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Friday, April 28, 2023 | 8:30 pm - 10:00 pm
One of the most accomplished and captivating flamenco guitarists in the world, Jose Valle Fajardo “Chuscales” grew up in a traditional gypsy family of musicians and dancers in Antequera, Spain. His grandmother 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 the caves… 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, 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 and my friends.”
Chuscales has performed around the globe, including appearances at Lincoln Center, Telluride Jazz Festival, the National Hispanic Cultural Center, and the Santa Fe Jazz & International Music Festival. He was musical director and principal guitarist for the prestigious Maria Benitez Teatro Flamenco for nearly two decades and he is the recipient of top honors including multiple Dora More Awards for outstanding sound design/composition and Isadora Duncan Awards for composition, arrangement, and direction.
Chuscales began guitar lessons at age six under the instruction of his uncle Joaquín Fajardo and maestro Agustinillo. As a teen, Chuscales found himself frequently in the company of the late flamenco great Paco de Lucía, who took a shine to the talented youngster. Meanwhile, he began his performing career as a dancer, a lesson in rhythmic nuances that would deeply inform his guitar playing.”I can understand and follow dancers. I can see where they are going before they take their next step.”
SCHEDULE Global BASH – April 27, 28 & 29, 2023
Guthrie Green events are outdoor and free @ 111 Reconciliation Way, Tulsa, OK 74103.
LowDown (formerly Duet Jazz) sets are indoor and ticketed @ 108 N. Detroit Ave, Tulsa, OK 74103.
THURSDAY, APRIL 27 @ LOWDOWN
8:00-10:00 JAZZ IN LITTLE AFRICA – GET TICKETS
FRIDAY, APRIL 28 @ LOWDOWN
7:15-8:00 “Spain & Beyond” wine tasting – SOLD OUT
8:30-10:00 CHUSCALES FLAMENCO – SOLD OUT
SATURDAY, APRIL 29 – FREE @ GUTHRIE GREEN
5:00-9:00 Inspyral circus arts
5:30-6:30 COUNT TUTU
6:30-7:00 Eric Ryan-Johnson & Gene Curtis
7:00-8:00 PAUL THORN
8:00-8:30 Perizad Bellydance
8:30-9:30 REVEREND PEYTON’S BIG DAMN BAND
After Reverend Peyton’s set, head over to LowDown for Astral Footprints: the music of Wayne Shorter.
A CONVERSATION WITH CHUSCALES
(Sept. 2019 interview by Michael Koster)
Q: Flamenco is not a genre that is seen much in America, outside the big cities and places with a historical connection with Spain, such as Santa Fe, where you now reside. How would you describe this genre to an audience that may not be as familiar with it?
A: Flamenco comes from many parts and forms but it was developed and born in Andalusia, Spain. It is composed of three elements: Cante, Guitarra, and Baile. It is a unique genre that—within the Dance, the Cante and the Guitar—has reached a very high level of expression and development. There are no words to describe everything it contains…. I arrived in the United States in the ’80s and since then flamenco here in the United States has grown a lot. A long time before I arrived, there was already a generation of flamencos of a very high level. Names like the maestro Agustin Castellon Sabicas, an excellent guitarist of that time, the great dancer Carmen Amaya, and Mario Escudero, a great guitarist. I think it was the golden age of flamenco here in the USA, and you can name many other flamenco artists of that time, especially in New York, which was the center of attention for flamenco.
You grew up in Spain and as a child you spent time in the caves of Andalusia?
I was born in Antequera, Malaga, but from a very young age they took me to Granada, where I really grew up. My family was [made up of] eager flamenco gypsy artists with names recognized inside and outside Spain. Mario Maya was an excellent grand dancer. Juan Maya Marote was an extraordinary guitarist and creator of several technical forms such as the guitar scratch and an incredible thumb technique. I have lived flamenco from a very young age, being born and raised in a gypsy family. We had several caves they called La Golondrina, in the Sacromente in Granada. I can tell you that flamenco is a culture, and within that culture, inside and outside your home every day, what you see and hear is a life full of emotions. There are no words to decipher the spiritual feeling inside flamenco and where it takes you.
In the cave in Granada my family had a show—people dancing, playing and singing. Growing up in this environment every day you lived and learned, it was natural. My mother Maria Bailaba, my grandparents Joaquin and Carmen the swallow, my aunt Isabel who danced and sang and played the guitar, my father Luis danced, my uncle Fajardo played the guitar, my uncle Joaquin played the guitar and danced very well. The family were all artists—what luck and what joy [that I had] this experience and this opportunity!
You spent time with the late great flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucía?
I had the good fortune to meet him from an early age in Granada. I came to play [with him] many times and that was a joy. He was my idol and will always be my idol. Even if he is not with us anymore, he will always be present. Being able to talk and share things about the guitar…everything he told me opened a door to the soul within the knowledge of the guitar.
Is improvisation important, or is flamenco more about being faithful to a predetermined part?
Well, there is a bit of everything. There are touches, bailes and songs that already have their compass style and interpretation and you have to respect it. But within all that there is always the personal, what one feels, creative ways of expressing and doing things…. I believe that everything new that you want to do and reinterpret will always be based on the [traditional] flamenco rhythm and forms. You can be super modern and as abstract as you want, but [the core of] flamenco will always be there. Art is a world open to creativity, but flamenco is always going to take hold. Because we are flamencos.