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
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.