Teye & Belen
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Teye & Belen


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The best kept secret in music


"Texas Platters"


Teye & Belén
FlamencObsesionArte (CoraZong)

It's one thing to master an art, but it's another to do so in a foreign land. And it's still another to successfully relocate your hard-earned skills to a third culture. So goes the story of strummer extraordinaire Teye (pronounced like "hi ya"). Teye was raised in the Netherlands, but flamenco pulled him to Spain, where he learned guitarra flamenca from resident masters. He and Belén, his lovely Spanish dancer wife, now lead an Austin-based flamenco ensemble that tours all over the world. Teye & Co.'s passion is obvious, from FlamencObsesionArte's artistically rendered, poetry-filled liner notes, to their "Best Music Video/ DVD" 2004 Austin Music Awards nod for "Sol del Caribe" (audio and video versions are included here). Like 1999's Viva el Flamenco , its excellent predecessor, FlamencObsesionArte is full of understated expertise and deep emotion. Most of the nine cuts feature the full band, but Teye's God-given fretboard talents are on full display in the solo works "El Deseo" and "Punta y Tacón." Adding greater dimension are cameos by Atash's vocalist Mohammad Firoozi and violinist Erik Hokkanen, whose solo sets the title track ablaze. The only shortcoming of FlamencObsesionArte is it's not quite as magical as experiencing Teye live. Still, you'd have to be in Iberia to do better. Olé!

- Austin Chronicle


“...God-given fretboard talents... Teye: Austin’s Paco de Lucia” (Austin Chronicle, Austin, Texas)

“...the splendid flamenco guitar of Teye...” (Chicago Tribune)

“Flamenco guitarist Teye, whose work .... is nothing short of marvelous.” (San Antonio Express)

“Teye and Belén have made an incredible album. This is truly one to sit down and listen to” (Mariana Molina, Radio Ole, Sevilla, Spain)

“Teye’s elegant, nylon-string phrasing ... energetic flamenco flourishes...” (The Washington Post)

“...the most wonderfully stirring trills and crisp arpeggios, plucked with fiery precision on a nylonstringed acoustic guitar.” (David Sinclair, The Times)

“...Simply marvel at the technical prowess of a great flamenco guitarist. His name is Teye ... astounding guitar playing...” (Album Network)

“... the high-octane flamenco guitar player Teye.” (Ken Schlager, Billboard online.)

“Teye is first guitar-man extraordinaire.(...) Eyes rolled back in an emotional display of romanticism, he is a string prodigy of the flamenco guitar.” (Kat Jazz revieuw online)

“Teye: a unique and extraordinary talent ... He is innovative ... an exquisite flamenco guitarist.” (John Aielli, KUT NPR, Austin, Texas)

“His singular tone and facility on the flamenco guitar have been a source of inspiration to my own playing.” (Steve Fishell, Sr. Director of A&R for Rising Tide Records, Nashville, Tennessee)

“...to hear Teye perform live: what an amazing experience!” (Rebecca Stuart, Classical Editor, dallasmusic.com)

“The machine-gun rapidity, carefully if passionately modulated dynamics, and the playful and dramatic melodic innuendo of a flamenco master,” (Jim Foley, Album Review)

“This (album) is capable of sweeping away even those who never had anything to do with flamenco. Nine pieces: almost 53 minutes of pure passion.” (Sab, Darmstadter Echo, Germany)

“Teye and Belén have created a complex and fascinating album.” (Alt-Country, The Netherlands)

“A true flamenco album with vanguardistic touches. Created by a musician who feels the roots of flamenco. Notable.” (Rafaél Cuevas, CompaSur, Sevilla, Spain)

“A ‘nice and rough’ CD. Teye sounds sincere as a Frisian (=Dutch Viking), and experienced like an exiled Moor” (Jonas Publications, The Netherlands)

“(...with ”FlamencObsesionArte”,) Teye and Belén made a more than positive impression on the World Flamenco Fair. Remarkable, since although Belén was born and raised in Sevilla, Teye is Frisian (=Dutch Viking).” (RTM Heartselling, The Netherlands)

“Don’t miss out on this one.” (Diego Ruíz, Alma100, Madrid, Spain) - various

"Flamenco by a Viking"

