Gerardo Alcalá, flamenco guitarist born in New Orleans, is one of the few foreigners to be respected as a full-fledged Flamenco artist by the gypsy Flamencos of Andalucia. He learned his art from the masters: Rafael del Aguila, Parrilla de Jerez, Niño Jero, Rafael Alarcón, Eduardo de la Malena and Pedro Bacán. He has performed professionally in major theatres on three continents, including Carnegie Hall, as well as for television, radio and film. In the U.S. he toured with the Spanish dance companies of José Molina and Teo Morca and did many recitals with the legendary Anzonini del Puerto.
In Spain, he performed with the all-gypsy company of Fernanda Romero and has had a particularly long and close relationshp with the Agujetas family, including Manuel Agujetas, who preserves the deepest and purest singing in Spain. With them, he was featured as sole accompanist in the prestigious Circulo de Bellas Artes in Madrid and in the Dutch film Duende. In 1990, he was honoured to become the first North American ever to be contracted to perform as a soloist in the Bienal de Sevilla, Spain’s most important Flamenco festival. Gerardo’s style represents a return to a more raw, traditional way of feeling and playing Flamenco. Based primarily in the school of Jerez, it is sparse and full of the silences which allow the notes to be injected with great emotion.
Flamenco guitarist, Jesús Álvarez is a sought-after accompanist for dancers as well as singers due to his unique blend of traditional playing with a contemporary sound. He has performed in Canada and the US with the María Bermúdez company “Sonidos Gitanos”.
He has recorded with La Chiqui, El Mono, El Capullo, Diego de Morao, Mijita Hijo and many others. He is presently creating his own flamenco company ‘Viejomundo’.
Antonio de Jerez is one of the most highly regarded flamenco singers currently in the U.S. born in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, his father is a well-known flamenco singer and his mother was a da dancer. Antonio has been singing and dancing since childhood. After performing extensively throughout Spain in concerts and tables and festivals, Antonio came to the U.S. in 1977. Since then he has sung for many companies, including the Jose Molina Ballet, Rosa Montoya, the Boston Flamenco Ballet, Carmen Mora, Roberto Amaral, Luisa Triana, La Tania, Yaelisa and Caminos Flamencos, Domingo Ortega, Rafael Campallo, Pepe Habichuela, Alejandro Granada, Andres Marin, and others. He is the Artistic Director of ” Canela Pura”. Also a poet, Antonio frequently writes tetra for the cates he sings.
Maria Bermudez resides in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, the “cradle” of flamenco, where she has worked with some of the foremost artists in this important city in Andalucia, such as Familia Agujetas, Nano de Jerez, Capullo, Rancapino, Pansequito, Niño Jero, Tomasito, and many, many others. Her training has been with some of the most renowned masters in Spain, including Angelita Vargas, Ciro, La Tati, El Guito, and Farruco, who have all inspired her style to be recognized internationally, and, most importantly, to be accepted artistically in a country not her own, a most difficult task in this particular art form.
Her outstanding and critically acclaimed performances include The Hollywood Bowl, The John Anson Ford Theater, The Fountain Theater, The Los Angeles Music Center, The Bilingual Foundation of the Arts in Los Angeles and The Joyce Theater in New York City. Internationally she has performed at the Teatro Palacio das Artes in Brazil, Peña Cernicalos, Los Gallos, and Teatro Lope de Vega in Spain as well as many other countries throughout the world such as Germany, Sweden and London. Maria’s dedication to flamenco continues to thrill audiences and to communicate the wide range of its emotions and beauty.
Jo Ann C. Dalisay received her Bachelor’s Degree in Music (piano performance) from Mount Allison University and her Master’s Degree in Music (piano performance) from the University of Victoria. Her principal teachers were Vladimir Levtov, Patricia Elliot, Sofia Mashovich and Arthur Rowe. In addition, she has performed in masterclasses taught by renowned artists including Kathleen Supove, Robert Levin and Karl Schnabel. As a student, Jo Ann performed with the U.Vic. Orchestra under the baton of Janos Sandor. She also played in chamber ensembles specializing in contemporary music in U.Vic. Sonic Lab Productions under the direction of Christopher Butterfield. As a soloist, Jo Ann has performed across the country. She has played and premiered works of several new composers such as Nicole Burgess, Ian de Hoog, Alisdair Zacks, John Cole, Andrij Talpash and Benjamin Keen.
Jo Ann has taught since 1983 in Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Ontario and British Columbia. Her students have participated in recitals, music festivals, Royal Conservatory of Music examinations and have continued to study music at post secondary institutions. After completing her Bachelor’s Degree, Jo Ann was on faculty at University Settlement Music School in Toronto. As a graduate student at U.Vic., she was a teaching assistant to the piano department. There she prepared undergraduate students for year-end performance exams. Jo Ann currently runs her own private teaching studio. She is a member of the Greater Victoria Performing Arts Festival and B.C. Registered Music Teachers’ Association.
