El Javi
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El Javi

Denver, Colorado, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2006 | SELF

Denver, Colorado, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2006
Band Rock Latin




"El Javi - Headroom Session #13"

Progressive flamenco? Yes please! El Javi fuses traditional flamenco with progressive rock to bring you his self-titled work. Usually a duo of guitar and drums, this iteration includes bass, which adds depth and richness to the overall sound.
El Javi’s fusion works so well because it is equal parts flamenco and progressive rock, and these two genres are brilliant compliments for each other. Starting with the guitar technique, El Javi’s strumming and picking delivers the bright and sharp tonal quality you expect in the popular Spanish genre. His song structures, however, are modeled after the dynamic and wandering progressions we see in progressive rock. Fans of both genres truly have something to enjoy here.
Add in the combination of drum and bass, and this trio’s full sound is just as likely to be playing in a cantina near the playa as it is to be blasting at a grungy venue with that special kind of flat, but still good beer on tap. El Javi has events coming up in Denver at the time of this writing, but he is based out of Los Angeles and fully embracing the gypsy tour life. See him when and where you can! - Head Room Sessions

"People of South Denver"

Forced by his parents to play American football while growing up in Mexico City, musician El Javi (who goes by the single name) bailed on the sport when his family relocated elsewhere in the city and he could no longer play on the team. “I literally got into music because I was too lazy to do a sport,” he says, laughing. “When we moved, my parents said I needed to find something else. My middle school was offering guitar lessons and as soon as I put it on my lap, I just knew.”

The Flamenco-fusion guitarist, now based in Denver, instantly became a “metal head,” a development that did not initially endear him to his parents, both environmental engineers. “My mom was more supportive but it was a battle with my Dad, who was worried about what I was going to do as a career. My sister plays piano and it was my metal competing against her classical piano. I had a band and we were loud. My parents actually built an extra room to keep me away.”

After graduating from high school in 1998, El Javi attended music college in Mexico City. “I did three years but it was mostly jazz and not really speaking to me,” he says. He then moved to Los Angeles to attend the Musician’s Institute. “I realized I was just one of the bunch playing rock music but it was eye-opening training in showmanship and professionalism.”

Overwhelmed about what to do following graduation, he grew depressed. “I was just receiving money from my Dad and doing literally nothing,” he recalls. “But I fell in love and got married, and my Dad would not send money anymore. That’s when life got real and I started teaching guitar because [at least] I knew I never wanted to do anything not related to music. My parents taught me if you’re going to do something; go all the way.”

While teaching, he sold his equipment and used the cash to purchase an acoustic guitar. “It was a Flamenco guitar,” he says. “I only bought it because the sound was so beautiful but, a few months later, a friend and I started listening to the album Friday Night in San Francisco by Al di Meola, John McLaughlin and Paco de Lucia, who is a Flamenco artist. It changed my life. I started playing the new guitar and felt I could express myself and write my own music. I found a voice with Flamenco I didn’t have before.”

The instrument appeared to revive a kind of dormant blood-soul connection. “My great uncles are all very Spaniard and loved Flamenco, bull-fighting and wine,” he explains. “I remember being at my uncle’s house, listening to Flamenco and thinking—whoa! It was so intense and passionate but I didn’t really think anything of it at the time.”

While continuing to teach, write and play music, he found himself unexpectedly inspired by a student. “He was eight years old when I started teaching him and I had maybe 30 individual students at the time. At the beginning of each lesson, I always asked them what they wanted to learn and he was the first one that said: ‘I want to write my own music.’” El Javi likens the ensuing relationship to that of a martial arts master and disciple. “I was teaching him but also realizing who I was [as a musician]. I taught him until he was 16 and was like a big brother. I saved up the money from his lessons and used it to go to Spain. It was a symbolic thing where he was changing my life and I wanted to honor him on that trip.”

The trip to Spain enabled El Javi to experience Flamenco music’s roots. He enrolled in the Flamenco institute called Taller Flamenco in Seville where he studied guitar while immersing himself in the gypsy lifestyle. “I didn’t have a lot of money and was on the streets with my guitar, drinking beer, just like them. I met a homeless gypsy woman on a park bench drinking beer and crying. She told me her life story and I took her out to eat. She was so grateful that she introduced me to all the gypsies in the area who told me their stories. To them, I became ‘the Mexican.’”

"...a friend and I started listening to the album Friday Night in San Francisco by Al di Meola, John McLaughlin and Paco de Lucia, who is a Flamenco artist. It changed my life. I started playing the new guitar and felt I could express myself and write my own music. I found a voice with Flamenco I didn’t have before."

