Tag Archives: Spanish music

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: 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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Charming Vocals by Environmentally Conscious Artist

Lara Bello – Sikame (Biophilia Records, 2017)

The music Spanish vocalist Lara Bello crosses over various musical boundaries. On the delightful album Sikame she combines southern Spanish influences, jazz, fado, Latin American rhythms, and other global music styles.

Lara us currently based in the USA and worked with musician and producer Gil Goldstein on this recording. The list of international musicians that area on Sikame is quite impressive, featuring well-known names in the areas of jazz, world music and flamenco.

Equally fascinating is the album packaging. Sikame has a physical format that opens 20 panels inspired by origami. The packaging, however, does not contain a physical CD. Instead, it includes a unique code to download the album. The paper used is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. It’s hand-folded and printed using plant-based inks.

The line on Sikema includes Lara Bello vocals, percussion; Gil Goldstein on piano, accordion, rhodes, percussion; Romero Lubambo on guitar; Richard Bona on upright bass, electric bass; Lionel Loueke on guitar, vocals; Jorge Pardo on flute; Carles Benavent on mandolin; Leni Stern on ngoni; Samuel Torres on cajón and other percussion; and Rajiv Jayaweera on caxixi.

Sikame is remarkable album featuring the poetic and vocal talent of Lara Bello and some of the finest musicians in the New York and Spanish music scene.

Buy the digital download version of Sikame.

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Jerez Celebrates the 50th Fiesta de La Bulería Flamenco Festival

Jerez de la Frontera, one of the cradles of flamenco, is celebrating the 50th edition of its renowned flamenco festival Fiesta de La Bulería de Jerez. The shows begin today, August 24th and will run until August 26th. Performances take place at the Alcázar de Jerez. This year’s festival is dedicated to Juan de la Plata.

Today, the Festival of the Festival de la Bulería Joven (the young buleria festival) is titled ‘Bodas de Oro,’ directed by Pedro Garrido ‘Niño de la Fragua.’ The show will honor the most outstanding flamenco vocalists, dancers and guitarists that have performed at Festival of the Bulería in its 50 years. The second part ‘Canta Jerez’ (Jerez Sings) will showcase the current young flamenco cantaores (male singers) and cantaoras (female singers) along with more experienced artists.

On Friday, August 25, the Fiesta de la Bulería again opens its borders to other sister municipalities, including a show dedicated to iconic singer Camarón de la Isla, titled ‘Jerez, Cádiz and the Ports, to Camarón’, directed by Diego Magallanes. The show is a province of Cadiz tribute to José Monge Cruz (Camarón).

On Saturday, August 26, the week of the Festival of the Bulería will culminate with the grand final show that, under the title ‘La tierra y el cante’ (the earth and song) with Pepe del Morao as artistic director and Juan Alfonso Romero as executive producer.

Throughout the festival, flamenco dance and guitar workshops will be available.

The festival held a flamenco dance flashmob on August 21.

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Artist Profiles: Mayte Martin

Mayte Martin

Mayte Martin is one of the most versatile cantaoras (flamenco singers) of her generation. She is capable of performing the most difficult styles of her repertoire with equal talent and without falling for the clichés linked to flamenco cante. She takes time to explore all of the possibilities for beauty and expression in each cante.

For her interpretive work is above all an exercise in ̶interior listening” a kind of mental composition that must later be re-created with the voice. Mayte controls the ̶micro-intervals”, the melismas that are interspersed between prolonged notes and that give her cante a fluidity and an unusual melodic elegance.

Mayte exudes an expressive and personal style founded on a classic base. Mayte recorded a boleros album with Tete Montoliú and wrote a handful of songs for string quintets before meeting the dancer Belén Maya. Their meeting resulted in the forging of one of the most important and unusual artistic unions in today’s flamenco.

Mayte’s recording, Querencia, with Drac-Virgin Records, provides an in-depth look at the essence of cante and Mayte’s own restlessness as an artist.

Querencia adds rhythmic emphasis without falling into festive clichés. It gives melodiousness to the most solemn of flamenco styles without loosing a speck of depth.

Translated by Rita Granda

Discography:

Muy Fragil (K Industria Cultural, 1994)
Free Boleros (K Industria Cultural, 1996)
Querencia (Virgin Records, 2000)
Tiempo de Amar (Virgin Records, 2002)
De fuego y de agua (KLM, 2008)
Al cantar a Manuel (Nuevos Medios, 2009)
Cosas de dos (2012)

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Artist Profiles: Matto Congrio

Matto Congrio

Matto Congrio was one of the most important modern Celtic bands in Galicia (Spain) in the early 1990s. Its only album Matto Congrio released in 1993 was an exciting combination of Galician Celtic music with Irish music, rock, salsa, samba and reggae. The album was recorded in Dublin and featured top Irish musicians as guests, including Paddy Moloney on the uilleann pipes.

