grammy,” Torres reflects. “That being said, the fact that I was to receive it on 9/11 gave my work and my music a stronger sense of mission and purpose. Terrorism and violence come from ignorance, anger, arrogance and hopelessness. Music and culture inspire and empower; they soothe the human heart and enlighten the spirit. I have made it my prime point to create music and live my life as an artist and a human being in a way that does just that.”
Mi Alma Latina: My Latin Soul, a compilation of Latin standards was released in 2002. Torres’ Heads Up debut, Sin Palabras (Without Words), released in March 2004, features a re-working of the Latin classic “Contigo Aprendo,” the Alejandro Sanz hit “Regálame La Silla Donde Te Esperé,” and nine original tunes. In addition to Torres’ fine musicianship, the album features a number of talented producers, including James Lloyd (from Pieces of a Dream) on seven tracks, Carlo Pennisi from Miami and Jimmy Haslip (of Yellowjackets).
“Carlo has a very fresh sound and a European sensitivity that appeals to me a great deal,” Torres says. “Jimmy, Danny and Baby Boy are a unique writing team with an impressive and impeccable pop music approach. James Lloyd is a master. His work with Pieces of a Dream has consistently been on top of the charts. Plus, he’s a great producer and a lot fun to be around.”
Torres has worked with everyone from Tito Puente to Gloria Estefan and many contemporary jazz greats. He still performs at benefit concerts all over the world, but especially in his adopted hometown of Miami. Recently, he returned to the Escuela Libre de Música in Puerto Rico as a judge at their first juried music competition. And he still gives master classes to students.
“These types of activities are wonderfully rewarding and fulfilling,” Torres says. “I enjoy people, I enjoy serving and consider it a blessing to be able to make a difference.”
Peruvian flutist and composer Cesar Peredo studied flute at the National Conservatory of Lima. Peredo continued his studies at the Hochschule fur Musik in Detmold, Germany, under the tutelage of Michael Achilles, who was a student of Hans Peter Schmitz (principal soloist with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra). He later studied privately in Los Angeles, California, with Arthur Hobermann, one of the most popular flutists in the Hollywood area.
At the same time he was studying in Europe, he attended master classes and courses with renowned soloists such as Paul Meisen, Hans Peter Schmitz, Maxence Larrieu, Andreas Blau, William Bennett,and others.
After returning to Peru, he studied composition with Celso Garrido Lecca and Enrique Iturriaga. In 2001, he won an honorable mention in a composition contest organized by the American Flute Association.
He has performed and/or recorded popular music with renowned Peruvian and international artists such as Placido Domingo, Zamphir, Joan Manuel Serrat, Juan Diego Florez, Pedro Aznar, Fito Paez, Tania Libertad, Gian Marco, Alex Acuña, Eva Ayll?n, Cecilia Barraza, Pepe Vasquez, Dave Valentin, Nestor Torres, Orlando “Maraca” Valle and others.
He participated on the Jolgorio CD of Peru Negro, which was nominated for a Grammy award in 2004 and 2005.
As a classical music soloist, he has performed with all Peruvian orchestras, interpreting concerts for flute and orchestra, some of which had never been performed before in Peru.
As a jazz and world music flutist he has recorded with the most important Peruvian artists.
For 10 years, he was principal soloist with the Lima Philharmonic Orchestra.
Currently, he is principal soloist with the Prolirica Symphony Orchestra (Peru) and conductor of the group “Los de adentro” (jazz & world music with Peruvian roots).
Despertando (Adagio, 1999)
Pensamento (Adagio, 2000)
Cosas de Negros (Adagio, 2004)
A Felicidade en Vivo (Adagio, 2007)
Flute player Matt Molloy joined The Chieftains in 1979 as the replacement for Michael Tubridy. His first appearance with the band took place at the Edinburgh Festival as the opening act for Van Morrison. His first recording with the band was The Chieftains 9: Boil the Breakfast Early.
Born in 1947, Molloy is a native of county Roscommon, in the western area of Ireland. Molloy is widely recognized as the best flute player in Irish traditional music and was formerly in The Bothy Band and Planxty.
He started playing at the age of 12, and participated in traditional music festivals (called fleadhanna cheoil) where he won numerous competitions. In 1964, he moved to Dublin where he not only performed in clubs but also studied aeronautical engineering. He met Paddy Moloney at the Old Sheiling and soon the two were playing duets around town.
By the 1970s, Molloy was working as an airline mechanic and playing music on the side. When the traditional music scene boomed, he tried his hand at being a professional musician after securing a six-month leave of absence from his company. He never returned. He was a founding member of The Bothy Band, through which he became known as Irish music’s premier flute player. Shortly after the group disbanded in 1979, Molloy joined Planxty, before becoming one of The Chieftains.
