Manuela Carrasco was born in Triana, Seville, in 1958, and from her early childhood displayed a natural instinct for flamenco dance. She was born into a family of gypsy flamenco artistes, her father José Carrasco, El Sordo, was an excellent dancer and Manuela learned the rudiments of the “baile flamenco” from simply being surrounded by the flamenco scene of Triana. Her career began in the “tablao” El Jaleo, in Torremolinos and she went on to work in many more flamenco establishments including, Los Gallos in Seville, and Los Canasteros in Madrid. At the age of thirteen Manuela Carrasco undertook a two-year tour of Europe (against the wishes of her parents) with the flamenco company of Curro Velez, and from then on her career snowballed.
But it was not only in Spain that she was recognized as one of the truly great flamenco dancers as she was also awarded the International Dance Prize in San Remo, Italy in 1976. In this same year she was part of a show named Gitano, in which she appeared along side Cameron de la Isla, Pansiquito, and El Lebrijano. Manuela Carrasco was one of the principle figures on the festival circuit in the 1970’s and 80’s, appearing at the Potaje Gitano and the Festival de la Puebla de Cazalla. In fact most of the festival stages in Andalucía have been blessed with her impeccable style and natural gracía.
Paco Cepero was born on March 6, 1942 in Jerez de la Frontera (Cádiz Province). At the age of 16 he made his debut as a professional in the Grand Theatre Falla in Cadiz. In 1963 he arrived in Madrid and started work in the tablao "Los Canasteros" (owned by Manolo Caracol). Evidence of his status as Flamenco Guitarist are the numerous awards he has won throughout his career; Premio Nacional de Jerez in 1975, Premio Nacional de Córdoba in 1977 and Castillete de la Unión, in addition to the Yunque Oro of the city of Ceuta, the prize Melchor de Marchena Accompaniment and Cabal Silver Circle of Fine Arts for the year 1999. Paco Cepero has played and recorded with figures of incomparable singing including Manolo Caracol, Camaron de la Isla, Tio Borrico,Terremoto, El Lebrijano and El Turronero.
Besides his work as a guitarist, his renown extends to include his work as a composer of numerous successful Flamenco and popular songs for such singers as Isabel Pantoja, Julio Iglesias, Lolita and Chiquetete. In addition to accompanying numerous artists, he has released several solo albums, including Corazón y Bordón and De Pura Cepa.
Interview with JUAN VILLAR
Text: Estela Zatania, journalist, deflamenco.com
“Quiero pronunciar tu nombre” is the title of a new recording by Juan José Villar Jiménez ‘Juan Villar’ (Cádiz, 1947) which has just been released coming in under the wire of 2004, a year in which, sadly, flamenco recordings did not abound. Villar came of age in the middle of the era of Antonio Mairena and festivals when Camarón de la Isla and Paco de Lucía, obligatory references, were blowing the dust off traditional flamenco with fresh sounds born of deep roots. From that generation of innovators formed in the most classic tradition comes this man from Cádiz with his rich, and very flamenco voice, and a sense of compás you’d expect from his birthplace. His career began at the age of seven with the group “Los Chavillos Gaditanos”, and in the early seventies he was hired by the Cádiz tablao La Cueva del Pájaro Azul along with Rancapino and Pepa de Utrera, where he was able to hone his skills at singing for dance. He went on to become one of the most sought-after singers in this capacity, and recitals at peñas and festivals as well as international tours fleshed out his ample curriculum. His artistic partner is guitarist Pedro Carrasco “Niño Jero”. ... (more)