The group’s founders Carlos Núñez, Santiago Cribeiro and Anxo Lois Pinto were all graduates of the Obradoiro Escola de Gaitas e Zanfonas de Vigo (Vigo School of Bagpipes and Hurdy Gurdies) the most important school in the development of new Galician musicians. After Matto Congrio disbanded Carlos Núñez went on to become one of the most sought after pipers and flautists in international Celtic music. In addition to touring worldwide with The Chieftains he has recorded solo albums for major labels and is a frequent guest in many recordings.

Former Matto Congrio members Santiago Cribeiro, Anxo Lois Pinto and Isaac Palacin formed a new group called Berrogüetto which became one of the top contemporary Galician folk music bands.

Musicians:

Santiago Cribeiro – accordion, piano, keyboards

Anxo Lois Pinto – violin, bagpipe, soprano sax

Diego Bouzon – Spanish and electric guitars

Isaac Palacin – drums percussion

Carlos Núñez – flutes and bagpipes

Pancho Alvarez – bass mandolin guitar

Discography:

Matto Congrio (Lyricon, 1993)

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Artist Profiles: María Salgado

María Salgado

María Salgado was born in Toro in the province of Zamora, Spain. From the beginning she assimilated and became familiar with the basis and sources of traditional folk music. In Segovia, the great master of Castilian music Agapito Marazuela revealed to her the essence of genuine traditional interpretation. In fact, on the basis of his teachings she made a great recording of songs taken from the “Cancionero de Castilla” which Marazuela painstakingly recovered at the beginning of the 20th century. In Canciones De Amor y Trabajo, María Salgado rearranged old melodies and included the most modern musical instruments. This she did in such a way that these vigorous songs lose none of their true spirit.

With her other tutor, Joaquín Díaz, she came to realize the importance of knowing and loving the recent past and she learned to re-discover it from a different angle from a more human and wiser view point. She took part in and collaborated in numerous recordings with Joaquín. Together they worked with other folk musicians such as Raíces, Candeal and Angel Carril on El Calendario Del Pueblo a project made up of several volumes.

These early beginnings give us a better understanding of María Salgado´s full and artistic development. Several solo recordings and many collaborations and joint recordings prove this her constant search for originality but always starting from the very depths of things from the essence of artistic being no matter what this may be or wherever it may be found.

There are few back-ups as essential as poetry and María has sung verses by Luis López Alvarez (her version of the Romance De La Reina Juana always seems different in each performance), works by Luís Díaz Viana of which she has made two mono recordings – Recuerdo and Profecía Por España ( a disc with Lorca echoes and one of Jesús Quintero’ s most frequently performed in “El Loco de la Colina”) and “La Ultima Dama”. She has also taken part in the recording made in honor of the Cuban composer María Teresa Vera together with Martirio, Omara Portuondo and Pablo Guerrero.

Poetry in the words, a fine sensibility in the interpretation variety in the themes –these are some of the ingredients used by María Salgado over the last years to create a widely recognized and tremendously coherent career. She can claim that thanks to her recording Mirándote it is clear that there are Habaneras from inland, away from the coast, which are just as beautiful and mysterious as those from the Mediterranean. In a recording made with Sudanese singer Rasha and Galician singer “La Sal de la Vida” she has clearly shown that the language of music as the language of art in general terms is the most powerful way to unite peoples and cultures.

In her recording “Siete Modos de Guisar las Berenjenas” (Seven Ways to Cook eggplant) she grouped together songs from a wide variety of origins and their only common factor is their beauty. Nostalgic Sephardic melodies taken from Greece live comfortably alongside new songs by Juan Pablo Silvestre and traditional Spanish songs from the plains and Andalusia.

Discography:

Recuerdo y profecia por España (1977)

El calendario del Pueblo (2 volumes 1977 and 1978)

Canciones de boda (1979)

Canciones de amor y de trabajo (1980)

La última dama (1981)

Siemprevivas (1992)

Mirandote (1993 and 1998)

A Maria Teresa Vera (1995)

La sal de la vida (Nubenegra, 1997)

Siete modos de guisar las berenjenas (Nubenegra, 1998)

Abrecaminos (2006)

Amor a Cuba (RTVE, 2008)

Abrazo-abraso (2011)

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