Tag Archives: Son de la Frontera

Artist profiles: Son de la Frontera

Son de la Frontera – Photo by Paco Manzano

Son de la Frontera (Sound of the Frontier) was an unconventional Flamenco ensemble from southern Spain. The members of Son de la Frontera convey unbridled flamenco passion while also carving a wholly unique path in their personal tribute to Spain’s renowned guitar master and sonic innovator Diego del Gastor.

In performing the music of maestro Gastor, the great guitarist and musical visionary from Moron de la Frontera (in the province of Sevilla), Son de la Frontera was committed to exploring the cross-pollination of Spanish-based traditions with sounds from four other continents, revealing flamenco’s ancient Moorish and Middle Eastern heritage while also blending in rhythmic and melodic elements from Cuba Argentina Colombia and Venezuela.

Throughout his illustrious career Gastor (1908-1973) was known for his melding of Latin sounds with flamenco traditions. Son de la Frontera expands on his rich legacy by being the first flamenco group to prominently feature the Cuban tres (literally “three” in Spanish), a small guitar-like instrument with three sets of double metal strings.

Led by Raul Rodriguez on the tres, Son de la Frontera also included two of Gastor’s descendants: Spanish guitar virtuoso Paco De Amparo and flamenco dancer Pepe Torres (both grand-nephews of the maestro). The group was rounded out by vocalist Moi De Moron and percussionist Manuel Flores, both of whom were born and raised in the flamenco hotbed of Gastor’s beloved Moron de la Frontera. Together they created a scintillating chemistry on their United States debut.

Son de la Frontera

Their debut CD Son de la Frontera was full of stirring falsetas and precision unison lines between Rodriguez’s steel-stringed tres and Amparo’s nylon-stringed guitar exhilarating flurries of synchronized handclaps (compas) from Flores and Moron dramatic pulse-quickening taps from dancer Torres and intensely passionate vocals from Moron.
Gastor’s compositions illuminated the Middle Eastern influences on flamenco in the spirited zambra “Arabesco” while his soleas “Como El Agua Entre Las Piedras” and “Recuerdo” are laden with emotion.

Elsewhere Gastor’s joyful rumba “Tangos de mi Novia” uncovers an Argentine connection to flamenco – while the brisk interplay between Rodriguez’s tres and Amparo’s strummed guitar on that buoyant piece also adds the infectious spirit of a Cuban tumbao rhythm. The album’s 9-minute centerpiece “Cambiaron Los Tiempos,” is a stunning showcase for each individual in the ensemble to stretch out instrumentally on a danceable seguiriya form.

The members of Son de la Frontera met in 1998 while playing together in the band supporting Rodriguez’s mother, renowned Spanish singer Martirio. As he explains “All of the band’s members loved the legacy of Diego del Gastor and we began experimenting with his music incorporating the Cuban tres that my mother brought back for me from Havana. It was a special souvenir from her appearance at the 90th birthday celebration for the great Cuban guitarist Compay Segundo [of the Buena Vista Social Club] For me, bringing the Cuban tres to flamenco was a natural extension of Gastor’s creative vision.”

In 2001 Paco de Amparo formed a new band called SonAires de la Frontera.

Discography:

Son de la Frontera
Cal

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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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Artist Profiles: Raul Rodriguez

Raúl Rodríguez – Photo by Oscar Romero V.

 

Flamenco guitar and Cuban tres player Raúl Rodríguez Quiñones was born in Sevilla (Spain) in 1974. He started out playing electric guitar and drums, taking a particularly interest in blues and rock music, but by age 17 shifted his attention to playing flamenco guitar.

Raúl later attended the University of Sevilla, where he majored in the History of Cultural Anthropology. He began playing professionally in the group Caraoscura, a duo including himself and Jose Loreto “Charmusco,” the son of the famous guitarist Parrilla de Jerez. In 1995, they released an album titled Qué es lo que quieres de mí? on RCA Records that was produced by Kiko Veneno and Joe Dworniak.

 

Raúl Rodríguez

 

In 1996, Raúl joined Kiko Veneno as his flamenco guitarist, touring and recording Punta Paloma (BMG 1997), Puro Veneno (BMG 1998), and La Familia Polio (BMG 2000). Raúl Rodriguez also performed with his mother, the renowned Spanish singer Martirio, playing guitar and percussion.

In 1999, Raúl co-produced Martirio’s Flor de Piel (52 P.M.), an ambitious flamenco-jazz interpretation of South American music. In 2001, Raúl produced and arranged Martirio’s Mucho Corazon (52 P.M.) that was nominated as “Best Flamenco Album” at the 2002 Latin Grammys. His collaborations with Martirio continued with the albums “25 años” (Nuevos Medios, 2009), “El aire que te rodea” (Sony, 2010), “De un mundo raro. Cantes por Chavela” (Universal, 2013), and “Martirio – 30 años” (Universal, 2015).

