Sunday, June 22, 2014

Jose Luis Monton 13 questions

Born in Barcelona in 1962 José Luis Montón made his debut as a concert artist there in 1989. He began his musical studies at an early age, specializing in flamenco rhythms. In this year, he won the First Prize in the International Competition of Barcelona and Nimes (France). In 1993 the Circulo de Bellas Artes de Madrid gives him the Teatro Pavón Cup.

José Luis Montón made a vital contribution to moroccan singer Amina Alaoui’s “Arco Iris” (2010) and during the session producer Manfred Eicher determined that a Montón solo project would be highly appropriate for ECM. So "Solo guitar" was recorded recorded in Lugano in 2011. It’s a major artistic statement. With its programme of Montón compositions drawing upon the melodic subtleties, rhythmic vitality and emotional power of flamenco, making connections also to classical tradition, it can at once take its place alongside the label’s finest solo guitar albums. You can hear an excerpt here.

One of the characteristics of his work has been a willingness to search for points of contact with other disciplines and cultures. Amongst many examples are his “Flamenco Arabe” project with Egyptian percussionist Hossam Ramzy and collaborations with Lebanese classical violinist Ara Malikian. Montón has also explored the common ground between flamenco and music of the Basque region in work with accordionist Gorka Hermosa, played with singers of flamenco and fado traditions including MisiaCarmen París, María Berasarte, Mayte Martín, Amina Alaoui, La Shica,  Tomasito de Jerez, Renato Aresi, Andy Pupato, Eva Durán, Lorenzo Viserda, Miguel de la Tolea, Bjorn Meyer... composed music for dance and theatre, for instance "Flamenco de Cámara" with Mayte Martín and Belén Maya, "La difícil sencillez" with Juan Parrilla, "De la Felicidad", show for the "XIV Bienal de Flamenco de Sevilla" or "Flamenco Kids", premiered in the "Bienal de Sevilla 2010"... 

In 2001 José Luis composed the music for the new show of the National Ballet of Spain, where it operates as a performer and composer. Twice, in 2001 and 2002  he interprets the Concierto de Aranjuez by Joaquin Rodrigo, at the Teatro Principal of Valencia Valencia with Valencia's Orchestra directed by Joan Cervero, and the next year with the Brastislava's Orchestra directed by David Herrando. He wins again twice the award for best original music for dance in the Teatro Albéniz (Madrid) "2003 XII Choreographic Contest" and "2004 XIII Choreographic Contest". From 1993 to 1994 he's Lead Guitar in the show "Flamenco dancing Summit" represented worldwide, among others, Sadlers Wells Theatre and Albert Hall (London), ABC Theatre (Tokyo), Teatro Tapias (Puerto Rico), Teatro Emperador (Belgium), International Festival (Houston), International Festival of Paderborn (Germany), Festival Setback in Sydney (Australia), guitar World (Buenos Aires) Festival; with the group "El Foro" and the show "The Night of the Guitar" (Utrecht). His recordings as a leader include "Flamenco entre amigos" (1996), “Aroma” (Auvidis, 1997), “Sin querer” (2000), “De la felicidad” (2005), “Flamenco Arabe 2” (2006), “Flamenco Kids” (2010) “Flamenco Etxea” (2011).

For Montòn there is a common denominator running through such projects. “When I faced the challenge of doing this solo album, I wondered what it was that touched me the most in an artist’s work and concluded that it was the quality of sincerity. In this music I have tried to translate that sincerity and love of art which I appreciate so much when I encounter it.”
Montón’s current projects-in-progress include “Clavileño”, described as “a new way of feeling Spanish Baroque music”, tracing rhythmic dances of the Baroque back to Arab origins. He is also presenting a show based upon Bach and flamenco rhythms in Seville in April 2013, and collaborating on a programme of Spanish Songs of the 19th Century with classical guitarist David González and singer Clara Montes. He created La Banda del Aire to develop his instrumental side, and José Luis Monton Quartet where he presents his work as a songwriter.

What do you remember about your first guitar?

I have the memory that I bought my first guitar working an entire summer, with all my friends leave on holydays, and I remember went to look for it at a bus station where it was sent, accompanied by my father. It was amazing and the guitar seemed to me the most wonderful thing in the world.

What do you need from music?

Harmony, peace and sincerity.

How did you learn to play? What do you remember as important in this process?

I remember my teachers, my uncle Miguel who woke my hope, Paco Arroyo who taught me the flamenco nad Miguel de Badajoz the rhythm, and the grandmaster Juan Trillas who showed me how to look inside myself.

Which work of your own are you most surprised by, and why?

In my work "SOLO GUITAR", surprised me all that can be voiced from the most intimate without anything accompanying it.

What are your motivations for playing?

To show who I am

Depict one image, one sound or one idea you're really interested in?

Sea waves have a constant but always different rhythm, that's the way I see the dynamic when I play.

Where are your secret roots? What are your influences?

My roots are in Flamenco, my influences everywhere.

Which was the first and the last record you bought with your own money?  What were other early records you bought?

The first album I bought was Paco de Lucía en vivo desde el Teatro Real and last Canción Andaluza  also from Paco de Lucia, I purchased many other more, especially folk and popular music.

What quality do you empathize with most in a musician?

The quality that I value most in a musician is the ability to thrill, to move, often go hand in sincerity.

A valuable advice that someone has gifted to you in the past?

A good tip was that I did not look like myself in all my compositions and let things flow.

Tell me one musical work which has provoked a change in your sound?

