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Tambourine - Latino Arts

Juan Carmona

May 2007

Bringing Flamenco Music alive, guitarist Juan Carmona and his ensemble explored tradition while creating an innovative musical style. This dramatic performance shared the essentials of Flamenco music and culture complete with an orchestra and dancers. At the age of 10, Carmona received his first guitar from his dad, and later studied music at the National Conservatory of Music in Paris, after which he returned to the "cradle" of Flamenco music, Andalusia, Spain to revive his art. Carmona created a blend of the original with a dynamic infusion of his own style and talent as he incorporates Moroccan themes to represent the ancient origination of Flamenco. Born in France, Carmona is a proud descendent of the guitar playing Habichuelas dynasty from Granada, Spain. As a child, his virtuosity became quickly apparent to professional musicians and he began gathering international acclaim. He obtained his degree as a concert musician, awarded by the celebrated National Conservatory of Music in Paris and, at the age of 26, became the first professor of flamenco guitar holding a state-awarded diploma. In 1988, he was awarded first prize in the Jerez de la Frontera International Competition, and was a finalist in the Union and Cordoba Guitar Competition. In 1989, he obtained a diploma from the Jerez Flamenco Foundation, awarded by guitarist Manolo Sanlúcar. In 1990, he won the Villa Médicis Hors Les Murs award, the Don Antonio Chacón trophy awarded by his "peña flamenco," and in 1992 the Lavoisier award. In 1994, he achieved the ultimate laureate: first prize in the Madrid Paco de Lucia Competition. This French-born gypsy can add a further distinction: permanent triumph in Spain, particularly in Andalusia where he has created upheaval in the world of flamenco. His sojourn in Spain gave birth to his recording Borboreo (sending waves through the music world in 1996) in tribute to the city of Jerez, and Entre Dos Barrios, with singer José Méndez and guitarist Moraito Chico. Juan Carmona has known an endless series of recordings and concert engagements. After working with a fabulous stream of musicians representing a wide range of musical genres, he formed the Juan Carmona Grupo, staging shows throughout France and abroad, and forging himself an international musical career.