Jimenez “Carancha”, born in the Andalucian town of Linares, started performing the mining songs of his hometown from the early age of fifteen, accompanied by the guitarists of the Pucheretes family. He has sung in Madrid, Spain, with guitarists such as Pepe Habichuela, Juan Maya Marote, Pedro Peña, David Serva, Curro de Jerez, and Pepe Haro. In Montreal, he co-directed and sang in the musical play “Persecución” by Felix Grande, for the group Teatro Valle de Inclan.
He has sung in New York City with guitarists Luis Heredia and Diego Castellón “Sabicas”. In Toronto, Winnipeg, and Montreal he has sung with many flamenco dance companies including those of Esmeralda Enrique, Claudia Carolina, Carmen Romero, Mariano de Málaga and Antonio Carmona. He has performed on radio and television in Spain and Canada. His singing reflects his preference for the traditional and authentic style found in the towns of Utrera and Lebrija in the province of Seville, Spain.
Matias was born in Catalonia and settled in Barcelona. At 12-years-old he began his journey in flamenco as a multifaceted musician.
Throughout his professional career he has worked and collaborated with many of the great figures of flamenco.
From Dixon/Embudo, NM, Vicente has devoted his life to the study of Cante Flamenco, the art of flamenco singing. In 1992, Vicente began touring the US, Canada, and Latin America with the Jose Greco II Flamenco Dance Company, where he was mentored by Caño Roto singer, Alfonso Gabarri,“El Veneno” of Madrid, Spain. He sings for Yjastros, the American Flamenco Repertoire Company out of AlbuRquerque and tours nationally and internationally year round. Vicente Griego is currently presenting the musical group ReVoZo.
Garth Martens won The Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers, a national prize administered by The Writers’ Trust of Canada for the best writer under thirty-five who has not yet published a book. He has also been shortlisted for The Bridport Prize and Arc Magazine’s Poem of the Year Contest. His work is published or forthcoming in Poetry Ireland Review, Hazlitt, This Magazine, Vallum, Prism International, The Fiddlehead, The Malahat Review, Grain Magazine, The Times Colonist, and the anthologies Poems from Planet Earthand Leonard Cohen: You’re Our Man. He is the Literary Coordinator for Open Space, an artist-run centre, and curates their reading series Open Word: Readings and Ideas. For six years he has studied flamenco cante and baile with Alma de España under the mentorship of Amity Skala and Veronica Maguire.
Originally from Victoria, B.C., Mieka Michaux is a versatile orchestral and chamber musician performing in many ensembles on both modern and baroque viola and violin. Mieka holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Victoria, B.C. and a Master of Music from Rice University in Houston, Texas. She has also attended the Music Academy of the West, the Banff Centre for the Arts, Orford Centre for the Arts and the Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute. Her principal teachers include Joanna Hood, Karen Ritscher, and Karen Tuttle. She is a core member of the Victoria Symphony and also regularly performs with the Aventa Ensemble and the Pacific Baroque Orchestra. She is also a founding member of the Emily Carr String Quartet and the Victoria Baroque Players. She has performed with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra of Canada, Vancouver Island Symphony and Galiano Ensemble.
Oscar Nieto is a dancer, vocalist and artistic director of Mozaico Flamenco. Oscar is an internationally recognized artist. He launched his professional career in Antonio Gades’ production of El Amor Brujo at Chicago-Lyric Opera House in 1969. Following the debut performance, he was invited to work with Lola Montes and her Spanish Ballet, and with the José Greco Company.. A tour of Europe with José Antonio Ballet Siluetas took Mr. Nieto to Spain’s Amor de Dios studio in Madrid. Upon his return to North America he worked with Ciro in New Orleans and Chicago. Oscar has made numerous appearances with Alma de España, as well as the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and Boston Ballet to name a few. Mr. Nieto was a recipient of a Canada Council Grant in 1998 which enabled him to spend six months studying and researching the history of flamenco in Spain.
Flamenco dancer, Domingo Ortega was born in 1969 in Jerez de la Frontera, where he learned his first steps and started his professional career. Domingo has been outstanding as a soloist in the Albarizuela ballet. He received the prize for the best flamenco dancer in the national competition of Ubrique and also, in the Cadiz province competition in 1989 and 1990.
In 1991 he became part of Carmen Cortes’ company and later on worked with other companies such as Manuel Soler’s, etc. As a soloist he has collaborated with companies such as Antonio Vargas, el Guito, and Luís Davila (Luisillo). His solo career started in 1992, dancing as a special guest in the many famous tablaos (Café de Chinitas, Zambra, Casa Patas, and El Cordobes). In 1993 he took part in the production “Cinco Bailaores”.
Since 1995 Domingo has been creating his own company, working in Spain and other countries such as, Italy, Japan, Venezuela, Israel, and Senegal (where he has been named a citizen of honour).
Domingo performed with María Bermudez in her “Sonidos Gitanos” tours in 1997 and 1999 at John Anson Ford LA and in 2000 at the Hollwood Bowl.
In 1998 he received the prize “Copa Teatro Pavon” for young performers and in 1999 he was presented by Cristina Hoyos in the Teatro Central de Sevilla as one of the most outstanding flamenco dancers in the present day.