Teye, the Dutch guitar player from Frisia, previously was featured prominently in the music of Texas veteran Joe Ely. Teye imbued Elyís Americana with a strong Spanish-Mexican atmosphere. The tall Frisian with the Spanish hat gained his biggest fame in his work with Ely. Hopefully Teye will be able to profit from this connection in his greatest passion: flamenco. He bears witness to this passion once more on the predominantly instrumental album "FlamencObsesionArte," on which his virtuosity takes center stage from the first note until the last. On this, his third album, Teye is no purist, letting his life and interests reflect in compositions and style. And be it that his heart resides in Andalusia where he studied with famous flamenco guitarists, he now lives with his Spanish wife, flamenco dancer BelÈn, in an Airstream in Austin, Texas. His next project should to be a DVD, featuring the dance group he inspires.
- A review from Noord Hollands Dagblad (Netherlands, 2004) 

"TEYE & BELÉN Wow the crowd!"

Review of their set at TOAD – Cambridge MA
Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - 8:30 pm

by Mari Katsigianis

Staring out with a fine guitar solo, Teye impressed the locals at one of the
Boston area’s best neighborhood bars. He quickly transitioned into a not-so-
traditional bulerías with his lovely wife, Belén, at the cajons, picking up the
pace and setting the tone for the night.

In fact, When Dutch flamenco guitarist Teye first met his future artistic
partner and wife Belén in her native Sevilla, so mesmerized was he by her fiery
spirit that he didn’t even notice she was beautiful—or so he declares. Over a
decade later, evenings with Teye & Belén begin with Teye teasing out exotic,
tantalizing tones on his guitar, catalyzing the night’s mood with his opening
strum. Belén sits on the cajón (wooden box drum) sparingly tapping rhythms to
accent the guitar’s melody, smoldering in her relative repose. Then she rises,
flawlessly executing staccato footwork and spinning patterns, with dramatic
poses punctuating her sinuous turns. Blazing incandescent with intensity and
beauty, she sings, drawing you into the world of Teye & Belén.

That tone was “watch out – you don’t know where these artistes are going but
the ride will be wild!”

The next surprise was the cante jondo offering which Belen belted out in true
Sevilliano style, a favorite of mine called “Triana-Triana”, which really
transported aficionados to that famous neighborhood, one of the breeding
grounds for flamenco. But then, she got up to dance.

Watch out, indeed. Belén’s fiery personality emanated from her arms, feet,
flashing eyes, and she captivated the audience, who were completely spellbound
by the majesty and power of this dancer/singer/percussionist. I might also add
that Belén is the first dancer and Teye the first guitarist to perform flamenco
underwater – yes, I am not joking. You will have to go to their website to see
a videoclip – but the download I am told is well worth the wait.

Teye began his flamenco career almost 20 years ago almost to the day in
Cambridge, MA, so for him this was a sweet homecoming. One of the songs he
wrote all those years back was a piece dedicated to peace. World Peace. A
concept, he hoped, would catch on with the next generation at least.

Belén returned to the dancer’s spotlight to amaze the crowd a second time, and
after a gypsy rhumba solo by Teye, did it a THIRD time, singing Bulerías de
Jerez in the ‘moda authentica’ and shaking the walls with a resonating taconeo
and that dirty Jerezano dance style that only someone who has lived and
breathed the the vida flamenca can do.

I had come in early to the club and saw them set up. Belén was tired, and the
journey from NYC to Boston only minutes old, when she transformed herself into
a diva of duende. You would never connect the pre-show woman with the one on
stage…THAT was how extreme the transformation was! And this was her 8th
performance in a row, on the road. Her proud husband called her back onstage to
bask in the hooting, stomping, and general mayhem of the audience’s cheers.

They’ll be at Johnny D’s on Friday night and folks… take that opportunity to
catch them there – because this sensation is well worth it! Their gig is set
for Friday / Oct 21, 2005, 9:00 pm at Johnny D's, Davis Square, Somerville.
Please note that they're only doing ONE set in the beginning of the evening -
so get there early!!!

Teye is undoubtedly a virtuoso guitarist, and the denizens of Austin’s many
clubs should count themselves quite fortunate to have Teye & Belén based there.

Currently, they are on the road across the country and back to perform in all
manner of venues. I suggest that you go immediately to Teye and Belén’s
website, check out when they’ll be in your town, and GO SEE THEM! Also get your
copy of their latest cd FlamencObsesionArte – because it has all the great cuts
on it that they performed last night.

Mari Katsigianis
- flamencobuzz.com

"Teye and Belen conquer New England."