For me, play the Concierto de Aranjuez and the Chaconne from Bach gave a turn to my interpretation and to the way I look for for the sound necessary to communicate the mood.

What do you dream -musically speaking- about?

I dream with contribute with my bit to help the flamenco guitarists, and musicians in general, to feel free to be themselves, without staying on the surface.

What projects are you working on now and what does the future hold?

I'm finishing next and third show of FLAMENCO KIDS, preparing next recordings with my quartet, with the Argentine guitarist Guillermo Rizzotto, with the narrator Ana Griot and more projects and collaborations with other artists like Maite Martin, Maria Berasarte, Ara Malikian, Mariano Cruzeta, Lola Greco and of course my concerts "Solo Guitar"


José Luis Montón - Solo Guitarra (2011)

Son & Kete
Air (based on J.S. Bach’s “Air”)


Con permiso

Al oido

Piel suave
Te he de querer mientras viva

Recorded April 2011

ECM 2246 

Flamenco Etxea (2011)

1. Tiempo denbora (Tanguillo)
2. Zelaia (Jota Navarra) 
3. Kopla berriak (Coplas nuevas)
4. Agua ura (Buleria)
5. Fiesta jaia (Vals) 
6. Bachleriana (Buleria)
7. Lau haizetara (A los cuatro vientos)
8. Bach por bulerias (Buleria)
9. Manantial iturria (Tanguillo con tiento)
10. Ciaccona flamenca

José Luis Montón: Guitarra flamenca.
Gorka Hermosa: Acordeón.
Odei Lizaso: Tabla hindú y otras percusiones.
Piruchi Apo: Voces en "Tiempo Denbora".
María Berasarte: Voz en "Fiesta Jaia" y "Kopla Berriak".
Carmen París: Voz en "Lau Haizetara".
Xavier Euskitze: Recitador en "Lau Haizetara".

Amina Alaoui -Arco Iris (2010)

Amina Alaoui vocals, daf
Saïfallah Ben Abderrazak violin
Sofiane Negra oud
José Luis Montón flamenco guitar
Eduardo Miranda mandolin
Idriss Agnel percussion
Búscate en Mí
Fado Al-Mu'tamid
Flor de nieve
Oh Andaluces
Ya laylo layl
Fado menor
Búscate en Mí, var.
Las Morillas de Jaén
Que faré
Arco Iris

Recorded April 2010
ECM 2180 

Flamenco Kids (2010)

1. Quillolandia 
2. El camaleón daltónico 
3. El erizo bailarín
4. El camarón opaco
5. El cangrejo moro
6. La urta mellada
7. Albar
8. La ortiguilla
9. El pulpo cantautor
10. Matemáticas I
11. La rebelión de las incógnitas
12. Nana de Luis 
13. Nana de Carmen
14. Nana de Sara

Flamenco Arabe 2 (2006)

1. A Caballo: Intro 
2. A Caballo
3. Awtar W' Haneen
4. Nilo
5. Men Teeba L' El Andalus
6. La Casa de Barry: Intro
7. La Casa de Barry
8. Sahret Ghawazy
9. Arena
10. El Hombre y el Saidi: Intro
11. El Hombre y el Saidi
12. Pensando en ti
13. Amil 
14. Trompetta

María Toledo: Vocals.
Aziz Jorge: Violin.
Mohammed Fouda: Nay.
Mohammed Naiem: Qanun.
Saber Abdel Sattar: Qanun.
Hazem Shaheen: Oud.
Miguel Rodrigañez: Double bass.
Atef Sobhy: Bass and programming.
Ossama Al Hendy: Keyboards & bass.
Wael Naggar: Accordion.

De la felicidad (2005)

1. Pena penita pena
2. Malabarista de semáforo
3. Princesa
4. Sonrisa
5. Estranha forma de vida 
6. Quise volverme loco
7. Melalcoholia
8. La muerte del ángel
9. ¿Dónde está? 
10. Contigo
11. Zapateao

José Luis Montón: Guitarra.
Ara Malikian: Violin.
Miguel Rodrigañez: Contrabajo.
Jorge Tejerina: Percusión.
Maria Berasarte: Voz.
Fabián Carbone: Bandoneón.

Clara Montes - Uniendo Puertos (2004)

1 Ninos de la Guerra
2 Te Vuelvo a Ver
3 Extrana Forma de Vida
4 Déjme Matar Tu Dolor
5 Tiene Que Tiene
6 Flores Tus Manos
7 De Carne y Verso
8 Dos Secretos
9 Pendiente de Tus Labios
10 Mirada Violeta
11 Romance de Curro "El Palmo"

Sin querer (2000)

1. Homenaje 
2. Dialogo 
3. Sin querer 
4. Firuleta 
5. De paseo 
6. Tio Miguel 
7. Recordando 
8. Eco y vita 

José Luis Montón: Guitarra.
Tomasito, Eva Durán y Miguel de la Tolea: Cante.
Renato Anesi: Mandolina, guitarra y cavaquinho.
Björn Meyer: Bajo.
Ara Malikian: Violin.
Juan Diego Mateos: Guitarra y palmas.

Aroma (1997)

1. Aroma 
2. Mi niña de Cali 
3. Me sabe a mar 
4. Agüi 
5. A solas 
6. Pozo amargo 
7. Nubes 
8. Acuerdate 

José Luis Montón: Guitarra.
Eva Durán: Cante.
Juan Diego: Segunda guitarra.
Chano Domínguez: Piano.
Javier Colina: Bajo.