 

Raúl Rodríguez – Photo by Oscar Romero V.

 

In 2003 Raúl formed the acclaimed flamenco fusion group Son de la Frontera. Raúl Rodriguez played the flamenco tres he developed, based on the Cuban tres.

A seasoned session musician, Raúl Rodriguez has also recorded with Compay Segundo, Jackson Browne, Chavela Vargas, Soledad Bravo, Jerry Gonzalez, and many others.

His first solo album Razón de Son came out in 2014. The CD version came in a beautifully-packaged hard cover book.

 

Discography

* ¿Qué es lo que quieres de mí?”, with Caraoscura (BMG, 1995)
* Son de la Frontera (Nuevos Medios/World Village, 2005)
* Cal (Nuevos Medios/World Village, 2007)
* Razón de Son (Fol, 2014)
* La Raíz Eléctrica (2017)

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Son de la Frontera Winner of BBC World Music Award “Best in Europe 2008”

Son de la Frontera - Photo by Paco Manzano
Son de la Frontera – Photo by Paco Manzano

Son de la Frontera is a group of innovative flamenco musicians, made up of young heirs and followers of the Diego del Gastor school, and who through the fusion and dialogue between the Cuban tres and the flamenco guitar achieve a creative reinterpretation of his musical legacy.

The group was originally founded in 1998 as the accompanying group of Martirio, recording and on tour all over Spain and Latin America. Musician and anthropologist Raúl Rodríguez (Seville, 1974), guitarist Paco de Amparo (Morón de la Frontera, 1969), dancer Pepe Torres (Seville, 1978), singer Moi de Morón (Morón de la Frontera, 1977) and clapper Manuel Flores (Morón de la Frontera, 1969) make up the band. They make also the first solid incorporation of the Cuban tres in flamenco music. The first album, Son de la Frontera, was released by Nuevos Medios in July, 2004.

Son de la Frontera delves deeper into its particular tribute to the legendary guitarist Diego del Gastor on their second album, ‘Cal’. The flamenco group takes advantage of the unique sound of the metal strings on Raúl Rodríguez’s Cuban tres, to offer the most orthodox flamenco a new sound. With Paco de Amparo on guitar, Moi de Morón on cante, Pepe Torres on baile and Manuel Flores on compás, they perform new versions of pieces by the maestro, taking up cante classics such as Manuel Torre, Pinini and Enrique el Mellizo, and of course, they add compositions of their own, like ‘Soleá del amor’. The record was recorded in Morón de la Frontera, the land which inspires the band and its music.

Interview with the group (courtesy of Sasa Music)
Silvia Calado. Madrid, July 2004
Translation: Gary Cook

Five musicians walk the fine line between flamenco and the other musical styles the world has to offer, between traditional and modern… Five musicians thrown together by life’s little coincidences in Morón de la Frontera, more precisely in the belly of Diego del Gastor’s guitar. With the legacy of the famous Morón guitarist as their departure point, and with a tres – a Cuban guitar with three pairs of strings – as the craft in which to sail to the opposite shores of the Atlantic, Son de la Frontera provide a musical offering whose input is local and whose output is universal.

With the ample experience of their time spent playing with Martirio behind them, Raúl Rodríguez (tres cubano), Paco de Amparo (guitar), Pepe Torres (dance), Moi de Morón (cante) and Manuel Flores (compás) are natural and inquisitive enough to throw a hitherto unopened door wide open. “This isn’t a journey into the vaults, just a way of making music that maybe we need today.”

How was Son de la Frontera founded?

The Diego del Gastor school was already in place and his relatives were playing on the circuit. I started going to Morón in ’95 as a guitarist, looking for that source of inspiration. The following year I started to meet the people from my generation of that family, the great nephews of Diego del Gastor, the nephews of Dieguito de Morón, of Juan del Gastor, of Paco del Gastor and of Andorrano, who are grandsons of Joselero. And I started playing with them.

In ’97 my mother – Martirio – brought me a Cuban tres back from Havana. She’d been invited by Compay Segundo to go and sing with him. And then I saw it: we could play flamenco falsetas with this instrument. For a few years I just played it at parties, with no kind of aim to develop it into something or make use of it in some way. Then when I saw that it wasn’t a bad idea, and that Andorrano, Dieguito and the older ones liked it, we decided to make use of it.

When I met Paco de Amparo and Pepe Torres (the two great nephews of Diego del Gastor), and Manuel Flores and Luis Torres, Andorrano’s son, we started working as a backing group for Martirio from 1998 onward. We spent the last six years making records with her – ‘Flor de piel’ and ‘Mucho corazón’ – and doing all the tours, especially in Latin America and the U.S.

How much was the birth of the group down to Martirio?