The Chieftains 10: Cotton-Eyed Joe (Claddagh Records CC 33, 1981)
The Year of the French (Claddagh Records CC36, 1982)
The Grey Fox (1982) (soundtrack to The Grey Fox)
Concert Orchestra (1982)
The Chieftains in China (Claddagh Records CC 42, 1985)
Ballad of the Irish Horse (Claddagh Records CCF, 1986)
Celtic Wedding (RCA 6358, 1987) In Ireland, with James Galway (1987) Irish Heartbeat, with Van Morrison (Polydor 834496, 1988)
The Tailor Of Gloucester (WD-0710, 1988)
A Chieftains Celebration (RCA 7858, 1989)
Over the Sea To Skye: The Celtic Connection (1990) (with James Galway)
The Bells of Dublin (RCA 60824, 1991)
Another Country (RCA 60939, 1992) An Irish Evening (RCA 60916, 1992)
The Celtic Harp: A Tribute To Edward Bunting, with The Belfast Harp Orchestra (RCA 61490, 1993) The Long Black Veil (RCA Victor 09026-62702-2, 1995)
Film Cuts (RCA Victor 09026-68438-2, 1996)
Santiago (RCA Victor 09026-68602-2, 1996)
Long Journey Home (1998)
Fire in the Kitchen (1998)
Silent Night: A Christmas in Rome (1998) Tears of Stone (1999)
Water From the Well (2000)
The Wide World Over (2002)
Down the Old Plank Road: The Nashville Sessions (2002)
Further Down the Old Plank Road (Arista/BMG, 2003)
Live From Dublin: A Tribute To Derek Bell (2005) The Essential Chieftains (2006) San Patricio, with Ry Cooder (2010) Voice of Ages (2012)
Resilience is a beautiful album by United States-based Ugandan musician and former refugee Samite. His main instrument is the flute and he delivers a set of engaging musical pieces that incorporate Ugandan roots music and jazz.
Samite’s music is played at concert venues and also for elders at institutions for seniors. Resilience is inspired by Samite’s own experiences of musical healing to search out comfort and relief. His mission is to transmit this comfort to other individuals.
Samite participated in Dr. Bill Thomas’ Disrupt Dementia, a national tour that stopped at hundreds of facilities and played music for residents. These endeavors are chronicled in the Sundance award-winning documentary Alive Inside.
On Resilience you’ll find tranquil, yet inspiring and mesmerizing music performed on flute, soft vocals, guitars, bass, percussion and keyboards.
The lineup includes Samite on vocals, flute, litungu (East African lyre), adungu (a Ugandan arched harp) and bass; David Cullen on guitars, bass and keyboards; Tony Cedras on guitar, strings and piano; Tristan Jarvis on upright bass, electric bass, guitar and keyboards; Frank Paco on percussion; and Nate Richardson on guitar.
“The power of music is that it can tap human resilience, which is the same spirit in African refugee camps as it is in senior centers,” says Samite. “We are very resilient.”
Kevin Crawford is one of the exceptional flute players in Irish traditional music. Born in Birmingham, England and now living in his parent’s native County Clare, Kevin is known as the virtuosic flutist and frontman for the dynamic young Irish band Lunasa. His exhilarating playing was also key to the classic instrumental group Moving Cloud.
Following his acclaimed solo debut ‘D’Flute Album, Kevin wanted to make an album featuring fiddle-and-flute duets with some of his heroes, eight of Ireland’s legendary fiddlers. 7/7 Good Company features the cream of traditional fiddling: Tommy Peoples, Martin Hayes, Frankie Gavin, Tony Linnane, Conor Tully, James Cullinan, Manus McGuire of Moving Cloud and Scan Smyth of Lunasa.
“I wanted to reintroduce myself to the musicians I played with when I first came over to Clare and to the tunes we used to play,” said Crawford. “When I’m away on the tour bus or the plane, these are the musicians I miss the most, wishing I was back in Clare playing tunes.”
Backed by guitarist Arty McGlynn, bodhran player Jim Higgins, and Moving Cloud keyboardist Carl Hession, Crawford showcases the vitality and virtuosity of these fiddlers. He strips back the layers of today’s musical technology to reach a core sound, the “pure drop” of fiddle and flute embraced in the unalloyed joy of playing.
All the way from Moy in Co. Armagh, Fintan is a flute player, uilleann piper and writer of satirical songs. Currently lecturer on Traditional Music at the Dundalk Institute of Technology, Co. Louth, Fintan’s scholarly work, such as his weekly column in The Sunday Tribune, stimulated the dialogue surrounding Irish music and the tradition.