Juan Carmona
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Juan Carmona

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"La tradition eclairee du flamenco"

Juan Carmona fait partie des guitaristes virtuoses qui ont confirme leur place dans le monde du flamenco, en alternant la precision dans la tradition et des aventures audacieuses dans l ouverture musicale. Son parcours est jalonne de récompenses qui sont autant de temoignages de son immense talent – diplome des mains de Manolo Sanlucar de la "Fondation Flamenca de Jerez", premier prix du concours Paco de Lucia de Madrid – et sa carriere s’appuie sur une discographie riche de 12 albums qui l ont vu cotoyer les plus grandes figures du flamenco – Agujetas, Duquende, Moraíto Chico – et experimenter des rencontres avec d’autres styles, comme la musique marocaine (Orillas) et plus recemment la musique classique (Sinfonía flamenca). La renommee de ce Gitan français – Juan Carmona est ne à Lyon en 1963 – s etend un peu partout dans le monde : nomine en 2003 au "Latin Grammy Award" pour le meilleur album flamenco, il effectue depuis 2007 une tournee qui l’a transporte de Memphis à Alger, de la Macedoine à Vienne et, pour notre plus grand bonheur, lui a fait poser ses bagages aux Lilas les 7 et 8 fevrier, pour deux representations dans le cadre des "Nuits Flamencas" du Triton.
Charles Geoffroy - FLAMENCOWEB - 13/02/2008


"Flamenco 2006 off to a rousing, dynamic start"

Published January 30, 2006
With an overflow audience jamming the house and some of the world's finest folkloric musicians crowding the stage, Flamenco 2006--Chicago's annual celebration of Spanish culture--got off to an enthralling start Wednesday night.
If the rest of the monthlong festival proves as musically dynamic and intellectually probing as the opener, there will be
provocative listening ahead.
Though every performer offered music worth savoring, the most anticipated attraction--and the most rewarding--was
guitarist Juan Carmona, leading a remarkably well-honed ensemble.
Some listeners will remember Carmona from a Chicago appearance several years ago as an accompanist for a vocalist
from Marseilles, France. This time, Carmona stepped into the spotlight, proving himself as much virtuoso as showman,
a bona fide headliner in his own right.
Unlike the prototypical flamenco star, Carmona holds allegiance to the cultures of two nations--France, where he was
born, and Spain, where he has studied intensively (and where he has accrued several musical awards). But because
flamenco music itself has long since transcended borders, it accommodates multiple influences, as Carmona's set
proved.
He opened his performance playing a ravishing, extended solo in a single work drawing upon a vast vocabulary of
flamenco techniques. Heroic rhythms, lyrical song forms, pulsing dance beats, brilliant finger technique--these
elements and others reminded listeners of the syntax of flamenco, albeit expressed at an exalted technical level.
Before Carmona had finished the soliloquy, however, three members of his septet took to the stage, clapping hands in
the distinctly syncopated manner that gives flamenco its fervor and fire. The rhythmic detail that Carmona and his
accompanists articulated was remarkable to behold, beats layered upon beats, meters subdivided into extraordinarily
slender fractions.
By the time the entire septet was playing, the music--and its cultural references--expanded dramatically. The essentials
of flamenco music were plain to hear in the rhythmic patterns the percussionists offered and in the chanting phrases of
the band's tenor.
But the give and take among the musicians, as well as the alternation between composed ensemble passages and freely
improvised solos, inevitably evoked comparisons to the art of jazz. Considering France's long-time affinity for an
American art form, as well as Carmona's French heritage, the jazz influence perhaps should not have come as a
surprise.
Then, too, the performance brought forth the sound of gypsy music, which has roots in both flamenco and early
European jazz. You could hear as much in the plaintive lines of Carmona's violinist, in the constant changes from major
to minor keys, and, above all, in the freewheeling spirit of the often wordless vocals.
hreich@tribune.com Copyright © 2006,
By Howard Reich - Chicago Tribune - Tribune arts critic


"GlobalFEST 2006"