Those stories fired his imagination. “In Flamenco there’s something called ‘duende,’ which is like an elf, a muse. It comes from suffering and hardship, the gypsy experience of being cast out.” El Javi found he could relate, both as an artist living outside the mainstream and as a Mexican now living in the States. He returned to L.A. and funneled the feelings into the demo Memoirs of Sevilla. He also began performing and produced the album Gypsy Muse, gradually developing a show with a percussionist, bass player and Flamenco dancer. But he missed “rocking out,” and experimented with mixing rock and Flamenco, reflected in his next album, Self-Portrait, while performing throughout L.A. and beginning to travel.

Following a divorce, El Javi’s ex-wife relocated to Denver with their three-year-old daughter, Olivia, and he began visiting a lot. “I was sitting at my computer one morning and realized I wanted to create a new life,” he says. He booked a flight to Berlin. “I had no shows scheduled, no contacts, I just wanted to venture, gypsy-style,” he says (a period later captured in his next project, The Gypsy Journey).

Before embarking, he stopped in Denver to visit his daughter (and later New York), where a chance meeting during an impromptu performance at a bar resulted in a stranger in the audience handing him $500 toward his journey. “She loved my music and wanted me not to worry and just do it. That became a constant through my trip. I always received help and a place to stay or people buying me food. It helped me believe I could really do this.”

He later ended up staying six weeks just west of Berlin where he “took over the town,” he says. “I had shows weekly and everybody knew me.” On a layover on his way back, he performed in a famous venue in Amsterdam, bringing down the house with his version of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody," "a magical moment."

Back in L.A., after return stops and performances in New York and Denver, his belongings now in storage, and once more uncertain about the future, he decided to return to Mexico City to regroup. There he met Barcelona native Jordi Marin, his current drummer and collaborator. “I felt this instant connection, like this is my brother.” The pair performed in Mexico City and Cabo before returning to L.A., where El Javi realized he needed to relocate to Denver for Olivia, then about to start kindergarten. “I wanted to be there for her, so we moved here at the beginning of 2015.”

The duo now performs throughout the Denver-metro area, has been producing music videos for a new album and expanding its presence online and will likely begin touring again in the spring of 2018. “Denver is a much smaller city than the others I’ve lived in, but that means everything happens for you quicker here,” he says. “We’re doing very well and just got picked up by Coors Light’s marketing campaign to represent Latin music in Denver. It’s giving us a lot of visibility.”

El Javi considers himself a lifelong learner whose music reflects both his changing environments and ever-evolving understanding and sensibilities. “More and more, I’m tapping into the Latin grooves in me,” he says. “On the latest album (A Gypsy Journey Part II) I’m exploring the sounds of Colorado. There’s a song actually called “Colorado” that even has a little bluegrass. I don’t always want to sound the same. I know there are artists who—once they’ve found a formula and people like it—continue to do that. But it feels limiting to me. I always try to keep learning new techniques, listening to new music and then allowing my brain to just do what it has to do.” - Washington Park Profile

"El Javi gets the Led Out"

El Javi can be described as flamenco fusion, but that doesn’t come close to encapsulating the sounds from the duo that range from smooth and sultry to rocking intensity.

If you’re a Led Zeppelin fan, or a classic rock fan in general, you’ll be right at home as El Javi, which I’ll clarify here is the name of both the band and the frontman/guitarist, twists familiar songs into impressive fingerpicking masterpieces.

Babe I’m Gonna Leave You, a personal Zeppelin favourite of mine, swings from hitting the hard-rocking breakdown back into flamenco-esque solos with what looks like ease, but is impossibly quick technique, of which El Javi seemingly has a limitless supply.

They borrow from rock hits of old, but what El Javi creates with that original framework makes something entirely new. All done in the aura of minimalism with percussionist Jordi Marin using only a snare drum, two cymbals, a couple sticks and brushes while sitting on a cajon.

Clearly all the drum kit he needed as with a subtle tap or stroke of a brush he created an impressive range of sound from such a small kit, and even takes on Zeppelin drummer John Bonham’s famed Moby Dick solo.

It was the perfect meeting of venue and artist at the Dream Café, as the two fit together like puzzle pieces to create that signature Dream atmosphere. The crowd was delighted and joined along as El Javi explored his no-lyric, all-guitar version of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.

A truly technical achievement with both the lyrics and rhythm of the classic track being replicated with only strings.

I’ve never seen the crowd at the Dream Café more enthused and they basically forced an encore out of the duo. A signature rendition of Zeppelin’s Kashmir rounded off the night perfectly. - Penticton Western News

"El Javi takes time in the Okanagan"

A friendship that blossomed in Mexico has brought El Javi to the Okanagan, and Canada, for the first time.