By Ed Young

It was the twentieth anniversary, almost to the day, of Teye's first trip to Boston and Cambridge as a young flamenco guitarist with the world at his feet; another trip came ten years later. "The world was younger then," he said, his voice trailing off wistfully. We were sitting at a cafe on Newbury street, the late fall gloman presaging harsher times, bostonians bustling about in one brave last attempt to shrug off the obvious. "We are looking forward to returning in March," he said, with the calm confidence of someone who has not experienced Boston in March. His cell phone rang, it was the dancer who inspired him to travel to America. she was going to be at tonight's show in Somerville. Somehow, with the sun painting the turrets of the mother church in a rich chiaroscuro, things had come full circle.

To hear Teye talk, to get inside his head a little bit, to talk of the german philosophers, the political economy and the world outside of flamenco, is to discover someone who has drunk deeply from the well of life. To hear him play guitar, with Belen, the ideal song, dance and percussion partner at his side, is to marvel at how, sometimes, the planets really do line up. To experience the E.S.P. they have, the chemistry, is something that transcends flamenco and is something any music or dance lover can can relate to and enjoy.

So it was the last night of the New England leg of their fall tour, summoning the muse at Johnny D's in Somerville, a venerated haunt getting a rare jolt of flamenco. And Johnny D's was filled with aficionados, including Roberto Rios, guitarist with El Arte Flamenco, Jessica Sollee, publisher of FlamencoUSA, and Mari Katsigianis, doyenne of Flamencobuzz. Also seen lurking around the fringe of the audience were local guitarists Tom Haggerty ("this is my second night, very impressed,") and Paul Murray ("if there is a way for Teye to get more out of his instrument i have not yet discerned it").

Senorita Sollee was lured to the stage for a few coplas of Sevillanas, a serene nightcap to an evening filled with emotional range and depth, soaring melodic concepts, furious, churning rhythms, and singing that came from the heart. While Teye preferred the intimacy of "Toad" in Cambridge, the audience was really responsive, and the post-show found many paying homage.

I am sure that there must be other married flamenco artists who sing, dance, play percussion and guitar on an advanced level (this was the first show I've seen where two people did everything) and it would have been nice if someone could have played cajon when Belen danced. Surely there must be someone qualified in the area who could have sat in. that also might have allowed audience members to be able to join belen on stage for a rumba, which anyone can do something to, as opposed to sevillanas, which it helps to know.

Minor quibbles in another night filled with stirring rasguedos and melodic sequences filled with invention that held the audience rapt, the Triana tangos, and material from their new CD, "FlamencoObsesionArte." (that's the CD with the video of underwater flamenco on it, an almost hallucinatory visual.)
Ideas gush out of Teye, and his music rewards concentration while listening.
Another note: Teye and Belen are audio perfectionists, and the sound was accurate and adequate at every show. their well-designed traveling stage is the best miked I have ever heard.

A lot of us orbiting planetflamenco will be talking about these shows until the next time Teye and Belen favor us with their presence. march is "only" a winter away, and nothing will help more with the thaw than a blast of their hot desert "aire."

"Gracia," Teye and Belen, and "gracias" as well. Hurry back--we miss you already. "Having Teye and Belen in town," noted guitarist Rios, "really brings the quality level up quite a bit. I have been hearing about him for some time, and his show tonight was a revelation.
Belen was great too. I sense the community being energized by their presence, and of others coming to town (Antonio Vargas next week) making for exciting times for us. I am very much looking forward to Teye and Belen's return!"

Ed Young
- planetflamenco.com

"This unlikely pair have a flair for flamenco"

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Rock 'n' roll and flamenco are unlikely bedfellows. But Dutch guitarist Teye abandoned a career in rock for the mysterious sounds of Spain.

"In rock 'n' roll, the sexuality is very out front," Teye said with a laugh. "But in flamenco, you can look, but you can't touch."

As a teen, Teye was hypnotized by Keith Richards' narcotic riffs. He traveled to England with visions of the Beatles and the Stones dancing in his head. The young Dutchman never bumped into John Lennon. But Teye did meet a fetching Spanish woman, who beckoned him to her homeland.

Teye was bedazzled by the gypsy heartland of Andalusia, where he sought out the flamenco guitar greats.

"These guys could play really well, but they were horrible teachers," Teye said. "I can't really say I studied with them. But I learned from them. It didn't hurt that I had a nice guitar."