The third annual GlobalFest, held at the Public Theater in New York during the weekend of January 21 and 22, provided a nonstop series of world music revelations. With 13 artists—from locales as far-flung as Senegal, Russia and Brooklyn—performing in three different interconnected venues, aficionados and newbies alike could sample from the international menu or, when intrigued enough by a particular artist, stay for the full course. Each artist performed a 45-minute set, with starting times staggered 20 minutes apart to allow for roomhopping. The same lineup performed both nights. Among the highlights were Frank London’s Klezmer Brass All Stars, who take the Jewish-originated party music to the next level by infusing the form with a funky downtown Manhattan sensibility. The basic klezmer group was augmented by Kol Isha, a troupe of Hasidic women vocalists, and Maracatú New York, a percussion ensemble that took its cues from Brazilian Carnivale drummes. Frenchman Juan Carmona, a virtuosic flamenco guitarist, started off solo, a fireball on his instrument, before bringing on his band, which expounded on the themes Carmona introduced on his own. A lone male dancer tapped rhythms and provided the link to the more traditional flamenco components. Other artists at GlobalFest included Brazilian DJ Dolores; the popular Louisiana Cajun band Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys; and three acts with a French twist to them: the folky Keren Ann; te Cuban-influenced Las Ondas Marteles (who trimmed down to a duo due to a MIA guitarist); and Roxane Butterfly’s Worldbeats, who seamlessly combined spoken word, dance and flamenco.
- GlobalFEST - Public Theater - New York


"Juan Carmona, le renouveau du Flamenco"

"Le flamenco n'est pas fait pour plaire" mais pour blesser, pour faire mal, dit Bernard Leblond qui se lanse d'entrée dans un survol de l'histoire d'un genre "né dans la rencontre entre un istrument occidental et une musique orientale". Le Guitariste Juan Carmona "un touche à tout", précise de ses musiciens tente à sa manière d'autres métisages. Lui qui est né dans Lyon dans une famille andalouse passé par l'alégrie s'est essayé aux musiques de film et au dialogue avec le jazz. Puis il a composé la Sinfonia Flamenca qui est au coeur de ce protrait.

Plus encore que les séquences tournées dans la banlieue de port de bouc ou chante son oncle, ou lors d'une fête familiale pour la guérison d'une petite fille ce sont les séances de travail avec les musiciens venus d'autres univers qui sont parlantes. Ainsi les master classés que Juan Carmona donne au conservatoire de l'Opéra de Toulon. Ainsi des répétitions avec l'orchestre régional de Basse-Normandie et le chef d'orchestre de l'opéra du Caire qui participent à sa Sinfonia Flamenca illuminée par la présence du jeune danseur espagnol Juan de Juan.

Eliane Azoulay - Telerama - 5 au 11 fevrier 2005


Discography

Sinfonia Flamenca*(extracts : www.juancarmona.com/'discography')
”A work where the guitar reigns supreme in the shock encounter between the two very different worlds of classical music and the purest andalusian tradition, and the blend of composed and improvised music.”
"In collaboration with the Bulgarian Symphony Orchestra, Diego Carrasco, Pepe Luis Carmona, Macanita, Esperanza Fernandez, Guadiana, Diego Amador, Joaquim Grilo"

(Le Chant du Monde / harmonia mundi) 2006
Nomination - Latin Grammy Awards 2006
Best Flamenco Album

Orillas*(extracts : www.juancarmona.com/'discography')
"Orillas pays tribute to Marocco and Andalusia at the time when these two regions were one and the same kingdom".
In collaboration with Montse Cortes, Potito, Carles Benavent, Jorge Pardo, Saïd Chraïbi, Antonio Canales, Montse Cortes"

(Le Chant du Monde / harmonia mundi) 2002
Nomination - Latin Grammy Awards 2003
Best Flamenco Album

Caminos Nuevos*(extracts : www.juancarmona.com/'discography')
In collaboration with Duquende, Isidro Munoz, Tino di Geraldo **** Le Monde de la Musique

Cosa de Dos - (extracts : www.juancarmona.com/'discography')
Giraldillo – Juan Carmona
(L’empreinte digitale / Nocturne) 1999

Antes - (extracts : www.juancarmona.com/'discography')
(Nomades Kultur / Nomades Kultur) 1998
Adwards : Le Choc de la Musique – le Monde de la Musique

Entre Dos Barrios - (extracts : www.juancarmona.com/'discography')
José Mendez – Juan Carmona
In collaboration with José Mendez, cantaor Jerezano. Guest : Moraito Chico, Jose Luis Rodriguez, Maria Vargas, Mibe Vargas, José Pena, Luis Santiago, Rubem Dantas, « El Gordo de Jerez”
(L’empreinte digitale / Harmonia Mundi) 1997
**** Jazz Man
Best Album of the year – Monde de la Musique

Tribute to Marcel Dadi - Virgin France
(extracts : www.juancarmona.com/'discography')

Falla Lorca - (extracts : www.juancarmona.com/'discography')
Françoise Atlan – Juan Carmona
(L’empreinte digitale / Nocturne) 1997
Best Album of the Year –Monde de la Musique

Borboreo (extracts : www.juancarmona.com/'discography')
First solo album of Juan Carmona
(Le Chant du Monde / harmonia mundi) 1996
Choc du Monde de la Musique
Award of the Best Album – CD Guide (1997)

Photos

Bio

His name is Carmona, like his distant cousins of the Habichuelas dynasty of Granada, all guitarists. In 1963, one year after the exile, he was born in Lyons, France.

