Chuscales - ‘Forever In My Heart’

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Chuscales - Forever In My Heart
                       
                        Jose Valle Fajardo - "Chuscales" - Guitar
                        Mina Valle Fajardo - Flamenco Dancer and Choreographer
                        Juan Siddi - Flamenco Dancer
                        Vicente Griego, "El Cartucho" - Flamenco Vocals
                        Alejandro Valle Fajardo - Cajon (percussion)
                        Michael Kott - Cello
                        Janira Cordova - Flamenco Dancer

 

"Chuscales" -    This was the name given to Jose Valle Fajardo by his Grandfather. Since then, the name Chusco has come to describe a guitarist of consummate skill and a profound understanding of the Flamenco traditions.  A native of Antequera, Spain, Chuscales grew up in a traditional gypsy family well known for its professional musicians and dancers. His grandmother was among those who lived in the caves of Sacromonte, one of the legendary cradles of flamenco. Chuscales recalls, "There were shows, with Gypsies from Granada who grew up in families that lived there. I wish you could see it, the families in the caves and the singing and dancing. There might be seven, eight, maybe nine caves, all with singing and dancing, and there would be more singing and dancing on the streets every day. It was unbelievable. It was very formative time in all my life. It was like a dream. This is where I learned everything — the rhythm, the beat, the guitar. I am still learning from those thousands of nights performing with my family, with my father, my grandfather, and my friends."

Chusco began guitar lessons at age six under the instruction of his uncle Joaquín Fajardo as well as Maestro Agustinillo, two prominent masters in the region where such greats as  Segovia have studied. As a teenager, Chuscales found himself frequently in the company of Paco de Lucía, who often performed in the area and would take time to play with the talented youngster and to answer his questions. Meanwhile, he began his performing career as a dancer — an experience that provides him with a detailed understanding of flamenco's rhythmic nuances. Chusco elaborates as the accompanying guitarist, "I can understand and follow dancers. I can see where they are going before they take their next step. I know what the dancer is looking for, how much tension is in the music, the right rhythm, when to play strong or soft so if a dancer asks me for something, I know what they ask." Chuscales' affinity for dance is delightfully apparent in his artistry, blending music and movement as he does is no accident. "It's something we learn through life," he says. "A lot of people don't have my luck to grow up in the caves, learning flamenco in a Gypsy family where the music comes from tradition to tradition, from legend to legend. I thank God; I have been around such great musicians all my life.

Chuscales has played the guitar for prince and princes of Spain at Santa Fe in 2009 and he has appeared in the films "Camelamos Nauerar" (1976), "Gypsy Heart" (1998), "Flamenco Passion & Soul" (1999), "Viaje Al Duende" (2009),"The Spanish Table" (2010) and "El Payo" (2010). www.chuscales.com

Mina Valle Fajardo - "Mina" has received extensive training in flamenco, Escuela bolero, jazz, Tap and ballet. She received flamenco training in Spain from El Guito, Carmera Greco, Ciro, La Tati, La China, Alejandro Granados, Yolanda Heredia, Eva La Yerbabuena, Andres Marin, Joaquin Ruiz and Keiko Issiki and she has taught in the Maria Benitez Institute for Spanish Arts, Eva Encinias Sandoval’s National Institute of Flamenco and for the Spanish Institute of Dance in Houston, Texas, and Fazil Dance Studio in New York City.  Mina has performed in Japan, New York City, San Francisco, Boston, Denver, Houston, Maryland and Albuquerque and has made several appearances on television in Manhattan, New Mexico and Japan. In Santa Fe, She has performed at the Santa Fe Opera and in the Santa Fe Jazz and International Music Festival at the Lensic Theatre with many artists including Elena Andujar, El Pripi, La Tibu, Carmen Rasarao, Chuscales, YiYi, Silverio Heredia, Tequila de Jerez, Omayra Amaya, Juan Siddi and Keiko Isshiki.

With Chuscales she has performed in many productions including "Chuscales at Old Main, Boulder"(2011), "Chuscales y Mina Fajardo con Las Tres Mujeres" (2010), "Chuscales Live at MIT" (Boston, 2009), Telluride Jazz Festival (2008), "Soul del Arte Tradiciones e Innovaciones"(San Francisco, 2005), "Ainadamar, Landscapes and Impression" Santa Fe Opera (2005), "A Night of Flamenco Magic” Lakewood Cultural Center (Denver, CO, 2005), "Santa Fe Jazz and International Music Festival" (2004 & 2001), The John E. Morlow Guitar Series “ Flamenco Night” (Chevy Chase, MD, 2004), SJC Multicultural Arts Series “Flamenco” (San Juan Capistrano, CA, 2003). She appeared in the films "Flamenco Passion & Soul" (1999), "El Payo" (2010).  She currently performs with Chuscales at Local Tablao in Santa Fe. www.minafajardo.com

Juan Siddi Aivar is creating and maintaining a strong presence for flamenco in the United States. Recently he received the 2011 Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, Santa Fe, NM, where his Flamenco Theatre Company is based and he teaches/choreographs flamenco dance. Siddi was born in Frankfurt, Germany of immigrant parents. His mother, whose family originated in Granada, was from Barcelona, Spain. She immigrated to Germany where she met Juan's father who was from Italy. Flamenco music was part of daily life in their home, and through their ties with a “peña”, (a group dedicated to Spanish culture), Juan was immersed in the flamenco culture and began dancing and performing when he was very young. His most influential teachers have been Rebeca Carmona in Germany and la Tani in Barcelona, Spain. Starting at the age of 15 with Tablaos Flamencos, including Al Andalus in Frankfurt, Germany.

Vicente Griego - "El Cartucho" - 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 has studied at the National Institute of Flamenco and sings year-round with Yjastros.  “El Cartucho” is striking for his deep, sonorous wails that seem to come from a cavern, someplace deep within his soul.” Anna Poplawska, Chicago Artist’s News.

Michael Kott - is a cellist and composer who has worked with artists such as Mark O'Connor, Robert Mirabal, Peter Buffett, and Victor Wooten - writing two of the songs on Victor's Grammy nominated album Yin Yang. Michael has been known to perform playing cello and singing while riding a skateboard, and continues to travel the world bringing the vibration of the cello to new audiences around the world.

For these special performances, Chusco will be joined by Janira Cordova, a flamenco dancer and student at UNM. Also accompanying Chusco will be his son Alejandro on percussion.

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