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.
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
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)
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.
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.
Recuerdo y profecia por España (1977)
El calendario del Pueblo (2 volumes 1977 and 1978)
Flamenco percussionist Manuel Flores was born in Morón de la Frontera, Spain in 1969. Considered one of the masters of hand rhythm (compas) from Moron he has participated in the Bienal de Flamenco and the Feria Mundial de Flamenco. For many years Flores was the rhythmic “anchor” for singers and dancers such as Chano Lobato, Andorrano, Kiko Veneno, Juan de Juan, Nano de Jerez, Rafael de Utrera and Javier Ruibal and guitarists Paco del Gastor, Diego de Moron, Juan del Gastor, El Leri, and Eduardo Rebollar.
Outside of Spain he has been involved in flamenco performances in the United Arab Emirates, Italy, Switzerland, Portugal, the United States, France and Belgium. In 1998 Manuel Flores began to collaborate with Martirio. He soon became an integral part of her flamenco group and performed on her album Mucho Corazon subsequently touring with her in 2003 and 2004.
Natalia Mellado – Caminos De Vuelta (Cabalgache, 2014)
Natalia Mellado is a talented singer from southwestern Spain that specializes in copla, a type of Spanish folk song that was very popular in the 20th century. Natalia sings copla with a twist, adding jazz, flamenco and traditional folk music elements from other cultures as well as Latin American rhythms and genres such as tango.
The album features arranger Raúl Ramoson piano; Oscar Fernández on bass; Adrián Alameda on drums and percussion; Javier Bruna on flute; Victor Bruna on clarinet; Jesús Sacristán and Isaac Maroto on palmas; and Oscar Herrero on flamenco guitar.
Dos Medinas Blancas is an album that features two outstanding vocalists, Carmen París (Spain) and Nabyla Maan (Morocco). Carmen is well-known in Spain for her vocals skills and her combinations of Spanish traditional music like jota and flamenco with jazz and world music. She’s also a composer and songwriter. Meanwhile, Nabyla Maan is a young and rising talent with a beautiful voice that brings her Moroccan roots to the mix. Nabyla also composes music and writes her own songs.
The album features songs in Spanish and Arabic, brilliantly fuses the musical influences from the two countries and includes musicians and musical instruments from both cultures.
The lineup includes Carmen París and Nabyla Maan on vocals; Tarik Hilal on Spanish guitar; Mahmoud “Chouki” on mandola, banjo and outar; Peter Oteo on electric bass; Borja Barrueta on drums; and Pablo Martín Jones on pamderos (frame drums), caxixi, darbuka and cajón.
The CD is nicely packaged and includes liner notes in Spanish, English and French.
Dos Medinas Blancas is also a musical project that was co-produced and presented live by two music festivals, L’Boulevard in Morocco and Pirineos Sur in Spain.
Dos Medinas Blancas is a splendid, masterfully performed album that brings together the musics of Spain and Morocco and two of their finest vocalists.
Renowned Spanish dancer and choreographer Aída Gómez is one of the recipients of this year’s Medalla de Oro al Mérito en el Trabajo (Gold Medal of Merit at Work) from Spain’s government. The award recognizes her brilliant professional career and her important work in boosting the performing arts.
Aída Gómez is currently directing the 12th edition of the Suma Flamenca festival, produced by the Community of Madrid (Madrid’s regional government). Suma Flamenca started June 6th and will run until June 25.
Suma Flamenca turns the region of Madrid into the European center of flamenco, with remarkable programming that includes top vocalists, guitarists and dancers.
Aída Gómez also directs the Madrid en Danza festival also produced by the Community of Madrid.
Benjamin Escoriza, was born in Granada and later moved to Madrid. In the Spanish capital he met French multi-instrumentalist Vincent Molino and Spanish percussionist Fain Sanchez Dueñas and the result of their musical chemistry was the groundbreaking band Radio Tarifa, founded in the 1990s.
In 1993, Radio Tarifa’s Rumba Argelina was released. The album, produced by indie label Música Sin Fin, is regarded as a masterpiece of Spanish world music. Other recordings followed, Temporal, Cruzando el Rio and Fiebre, recorded live in Toronto (Canada).
Along with his work for Radio Tarifa, Benjamin Escoriza worked on a solo album. He enlisted Jaime Muela, Vicente Molino, Fernando Mej5as and the producer of Rumba Argelina, Juan Alberto Arteche. Together they created Alevanta!. The album is a powerful mix of Arabic music, Flamenco, Arab Andalusian and Sephardic influences, along with Andalusian folk, Medieval music and rock.
On Alevanta!, Benjamin Escoriza shifted from being a contributor to writer of all the material. In this flamenco-focused record Benjamin left his Granada roots more visible. The songwriting process took place in stages. After writing the lyrics, Benjamin tried them out over his own guitar or small electric keyboard, searching for melodies and chords and writing them down on a 4-track recorder. He later worked on the rough demos with his various musical collaborators, primarily Vincent Molino, but also Jaime Muela, Fernando Mejias and producer Juan Alberto Arteche. Much of the record was put together in these musicians’ homes. By working through the ideas and arrangements, the songs gradually took shape and the choice of instruments was selected to reflect the mood and meaning of each composition.