Juan Carmona was barely 10 when his father gave him his first guitar. His virtuosity became quickly apparent to professional musicians and it was only a matter of time before he began gathering international acclaim

Juan Carmona soon felt the urge to return to the land of his ancestors, to go back to his roots and to imbibe again at the family spring – Jerez de la Frontera in Andalusia – with a personal challenge : to revive recognition of the originality of his art in the town considered as the cradle of flamenco. And the wager was won. For more than eight years he rubbed elbows with and accompanied the greatest names in flamenco, all the while immersing himself in their talents : the singers Agujetas, Duquende, Terremoto Hijo, Capuyo de Jerez, Rubichi, Antonio y Manuel Malenas, Jesus Monje (Camaron de la Isla brother), Jose Mendez… ; the dancers Joaquin Grilo, Maria del Mar Moreno, Ana Parilla, Angelita y Joselito Vargas, Joselito Fernandez. Juan Carmona also recorded with Chano Dominguez, Rubem Dantas, Manolito Soler, Tino di Geraldo, …

In 1988, he awarded first prize in the Jerez de la Frontera International Competition, and was one of the finalists in the Union and Cordoba Guitar Competition. In 1989, he obtained a diploma from the Jerez Flamenco Foundation, awarded by the guitarist Manolo Sanlucar. In 1990, he won the Villa Médicis Hors Les Murs award, the Don Antonio Chacon trophy awarded by his “peña flamenca”, and in 1992 the Lavoisier award. In 1994, he finally achieved the ultimate laureate : First prize in the Madrid de Paco de Lucia Competition.

Besides his many concert achievements, awards and relationships in the guitar world, this French-born gipsy added an hard further distinction permanent triumph in Spain, particularly in Andalusia where he created upheaval in the world of flamenco. His stay in Spain gave birth to his recording “Borboreo” in tribute to the city of Jerez, under the artistic direction of Isidro Muñoz.

Since his return to France in 1996, Juan Carmona knew an endless series of recordings and concert engagements. After having worked with a fabulous stream of musicians representing a wide range of musical genres : Mino Cinelu, Birili Lagren, Larry Corriel, Babik Rheinhart, Philip Catherin, Christian Escoudé, Raphael Fays … to name just a few in the area of jazz ; Subramanian in Indian music ; the singer Matlubeth (Uzbekistan) ; and having participated in numerous film scores, (La belle Histoire, Cuisines et Dépendances, Sables Mouvants), Juan Carmona set up his own group : the Juan Carmona Grupo, staging shows throughout France and abroad, forging himself an international musical career : USA, Germany, Italy, England, Morocco, Russia, Holland, Hungary… in addition to performances in major music festivals such as the Montreal Jazz Festival (07) and the Festival Jazz à Vienne (07).

A program was devoted to him on the Franco-German channel Arte in October 1998, presented by the maestro Lord Yehudi Menuhin, who considered Juan Carmona to be an outstanding guitarist.

After the sucesssfull release of his previous albums “Caminos Nuevos” (2000) and "Orillas" (2003 - nominated at the Latin Grammy Awards, category best flamenco album), Juan CARMONA has released in february 2006 his new album "Sinfonia Flamenca" (harmonia mundi/Le Chant du Monde) performed by the Juan Carmona Grupo and worldwide orchestras such as the Russian Philarmony, the National Orchestra of Lyons, the Tunis Orchestra, the Brandenburg Philharmonic Orchestra, the Danubian Symphony Orchestra, the Marseille Opera Symphony Orchestra..., also nominated for the latin grammy awards 2006

Juan Carmona has undeniably proven to be one of the most creative guitarists of the new flamenco generation. This performer has a surprising, moving quality. Somewhere between profound awareness of musical genres, traditional styles and a devastating modernity, Juan Carmona stands as an innovator.