Teye moved to Austin, Texas, in 1992. He soon became lead guitarist for Austin-based roots-rocker Joe Ely. Teye recorded and toured with Ely for the next seven years. He is featured on several Ely records, including "Live at Antone's" and "Letter to Laredo." During this time, the Dutchman jammed with Bruce Springsteen and Dwight Yoakam.

Teye met the dancer Belen around this time on a trip to Sevilla, Spain. Belen had studied at a classical music conservatory but was beguiled by flamenco dance. As a teenager, she was also seduced by the nefarious din of hard rock. This led to an interest in percussion.

Although Teye relished the Ely gig, he wanted to focus on authentic Spanish music. Teye married Belen, and they soon began performing as a flamenco duo. A few years later, Teye left Ely's band to concentrate on his collaboration with Belen. The duo cut three records for the Dutch label CoraZong. Their latest effort, "FlamencObsesionArte," should be released soon in the United States.

The duo have appeared at several major international festivals, including the Uit-Festival in Amsterdam, Festival Mexico del Centro Histrico, Festivalissimo in Montreal and Womex/Feria Mundial del Flamenco in Sevilla. Their performances are capricious. A song can last five minutes one night and 20 minutes the next.

"Both rock 'n' roll and flamenco are very high-energy," Teye said. "In rock, you're standing up and you flow with the music. But in flamenco, you have to sit still. This makes the music even more intense."

- The Huntsville Times

"Teye & Belén bring Flamenco to the Newport Blues Café"

By Jim Wright

NEWPORT - If you're like me, the thought of hopping an overnight flight to Madrid and then catching the AVE railway South to Cordoba and Sevilla sounds rather inviting right about now. After all, it's been raining profusely for five days, and I'm sure your boss could spare you for a week or so. On second thought, it is more than likely that a mid-week getaway to Southern Spain would prove both time and cost prohibitive for most of us. As luck would have it, you can leave your passport in the drawer and head down to Newport Blues Café this Thursday evening. Southern Spain has come to us in the form and shape of authentic Flamenco performers, Teye and Belén.

Teye and Belén are emissaries of sorts, bringing the Flamenco style to audiences from Istanbul to Mexico City and everywhere in between. The spirit and energy of the Spanish gypsies rush through their pulse raising performances. The ardent strums on Teye's guitar peppered with stirring utterances and melodies, Belén countering with artful dance and fervent rhythms. Theirs is a performance you cannot simply watch. Instead you will be overtaken by the beauty, strength and unbridled passion of this breathtaking art form.

Teye was born in the Netherlands and Belén in Sevilla, Spain. The two did not meet until adulthood, although their musical journeys are quite similar. Both were impassioned by music at a young age and studied until achieving distinction as solo performers. Each of them were courted by various musical styles from classical to rock before their shared love for the Flamenco style overpowered all other genres.

Teye and Belén now bring their performance to the masses from intimate tablaos to major international festivals, including the Uit-Festival in Amsterdam, Festival México del Centro Histórico, Festivalissimo in Montreal, the Spanish Festival in Özgür Park Üsküdar in Istanbul, and WOMEX/Feria Mundial del Flamenco in Sevilla. Teye took a few moments to speak with NTW and share some thoughts.

NTW: For those who are unfamiliar with your music, what should people expect this Thursday at Newport Blues Café?

T: It's an authentic Flamenco show with guitar, percussion, dance and vocals. We play in the style that the gypsies of Spain play today, and we travel to Spain for a month once every year to make sure of that. This is not commercial or "Flamenco-light" (laughs). If there was a gypsy from Cordoba in the audience on Thursday, they would feel right at home and most likely come on stage and jam with us!

NTW: What other artists have influenced you musically?

T: I am a big fan of Paco de Lucia. His tone and the beauty of his playing are a source of inspiration for me. Vicente Amigo is also a wonderful talent. I met him when he was 15 years old, and even at that age he was considered to be the new voice of Flamenco.

NTW: What aspects does your partner, Belén, bring to your show?

T: Belén sings, performs authentic dance, and adds percussion from many sources. She plays the Cajon, which is a wooden box that you sit on and it produces all the sounds of a modern drum set. Of course, she also uses castanets and hand claps.

NTW: What is coming up for Teye and Belén?