That contact had a lot to do with it. The work with my mother as producer and arranger was to take all those boleros and tangos and give them the flamenco treatment. It was like trying to do the same thing as Fernanda de Utrera did with Diego del Gastor thirty years earlier, when they sang boleros and popular cuplés. Doing that kind of cultural exchange, but in a modern context, I tried to put that great style of playing into contact with musical styles from the Americas, which I think have a lot more in common with flamenco than people think. We played these flamenco falsetas over Venezuelan, Colombian, Cuban, Argentinean rhythms… And we saw that the code wasn’t as air-tight as people think.

How would you describe the music you make?

The songwriting is based on music by Diego del Gastor. And using his falsetas as a starting point, we draw everything out of them we can. We twist and turn it in every direction, never leaving his music, which is extremely rich, and at the same time needs to be taken to a wider audience. I like to struggle to stop it being thought of as dead and buried. It’s very much alive.

The piece ‘Guitarras de cal’ gave rise to the debate as to whether ‘toque de Morón’ constitutes a school in itself, whether it’s a way of playing…

You have to look at it in context. The only instrument there was in Morón to play popular music on during the 20th century was the guitar… and to be more precise, Diego’s guitar. There is a school, I say that because there are plenty of creations which come out of Morón, not just techniques. As Diego was the only guitarist to put all the music together, he absorbed all the influences into the belly of his guitar. His best-known falseta probably comes from ‘La Zarzamora’. And he also played in front of Americans from the military base in Morón, who brought with them a very modern concept of music, very sixties, very counter-cultural. And he had to convince them.

There are a lot of features that are closer to blues or rock than those that many flamenco guitarists have done since. I feel like in Morón Diego’s guitar was a music box. And today you just have to open the box and let it play itself, it not only has its own stamp, but it’s musically very rich – both very modern and very traditional at the same time.

So starting there, what do you hope to contribute?

When you put the tres in there, it begins to break down a little. The sonority starts to broaden, there’s plectrum work, that has parallels with other string instruments, and the steel strings which long since disappeared from flamenco make a reappearance. We want to show we can take this music to heart, play it respectfully, intelligently but in a carefree way. If in Sierra Leone they can make their own music based on what the elders sing, then we can do it too, so long as your approach is one of a new musical style. It shouldn’t be a journey into the vaults, just a way of immersing yourself in a form of music that maybe we need today

Buy the CDs:

Next concerts:

 

Saturday 26 April
Festival Jazzkaar
Tallinn (Estonia)

Sunday 4 May
Martirio and Son de la Frontera
Huercal de Almería (Spain)
Plaza de la Constitución

Saturday 10 May
Artistas invitados: David “El Galli” y Juan del Gastor
Morón de la Frontera (Sevilla, Spain)
Teatro de Oriente

Friday 16 May
Flamenco Festival Brussels
Brussels (Belgium)
Palaix du Beaux Arts

Saturday 24 May
Festival de la Guitarra
Hospitalet de Llobregat
(Barcelona, Spain) Teatro Joventut

Sunday 25 May
Hay Festival
Hay-on-wey (U.K.)

Tuesday 27 May
Festival Suma Flamenca
Programa doble con Chano Lobato
Madrid – Teatro Albéniz (Spain)

Thursday 5 de June
Festival Flamenco
Segovia- Torreón de Lozoya (Spain)

Friday 20 de June
Fiestas de Arahal
Arahal (Sevilla, Spain)

Thursday 3 July
Festival de Músicas Gitanas
Lisbon (Portugal)

Wednesday 9 July
Artista invitado: David “El Galli”
Alcalá de Guadaira (Sevilla, Spain)

Thursday 10 July
Festival de la Alegría
Chauen (Morocco)

Saturday 19 July
Festival de Peralada
Con Martirio y Lila Downs
Gerona (Spain)
Castell de Peralada

Sunday 20 July
Festival GREC 2008
Barcelona – Plaza del Rey (Spain)

Wednesday 23 July
Veranos de la Villa 08
Con Martirio y Lila Downs
Madrid (Spain)
Cuartel del Conde Duque – 21:30h

Wednesday 30 July
Gala BBC
World Music Awards
London – Royal Albert Hall (U.K.)

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Flamenco Revolutionaries Son de la Frontera at HotHouse in Chicago

Son de la Frontera

 

Chicago (Illinois), USA – Following the US release of Son de la Frontera, the five members of this brilliant new flamenco ensemble will make their Chicago debut at HotHouse on Friday, February 3 as part of Flamenco 2006: Chicago’s annual Flamenco Festival.