In 2000 he started showing “…y ahora me voy con mi mare” with his own company in the Nuria Espert Theatre, Fuenlabrada, (Madrid). In 2001 the Company went to Japan and Israel with the same show and then to California for the Irbyn Festival. In all these places the performance was met with positive reviews and great public success! This success for Domingo Ortega is not just as a flamenco dancer, but as a choreographer as well.
In 2002 Domingo was an invited artist for the show “Medea” in Tokyo and at the same time, performed at “Festival Fusion” (mixed flamenco and Venezuela’s folk) in Miami.
In 2003 he performed in Canada as a guest artist in the show “Carmen” (as “Don Jose”).
David Owen was involved in flamenco for over 30 years, studying flamenco guitar for several months with El Rubio in Ronda, Spain, and with Guillermo Basilisco in London, England. He began playing guitar with his older brother, Harry Owen, in Vancouver in 1971. They soon discovered that their passion and innate talent to play together was a magical experience. Touring together as a duo throughout Canada in the late 70′s and early 80′s, they appeared on many national and local television shows. David continued to play for local flamenco groups in the Toronto area. In the early 90′s he and Jesse Cook were part of a flamenco group called “Candela”. David had a passionate feel for flamenco guitar and how it should be played in the purest sense. David passed away suddenly in March 2016.
For many years Nicholas Pearce has been inspired by the passion of Flamenco. His paintings of dancers will be presented as part of Recuerdos.
Nicholas Pearce paints sensual imagery of women either as nudes or dancing flamenco. His other passion is teaching, and he leads classes and workshops for students at all stages of artistic development. He attended the Alberta College of Art before becoming an illustrator at CBC TV Calgary and finally illustrations editor for the Calgary Herald. He made the transition to fine art after moving to the West Coast in the early ’80s.
Nicholas’s primary medium is acrylic paint on canvas. He works with – and challenges his students to try – an inch-and-a-half sash brush, more often found in the toolkits of professional house painters. He has discovered that it’s the most versatile brush for his technique – and that it helps students free up their painting (once they get over the shock).
His classes and workshops focus on one of three areas: teaching some of the techniques and thought processes that result in satisfying, successful figure paintings; helping painters find their unique artistic voice; and guiding women to discover their beauty “through artists’ eyes” as they create paintings of their own bodies.
Nicholas is presently showing at the Diana Paul Galleries in Calgary and The Gallery in the Oak Bay Village in Greater Victoria. His paintings are also in the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria’s rental program, as well as in private and corporate collections in Canada, the U.S. and Europe.
Coral de los Reyes (singer) was born in Jerez de la Frontera into a famous flamenco gypsy family. She debuted at a very young age in Teatro Villamarta in Jerez. She has an extensive recording repertoire, successfully fusing various musical genres, whilst never abandoning her Andalusian, gypsy roots.
She has toured in and outside Spain with her unique voice and style, embracing her own “gitano” roots, as well as developing her own particular interest in “Copla” – Spanish Classical song. Her experience with “Copla” has given her an unparalleled grace and poise on stage, and this combination of raw, gypsy elements with her elegance and style makes her a very unique artist indeed.
Born in Cadiz in 1972, Miguel began his artistic career singing in clubs within the city, such as “Juanito Villar Peña,” La Perla de Cádiz”, and “Enrique El Mellizo”. Given his artistic quality he soon began to travel around the world to Japan, Israel, France, Italy, South America, and the USA. He has worked with highly acclaimed companies, such as Andrés Peña, Juan Ogalla, Rosario Toledo, Javier Latorre, Javier Varon, Manuela Carrasco and Cristina Hoyos, Pastora Galván, Israel Galván and Antonio El Pipa, among others. Currently he performs flamenco recitals in significant peñas and concerts throughout Spain and abroad. Miguel also performed with María Bermúdez in her “Sonidos Gitanos” tours in 1998, 2004, 2007, and 2009. He is one of the most sought after singers in the flamenco scene today. The privilege of hearing his voice ensures great success wherever he goes.
Luis is a beloved teacher known for his ability to share the secrets of flamenco compás with endless energy, humour and grace. Born in one of the oldest Gypsy neighbourhoods of Jerez de La Frontera, El Barrio de Santiago, Luis de la Tota began his career as a percussionist at the age of 8. He takes his artistic name from his grandmother ‘La Tota’, who has been an inspiration to him since his infancy. As a percussionist and palmero, Luis tours with flamenco’s top artists such as Antonio Del Pipa Maria Del Mar Moreno, Fernando de La Morena, El Capullo, Moraito, Diego Carrasco and Angelita Vargas and has come to the USA several times with dancer Maria “Chacha” Bermudez. As a Flamenco lyricist, his verses (letras) have been recorded widely and his work as a percussionist can be heard on many CDs. Finally, it may surprise you to know that for their love of Heavy Metal bands such as Iron Maiden, Luis along with his twin brother Ali, who is also a palmero, consider themselves to be “Flamenco Heavies.”