Tag Archives: Spain

Artist profiles: Susana Seivane

Susana Seivane

Susana Seivane Hoyo was born August 25, 1976 in in Barcelona, Spain. She is the legitimate heir of a lineage of bagpipe craftsmen: the Seivanes. Her father is a bagpipe maker and her grandfather Xosé Seivane is one of the remaining old pipers still alive who together with Ricardo Portela or Moxenas (both deceased) formed part of one of the most important generations of Galician pipers, becoming masters and guides for today’s finest pipers.

Susana’s father, Alvaro was living in Barcelona, studying and making bagpipes for people in Galicia, Madrid and abroad. After ten years in Barcelona, the Seivanes returned to their Galician homeland.

Seivane’s style of playing, typical of “inland” pipers – the prestigious pipers from Fonsagrada, won her the respect and admiration of the piping world and traditional musicians in Galicia. This brilliant “inland” style, a tempered playing style, present in her music, shows a woman who has synthesized the most modern interpretive techniques like no one else with the “enxebre” style of the old pipers.

Susana surrounded herself with a group of young musicians that brought freshness and energy to her live performances that reproduces her albums. Her first recording was produced by Rodrigo Romaní, one of the founders of the legendary Galician folk music group Milladoiro.

Her band is not a conventional one. She uses instruments like bouzouki and guitar. Seivane plays traditional material although she also composes a few originals.

 

Discography

Susana Seivane (Boa Music, 1999)
Alma de buxo (Boa Music, 2001)
Mares de tempo (Boa Music, 2004)
Os soños que volven (Enavies, 2009)

DVD

Susana Seivane e amigos (Enavies, 2015)

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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: Rosa Zaragoza

Rosa Zaragoza

Rosa Zaragoza is a Sephardic music singers. She has performed at most Mediterranean music festivals and in Europe, the United States of America and Israel.

Rosa Zaragoza started her career in 1984 showcasing her talent at Gerona’s Call (The ancient Jewish quarter in this village) in the ancient Synagogue of Isaac el Cec.

Later, Zaragoza became interested in the coexistence period of the three main cultures present in the Iberian Peninsula: Jewish, Muslim and Christian. She added to her Sephardic repertory religious music and songs from the Arab and Christian traditions

Discography:

Canciones sefardies (Tecnosaga 1984)
Canciones de bodas de los judios catalanes (1986)
Canciones de cuna del Mediterraneo (1987)
Les nenes bones van al cel les dolentes a tot arreu (1989)
Galaneta ma Canciones de falda para cantar con el niño en el regazo (199)
Canciones de judios cristianos y musulmanes (1992)
El espiritu de Al-Andalus (1994)
Delicias zingaras (1997)
Mujeres del 36, with Grupo Makis (1998)
Erotica Mistica (2000)
Matria. Canciones de Sefarad, Al’Andalus y Cataluña (2003)
Nacer Renacer (2005)
Terra de jueus (2007)
La danza del alma (2008)
A la luz de la risa de las mujeres (2011)
Cuando se caen las alas del corazón (2014)

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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: Radio Tarifa

Radio Tarifa – Photo by Javier Salas

Throughout the southern coast of Spain one can easily listen to popular North African music by tuning numerous Moroccan and Algerian radio stations across the strait of Gibraltar. Tarifa is the southernmost town in Europe from which you can see the African continent on any clear day and listen to the Moroccan muezzins at sundown calling for prayer.

Radio Tarifa was the brainchild of Faín Dueñas, a former electric guitarist who realized that playing Anglo-Saxon rock wasn’t leading him anywhere. Instead he sought new paths and learned about other kinds of music from foreign and southern Spanish musicians. He became a specialist in African and Arabic percussion as well as in string instruments from the lute family such as the Turkish cümbüs, the guimbri, sentir, ud and Flamenco guitar.

The rest of the core group was formed by the late Flamenco cantaor Benjamín Escoriza from Granada and reed/flute player Vincent Molino from France. The group’s albums feature numerous guests and the live band included some of Spain’s finest world music players.

Spanish folk and world music veteran, producer, painter and photographer Juan Alberto Arteche produced the group’s first album, Rumba Argelina (Algerian rumba) for his eclectic Música Sín Fín label. Arteche later sold the rights to BMG Spain who in turn licensed it to World Circuit in Great Britain.

Rumba Argelina was an international success thanks to its lively pieces with a Medieval Spanish, North African and Flamenco feeling to it. The reeds heard on the album are not a Middle Eastern instrument but a Renaissance crumhorn played by Vincent Molino. Flamenco cantaor Benjamín Escoriza, from Granada, provided the Andalusian flavor while Faín Dueñas used atypical instruments such as the Gnawan guimbri (a string instrument), the North African darbuka drum and the Turkish tar frame drum.

Discography:

Rumba Argelina (Música Sín Fín, 1993)
Temporal (USA: Nonesuch/Europe: World Circuit, 1998)
Cruzando el Río (USA: Nonesuch/Europe: World Circuit, 2000)
Fiebre (BMG-Spain, 2003)

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Artist Profiles: Pere Joan & Manel Martorell

Pere Joan & Manel Martorell

The Martorell brothers, Pere Joan and Manel have been active in the traditional dance festivals in the villages of Mallorca (Spain) since they were very young. In 1993 they made their first performance as musicians at La Real festival and since then they have become an established duo performing regularly both in Mallorca and abroad.

They have been members of a number of groups playing traditional Majorcan music including Voramar, The Xeremiers (pipers) of Son Roca and Al-Mayurqa and they have been featured on a number of CDs released by these groups. They play a variety of different traditional instruments including Majorcan bagpipes, pipe and tabor, guitar, lute and archlute.

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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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