T: We are on a U.S. tour currently. Our newest CD, "FlamencoObsesionArte" is being sold in Europe and will be released in the U.S. in February. The music from the CD was featured at the Radio Olé convention in Spain, and we were very excited and pleased with the reactions we received. - EastBay RI


"El Gitano Punky" (Voy Solito / CoraZong)
"Viva el Flamenco" (Voy Solito / CoraZong)
"FlamencObsesionArte" (CoraZong Records)


Feeling a bit camera shy


(Biografía en Español bajo la versión en Inglés)
(Spanish translation below the English version)

Teye & Belén

When Dutch flamenco guitarist Teye first met his future artistic partner and wife Belén in her native Sevilla, so mesmerized was he by her fiery spirit that he didn’t even notice she was beautiful—or so he declares. Over a decade later, evenings with Teye & Belén begin with Teye teasing out exotic, tantalizing tones on his guitar, catalyzing the night’s mood with his opening strum. Belén sits on the cajón (wooden box drum) sparingly tapping rhythms to accent the guitar’s melody, smoldering in her relative repose. Then she rises, flawlessly executing staccato footwork and spinning patterns, with dramatic poses punctuating her sinuous turns. Blazing incandescent with intensity and beauty, she sings, drawing audiences into the world of Teye & Belén.

Together Teye & Belén have captivated audiences from México City to Istanbul to Montréal and many cities between. The most remarkable quality of Teye & Belén’s flamenco performances—more than their spirit, attractiveness, or talent—is the extraordinary chemistry they share, a quality frequently remarked upon by new fans. Neither Teye nor Belén has gypsy blood, but the gypsy spirit certainly manifests in their never-ending quest to reach new audiences and experience new adventures. The story of how their partnership came to be is an inspiring and circuitous one.

Teye and Belén did not meet until they were adults, but their youthful histories share remarkable similarities. Both developed early and strong passions for music—honing in as youth on their future forms of artistic expression—and embarked on determined quests to achieve distinction in those fields.

According to Teye’s parents, as a young child he would abandon his toys when Spanish guitar music crossed the airwaves of the old family radio. When the huge annual fair engulfed Sevilla, Belén’s parents took their small girl. She danced madly all night to the pervasive sounds of flamenco, until she would have to be carried home exhausted.

Teye begged his parents for a guitar. They required that he study piano, theory, and recorder and do well to earn the privilege of his first guitar, a classical model acquired when he was ten. Inspired by hearing the Beatles and Stones, the electric guitar and rock and roll continued to lure him. He traveled to England tantalized by a magazine interview with Keith Richards, but rather than attaining the holy grail of rock, he met a young woman from Spain. Shortly thereafter he made his first trip to Spain at her invitation.

Teye traveled extensively around Spain, especially in the gypsy heartland of Andalusia, seeking out the greatest flamenco guitarists to learn from, and achieving the remarkable feat of being accepted and taught by traditional and insular gypsy flamenco artists. When necessity required that he make money to continue his pursuit of flamenco, he would return to Holland to play his newest flamenco licks in clubs as a solo act. He also toured Europe fronting rock bands. Back in Spain, Teye earned the extraordinary honor of being hired to play as the principal guitarist in a gypsy-owned tablao or club.

Separately, Belén embarked on a quest to find sympathetic flamenco dance teachers and survived her own parents-mandated stint at a classical music conservatory. As a teenager, her rebellious nature attracted her to rockabilly, then hard rock and punk music, leading her to desire a drum kit.

On his first trip to the U.S. in 1985, Teye visited Austin to see his friend and fellow flamenco guitarist Gary, who he had met in Spain. From that first visit, Teye was impressed with how much music there was and how welcoming everyone was. When Teye returned to Austin in 1992, Gary was teaching piano lessons to roots rocker Joe Ely’s daughter. Ely had become interested in flamenco and recently returned from his first visit to Spain. Gary introduced Teye to Ely, and the two clicked. Wanting to add Spanish flavor to his music, Ely helped Teye get a work permit to join his band as featured guitarist. Thus began seven years of touring and recording with Joe Ely all over Europe and the U.S. Through the Ely connection, Teye played with such luminaries as Bruce Springsteen and Dwight Yoakam and appeared on David Letterman and Conan O’Brien.

Not long after Teye had connected with Joe Ely, he met Belén in Sevilla and soon invited her to travel to his new home of Austin with him. This began several years of traveling back and forth between Austin and Spain. When Teye proposed, he promised Belén that if she would live with him in Austin, he would make sure they returned to Spain at least once a year to drink from the enduring wellspring of flamenco.

As enjoyable as serving as Joe Ely’s lead guitarist was, Teye always wanted to play authentic flamenco at the end of the