The flamenco fusion duo decided to not only bring their sounds to the Okanagan, but record an album as well. The trip came about after a friendship was struck between the band and former Vancouver studio runner Dave Thomas, who now lives in Summerland.

The two-piece is made up of percussionist Jordi Marin and El Javi, who goes by the mononym.

“Kind of like Cher, just one name,” he laughed.

Thomas has been going to San José del Cabo, Mexico since the early ‘90s and when he saw El Javi playing in a restaurant, he knew he needed to share the sound with his friends back in Canada. It also turned out they were neighbours.

“I was blown away because these guys are good, world-class players, as good as the people who would come to my studio, so I was like wow, we should get them up to Canada,” Thomas said.

“We developed a friendship,” El Javi said “and we were neighbours,” Marin laughed.

“We hit it off and I said I want to hang out with these guys more, how can I make that happen, let’s bring them up here,” Thomas said.

Thomas ran a recording studio in Vancouver throughout the ‘70s, he now operates out of a home studio in Summerland, where El Javi and Marin will be staying throughout their 14-date Okanagan tour, and where they will record their second in a three-part series of EPs.

El Javi was born in Mexico City, while Marin hails from Spain. El Javi had a trio project in Los Angeles and while touring the world he returned to his homeland of Mexico City where Marin was living at the time and the two hit it off.

“It was hard to find the right people to commit completely to the project,” El Javi said.

They have been playing together for the past two years and put out the first in their three-part series, Trip, in 2014. While Trip was just the duo, the album El Javi is set to make during their time in the Okanagan is opening up to a full band, treading away from the more progressive rock flamenco fusion of Trip, and a more approachable sound according to El Javi.

“The instrumentation adds a lot, but also we are making it more accessible to audiences. We’re kind of calling it the most pop of the three, it’s kind of more danceable with Latin rhythms,” El Javi said.

El Javi takes the fast-fingered and technically impressive flamenco guitar style and bleeds it through different genres from Latin and bluegrass to one song El Javi says is almost like R&B.

“We don’t play like traditional flamenco, it’s different, we’re making fusion, so it’s mixed with rock with blues,” Marin said.

“Obviously you have to stay true to certain expressions and certain phrases to make it sound flamenco, then mix in chord progressions that are used in other styles, so you can express with the flamenco flair but also experiment with other music styles,” El Javi said.

The Okanagan itself will make an impression on the sound, as neither of the two had been to Canada before.

“We love it,” Marin said two days after touching down on Canadian soil. “The nature obviously is magnificent here with the landscapes, it’s just relaxing which is nice,” El Javi said. “Every place is different and even the inspiration will help to, just to be here will shape some of the sounds.”

The duo feels taking in the pace of the southern B.C. summertime, and the fact that they have the studio to themselves for the most part, will make the album unique.

“The environment of the place you are recording, it’s a big thing, so it’s good we can stay here, we have time,” Marin said.

All of the live shows on the tour are being recorded as well, and may appear as bonus tracks or live versions of the songs on the latest album.

The tour includes stops at the Shatford Centre on June 27, Therapy Vineyards in Naramata on June 24, the Canada Day celebration in Summerland on July 1, the Dream Café on July 3, the Dirty Laundry Vineyard in Summerland on July 4 and 5, back to Therapy Vineyards on July 18. - Penticton Western News


Gypsy Muse - 2006
Flamenco Sketches -2009
Self Portrait - 2012
A Gypsy Journey Pt.1:Trip - 2015
A Gypsy Journey Pt.2:El Refugio - 2017



El Javi, out of Mexico City, joins the spirit of flamenco with the heart of rock producing the unparalleled experience of Rock Flamenco.  Through his distinct sound, he paints an auditory portrait composed of strength and intimacy, reflecting his experiential existence as both human and artist. Collaborations color his compositions as he endlessly evolves his music, warranting his title. The King of Rock Flamenco.

Highlights of his career include Festival of the Arts in Coahuila Mexico, The Jazz and Blues festival in Santa Clarita, CA , the Denver International Festival, The International Music Festival in San Jose del Cabo, Mex, the Salmon Arm Festival in British Columbia, Canada. and opened for today’s biggest voice of flamenco, Diego el Cigala, during his Noche Tacumana world tour in San Miguel de Allende, Mex.

Currently, EL Javi tours North America with his powerful live performances as he promotes the 2nd part of the Gypsy Journey trilogy “El Refugio.”

Band Members