Monday, June 9, 2008

June 09, 2008: Album of the Day Vol. 018: Carlos Montoya - El Flamenco Vol. 1

From The Magic of Juju:

Carlos Montoya was born into a gypsy family in Spain. His interest in music and the guitar began at an early age. He began studying the guitar with his mother and a neighboring barber, eventually learning from Pepe el Barbero, a guitarist and teacher. Not only was he interested in playing the guitar, Carlos Montoya wanted to learn the history of flamenco music. Flamenco music came out of the Boorish invasion of Spain. His uncle, Ramon Montoya, was a successful flamenco guitarist also. Carlos Montoya started playing professionally at the age of 14, playing for singers and dancers at the cafes in Madrid. Two of the dancers he most often played for were La Teresina and La Argentina.

Wanting to broaden his musical career, Carlos Montoya began touring in the 20s and 30s. His tours included performances in Europe, Asia and North America. He accompanied several performers including La Argentina again. He had finally made a name for himself as a flamenco guitarist.

When World War II broke out in the 1940s, Carlos Montoya was on tour in the United States with dancer La Argentinita. During the war he decided to settle in New York City and eventually became a United States citizen. In 1945 La Argentinita died but Carlos Montoya toured on his own, opening his repertoire to include not only flamenco but also blues, jazz and folk music.

His career took a different turn in 1948 when he began touring with symphonies and orchestras and performing his own guitar recitals. Carlos Montoya became the first flamenco guitarist to tour the world with symphonies and orchestras. His appearances did not stop there, he performed on television and gave several solo recitals.

Like Manitas, Montoya was another non-purist who dared to sully the flamenco flower and therefore doesn't hold much respect with the sleestacks (man, those guys are a tough crowd).

"I do not play the way I do to please the public, though it certainly does, on five continents so far, and no other flamenco guitarist will ever fill the Houston Astrodome as I have. No, I play the way I do because to me, that is exactly the way the flamenco guitar should sound. It seems strange to me that the unknowing public should agree, while the real flamenco aficionados clearly do not...but that's the case." more

These are some of his earliest US recordings, solo guitar likely issued on 78 rpm in the late 40's and then collected in two volumes on LP in the 50's (this was the third release on the Stinson label, an untapped treasure trove of catalog, though that may be changing ). Montoya recorded so many albums and so many versions of some of these tracks that I found it pretty much impossible to figure out if these had been re-issued later. Have a listen and let me know if you can sort it out.

Carlos Montoya El Flamenco Vol 1
Stinson Records SLP3 LP (195?)

Jota (2:15)
Rondena (2:14)
Farruca Dance (2:06)
Seguiriya (2:40)
Folias - Canaris (2:35)
Guajiras Dance (3:55)
Alegrias (2:43)
Media Grananina (2:46)
Malaguena (2:35)
Granada (4:36)
Cafe De Chinitas (2:32)
Zambrilla (2:23)
Rondena (2:14)
Zambrilla (2:23)



Tiento Gitanos

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