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The new star of flamenco fusion

José Fernandez first was born to an Andalusian gypsy family where everyone was a musician. From his grandfather, a well-known Flamenco singer & poet, he inherited a fiery gypsy temperament and a keenly developed artistic sense.

At the age of 4, Jose took part in gypsy ceremonies as a phenomenal child singer - a local newspaper even dubbed him "the Mozart of Flamenco." Sometimes he played the drums, seated on his uncle's lap.

Musician in his soul and avid of music, Jose showed interest in anything that could make a sound. He did not limit himself to one instrument: in addition to the drums, he mastered the guitar, the piano, the bass under various forms (guitar bass, double-bass, baby bass…) and then the percussion (timbales, congas, bongos, darbouka…)

Through his various travels and interaction with new cultures, Jose experimented with more exotic instruments. He can be heard playing a Greek bouzouki, an Arabic lute, and even an Indian flute.

Born in the 70's, at the time of the first big wave of music fusion, José is a child of World Music. He dreams of mixing his flamenco heritage and his mastery of "Cante Jondo" (the authentic flamenco singing), with all other styles, from salsa to Middle-Eastern. It is not surprising to learn that Jose idealizes artists as different as Camaron de la Isla, Carlos Santana, Django Reinhardt, Stevie Wonder and Oum Koulsoum.

At the age of 12, Jose formed a music band with his brothers and cousins, under the supervision of his father. Of note, Jose's father is a great bass player who first introduced bass into flamenco in the 60's, a time when Flamenco's only instrument was the guitar.

It took just one concert, their first, in a gypsy wedding, for the group to be identified as one of the best in the area. It was a great accomplishment for the young Jose, in the hierarchic world of gypsy music, to be acknowledged as an accomplished singer as well as guitarist, all at once.

Hundreds of concerts and dozens of prizes and awards followed, including the prize of the Young Hope of Flamenco in the festival "Flamenco du Sud". Then, chance placed José on the same path as Michel Eléftériadés, a young producer and "aficionado" of flamenco. From the first, the chemistry was turned on: the two men knew that, by unifying their creativities and their musical backgrounds, they could go very far.

Michel Eleftériades went on a trek with José to Beirut, Amman & Egypt, in search of new inspirations and the best musicians. The fruit of their collaboration is an album titled "Camino Gitano." Its style is best described as "Mediterranean": it evokes the color of the sea around the Greek islands, the scent of blooms in the morning, the taste of spices in Maghreb and the warmth of the sun in Malaga.

Besides "Camino Gitano," and after the smashing success of José's concerts in duet with the living legend of tarab Wadih El Safi and the "all star" arabo-andalousian orchestra, José recorded an album with Wadih El Safi.

José Fernandez launched in the summer 2002 his new album "Makhlouta." "Makhlouta" is a Lebanese dish that mixes vegetables and beans. Jose's new album is a fusion of musical "ingredients" including Middle-Eastern, Flamenco, Brazilian, funk and swing.

 


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