Posts Tagged ‘tomatito’
I’ve known Brook Zern since the late ’80s when I was studying with Dennis Koster in New York. Brook, who worked in publishing, would come to the AIG (American Institute of Guitar) and play during his lunch hour – I sometimes marveled at his ability to practice while reading the NY Times – and he was always very generous about answering all my questions. He seemed to know a lot about this flamenco business. Brook has been committed to the flamenco cause to the point that in 2008 he was actually knighted by king Juan Carlos of Spain for his work in disseminating Spanish culture in the U.S. (the only foreigner to be so honored).
He has a new blog where he holds court on tons of flamenco-related topics and recently has begun translating and reprinting some fantastic interviews, like the one here with Tomatito, which is definitely worth a read. One of the most interesting ones I’ve read was the interview with none other than Don Antonio Chacón, and there are interviews with Paco de Lucia, Matilde Coral and many more, all of which include Brook’s opinionated commentary – Brook is an unabashed proponent of Gypsy flamenco and the Morón style.
There are an awful lot of opinions about flamenco out there on the web, so it’s nice to know that on this site it’s all backed by actual knowledge of the history of flamenco and a life devoted to studying and living it – which is to say that I’ll always take the informed opinion (whether or not I agree with it) over the alternative.
One of the questions we’re asked a lot is ‘what’s the big deal about Conde guitars?’. Certainly no other name in flamenco guitars is quite as well known as Conde, and the reason is actually pretty simple – no other guitars are played by as many of the top flamenco players in Spain. Paco de Lucia has played a Conde since the beginning of his career (and many players from the generation before Paco played them as well), and while Paco has surely had a huge influence on almost every flamenco guitarist since, it’s hard to imagine that he’s the only reason so many great players play Condes. So I’ve put together some videos of just a few of the great players who play these guitars, and I’ll put up more soon. For starters here are Melchor de Marchena, a very young Paco de Lucia, Tomatito with Camarón, Pepe Habichuela, Gerardo Nuñez and Moraito, all playing their Condes. I’ve left out plenty of great players, but this feels like a good start.
Also check out Felipe Conde’s bio here. Felipe is the heir to the Conde tradition and we’re very happy to represent him here in the US.
If you hang out at the Conde shop in Madrid long enough you’ll meet just about every great flamenco player alive, so for the past year or so Felipe Conde has been shooting video of some of the amazing players who come in to his shop, including guys like Tomatito (and his son, in the photo), Pepe Habichuela, Rafael Riqueñi, Antonio Rey and more. Here are a few of Felipe’s recent videos.
Graciliano Perez is a luthier from Cordoba, Spain, whose guitars have been popping up in the hands of more and more great players lately, including Vicente Amigo, who has already bought a couple, including a maple and spruce flamenco. We’re very excited to have two of Graciliano’s guitars arriving sometime in January. I played a couple of Graciliano’s guitars when we met in Spain a few weeks back and I was very impressed.
Graciliano’s guitars are very much in the tradition of Miguel Rodriguez – in fact the two were friends, and Graciliano still uses woods he bought from Rodriguez on some of his guitars. As you’ll see from the photos, Graciliano is wood-obsessed, like all good makers.
Below the photos you can see video of Tomatito (playing his Reyes) and his nephew, Cristy Fernandez, playing a Graciliano guitar, and the other video is of Eduardo Trassierra and his trio, with Eduardo also playing one of Graciliano’s guitars.
Up to now I hadn’t spent much time with the Vicente Carillo ‘Tomatito’ guitars, so I thought I’d take a page out of Scott Wolf’s book and try out a new piece I’m writing on a couple of different models – seemed like a great idea to work out some new material on some cool guitars. The difference, of course, is that Scott is actually prepared when he comes in to record and I was kind of winging it with a bunch of new Alegria falsetas. At least now I know what I need to work on (all of it), and I’ll post a better version of this piece in a little bit when I get it worked out.
Now you can study with Tomatito (something I would have killed to do when I lived in Spain) – you can take a four day intensive course with him in his native Almeria this August 15th through the 18th. I have no idea how the course will be organized, but I imagine even just watching him play for a few days would be worth the price of admission. I can definitely think of worse ways to spend your Summer. You can get more info here.
Our congratulations go out to luthier Vicente Carrillo, who has been awarded Spain’s 2010 Premio Nacional de Artesanía (National Prize for Craftsmanship). In addition to making guitars under his own name, Vicente made the Paco De Lucia line of guitars and now makes the Tomatito line of flamenco guitars. Here’s a piece from Spanish TV about him.
Camaron de la Isla was to Cante (flamenco singing) what Paco De Lucia is to flamenco guitar – and Paco and Camaron recorded many albums together. When Paco started touring on his own and with his group, Camaron did his live shows with Tomatito – just the two of them on stage creating some of the most electric moments of flamenco imaginable. You can hardly talk about Cante without talking about Camaron. Here he is with Tomatito singing Bulerias, the Palo (form) that he was best known for.