Son de la Frontera brings a fresh new edge to the flamenco tradition, carving a wholly unique path in their personal tribute to Spain’s renowned guitar master and sonic innovator, Diego del Gastor. In
performing the music of maestro Gastor, the great guitarist and musical visionary from Morón de la Frontera (in the province of Sevilla),

Son de la Frontera is committed to exploring the cross-pollination of Spanish-based traditions with sounds from four other continents, revealing flamenco’s ancient Moorish and Middle Eastern heritage
while also blending in rhythmic and melodic elements from Cuba, Argentina, Columbia and Venezuela.

The concert will be held Friday, February 3, at 8:00pm. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door, (21 & Over).One of the most dynamic and highly acclaimed ensembles in Spain today.

Buy Son de la Frontera

 

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Son de la Frontera, Cuban Tres Joins Flamenco Tradition

Son de la Frontera – Son de la Frontera

New York (New York), USA – Son de la Frontera (Sound of the Frontier), an unconventional Flamenco ensemble from southern Spain will bring its new concept of Flamenco to the North American public with its self-titled US debut, Son de la Frontera, on the World Village label.

Son de la Frontera have attracted attention with their ingenious mix of traditional Flamenco and Latin American sounds. American rock musician Jackson Browne seems impressed. He is quoted as saying: “The best new group I’ve heard recently, in any genre. A riveting tribute to the seminal flamenco master Diego del Gastor, this CD embraces the tradition of flamenco puro and succeeds in making it new.”

From the dramatic opener, “Buleria Negra Del Gastor,” to stirring soleas like “Recuerdo” and “Como El Agua Entre Las Piedras” to hybrid pieces like the Middle Eastern-flavored “Arabesco” and the smoky “Tangos de mi Novia,” the members of Son de la Frontera convey unbridled flamenco passion while also carving a wholly unique path in their personal tribute to Spain’s renowned guitar master and sonic innovator, Diego del Gastor.

In performing the music of maestro Gastor, the great guitarist and musical visionary from Morón de la Frontera (in the province of Sevilla), Son de la Frontera is committed to exploring the cross-pollination of Spanish-based traditions with sounds from four other continents, revealing flamenco’s ancient Moorish and Middle Eastern heritage while also blending in rhythmic and melodic elements from Cuba, Argentina, Colombia and Venezuela. Throughout his illustrious career, Gastor (1908-1973) was known for his melding of Latin sounds with flamenco traditions. Son de la Frontera expands on his rich legacy by being the first flamenco group to prominently feature the Cuban tres (literally “three” in Spanish), a small, guitar-like instrument with three sets of double metal strings.

The tres was established in the classic sexteto format of the 1920s and later popularized by Arsenio Rodriguez, the blind tres virtuoso whose ensemble was the most influential band in Cuba during the 1940s and 1950s. Led by Raúl Rodríguez on the tres, Son de la Frontera also includes two of Gastor’s descendants: Spanish guitar virtuoso Paco De Amparo and flamenco dancer Pepe Torres (both grand-nephews of the maestro). The group is rounded out by vocalist Moi De Moron and percussionist Manuel Flores, both of whom were born and raised in the flamenco hotbed of Gastor’s beloved Moron de la Frontera. Together they create a scintillating chemistry on their United States debut.

The CD is full of stirring falsetas and precision unison lines between Rodriguez’s steel-stringed tres and Amparo’s nylon-stringed guitar, exhilarating flurries of synchronized handclaps (compas) from Flores and Moron, dramatic, pulse-quickening “taps” from dancer Torres and intensely passionate vocals from Moron. Gastor’s compositions illuminate the Middle Eastern influences on flamenco in the spirited zambra “Arabesco” while his soleas “Como El Agua Entre Las Piedras” and “Recuerdo” are laden with emotion.

Elsewhere, Gastor’s joyful rumba “Tangos de mi Novia” uncovers an Argentine connection to flamenco, – while the brisk interplay between Rodriguez’s tres and Amparo’s strummed guitar on that buoyant piece also adds the infectious spirit of a Cuban tumbao rhythm. The album’s 9-minute centerpiece, “Cambiaron Los Tiempos,” is a stunning showcase for each individual in the ensemble to stretch out instrumentally on a danceable seguiriya form.

The members of Son de la Frontera met in 1998 while playing together in the band supporting Rodriguez’s mother, the renowned Spanish singer Martirio. As he explains, “All of the band’s members loved the legacy of Diego del Gastor, and we began experimenting with his music, incorporating the Cuban tres that my mother brought back for me from Havana. It was a special souvenir from her appearance at the 90th birthday celebration for the great Cuban guitarist Compay Segundo [of the Buena Vista Social Club], For me, bringing the Cuban tres to flamenco was a natural extension of Gastor’s creative vision.”

Son de la Frontera will be performing live on February 3 ,2006, at Hothouse in Chicago (Illinois) and February 4, 2006, at Town Hall as part of the New York Flamenco Festival 2006 in New York City.

Buy Son de la Frontera

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