Friday, April 26, 2013

Presentation of the Spanish version of 'A Time Defying Heritage'

A new book by the English author Tony Bryant, has just been released by Flamenco sapiens, the Seville based publisher that produced the authors last book concerning the art of flamenco - Flamenco; an Englishman’s passion.
Bryant’s latest offering concerns the genealogical line of one of the biggest gypsy flamenco clans to be associated with flamenco, or in fact, any musical genre.
The author has researched and charted this family’s history from their arrival in Andalucia in the seventeenth century until the present day and he has proved that many of the most renowned performers of flamenco are actually related via blood or marriage connections.
The author says, “Many flamencologists and aficionados are aware of the gypsy custom that all gypsies are cousins, but in the case of this family, and after nearly three years of research, I have come to the conclusion that this statement may well have some foundation”
His new book, Herencía del Tiempo is based on the family of Fernando Peña Soto- El Pinini; a legendary singer who was born in Lebrija, Seville, in 1863, but who had spent nearly his entire life in the neighbouring town of Utrera.
The mythical El Pinini was patriarch to a family that has produced some of the most respected flamenco singers of the twentieth century.
La Fernanda and Bernarda de Utrera, Bambino, Miguel El Funi, Bastian Bacán or Pepa de Benito are just a mere few, but the author has also included many anonymous performers from with-in this family, whose reputation has rarely left their birthplace.
The author spent much time in Utrera and he soon made contact with some of the great-grandchildren of Pinini, who helped him to patch together the family’s immense genealogical tree; a chart that contains more than one-hundred flamenco performers, all of whom are included in the book.
Bryant said that it was necessary to understand the life style and customs of these people to truly understand the meaning of their music and “although at first I felt as though I had gate-crashed their village, I was quickly welcomed into the homes and lives of the most welcoming people of Spain; the gypsies!” The fruit of these unusual friendships are contained in this book.
The author had access to birth, baptism and death certificates as well as numerous other documents concerning this family; all of which has given him information that has never previously been published.                                                               
Through his friendship with members of the fourth and fifth generations of the Pinini clan, Bryant was able to witness this family’s flamenco tradition firsthand whilst also charting much of their family tree.
 The Pinini family were extremely interested in the authors work and they all showed an appreciation because someone was taking the time to research their family and its tradition.
Luis El Marquesito, a great-grandson of El Pinini, endorses the book with a preface, in which he thanks the author for his relentless work concerning his family.  
El Marquesito continues to say that it gives him great satisfaction to know that his grandchildren will be able to go to the library to read about their family.
 But the book does not only concern the Pinini family; it also traces the links that this family has, with other renowned families of Utrera like that of El Perrate and La Serneta.
The book contains the author’s opinions and knowledge, which has been based on extensive research and a relentless investigation of one of the biggest and most illustrious families in flamenco history.  
This book is an excellent follow-up to his last book and it will be an informative read for anyone interested in flamenco, or indeed in Andalucia.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Fosforito: a virtuoso of the cante flamenco.
Fosforito in Malaga 2007

A look at a remarkable career that has so far spanned more than fifty years
Antonio Fernandez Diaz, ‘Fosforito’, was born in Puente Genil in 1932: he is considered one of the twentieth century’s greatest artistes because his encyclopedic repertoire of flamenco song has made him one of the basic pillars of the natural school of flamenco, and also because he combines his vast knowledge with his rigorous sense of rhythm in order to reproduce song styles that are rarely sung by other singers.
He sings in a style known as a golpe, which is the most ancient and authentic style of flamenco where the singer keeps the rhythm with his knuckles on the tabletop.
Fosforito revived forgotten styles like the zángano from Puente Genil and brought new life to countless other old forms of flamenco song.
His career took off in 1956, when he won every prize in the non-professional section of the Córdoba Concurso de Cante Jondo, but like so many of his era; he spent his early years performing at local fairs, cattle markets and brothels.
In 1955, the young singer lost his voice after a stomach operation and it looked as though he might never sing again, but the Ayuntamiento de Puente Genil heard of his plight and gave him the gift of a Santos Hernández guitar; they also arranged for him to have lessons.
However, Fosforito knew that it was the singing of flamenco that really interested him, and because his voice had started to recover, and also because he was desperately short of money, he entered the Córdoba competition in 1956. He was a sensational revelation; winning first prize in difficult categories like the polo, caña, soleá and serrana.
After his success in Cordoba, he headed to Madrid to perform at the Teatro de la Zarzuela with the dancer Mariemma; from here he was employed to perform at the renowned flamenco tablao - El Corral de la Moreria.
He went on to perform at most of the top flamenco tablaos in Madrid and he also appeared at many of the summer flamenco festivals held throughout Spain: In 1962 he competed in the third Llave de Oro del Cante competition in Córdoba, although the award went to his life-long friend Antonio Mairena.
As one writer at the time declared, “Whilst the key went to Antonio Mairena, it was Fosforito who helped forge the lock into which it fits”.
Fosforito has had a most brilliant career, which has seen many awards and much praise bestowed upon him. In 1968 the Cátedra de Flamencologia de Jerez de la Frontera (Professorship of Flamencology) honored him with the national prize for cante and in 1985, he was awarded the second Compás del Cante. In 1999 he was presented with the coveted Premio Pastora Pavón; the highest flamenco award given by the Junta de Andalucia.
Since 1967, Puente Genil’s flamenco festival has bared his name, and as well as making him the town’s Hijo Predilecto (favourite son), he was also awarded the Medalla de Oro de Puente Genil.
Fosforito & Tony Bryant 2005
Fosforito has twelve flamenco peñas named after him in Spain and his name is even attached to a flamenco club in Switzerland. He has more than thirty recordings has to his credit, one of which is the vast “Antológica del Cante Flamenco”, which he recorded with Paco de Lucía in 1969. The anthology contains forty-eight different song styles and demonstrates his vast instruction of some of the most antiquated flamenco styles.
He writes his own lyrics, something rarely done by flamenco singers, and he composes songs for other flamenco artistes, which in the past have included Camarón de la Isla.
In 1999, Fosforito retired from the flamenco scene and a grand tribute concert was held in Madrid to celebrate one of the most respected careers in flamenco’s history, but the highlight of Fosforito’s career came in 2005 when he finally achieved the fifth  Llave de Oro; forty-three years after he had first competed back in 1962.
At present he is in semi-retirement, and although he can occasionally be seen performing at tablaos and peñas; his flamenco activity is directed to giving lectures on the history of flamenco; a history that he has helped to carve.
Fosforito is blessed with the gift that allows flamenco to express all of life’s emotions, a gift that is bestowed on only a few of the true masters of this art.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Ya está disponible la nueva versión en Español de Herencia del Tiempo: el libro tiene un precio de 15 Euros más una tarifa de franqueo de 5 Euros en España: precio total 20 Euros. Pago puede realizarse a través de PayPal o giro bancario; para obtener más información póngase en contacto con el autor directo en

Herencia del Tiempo                                    

ISBN 978-84-9727-479-1

Fernando Peña Soto-El Pinini (Lebrija, Sevilla 1863 - 1932) fue un legendario cantaor de flamenco que fue patriarca de una de las dinastías más grandes e ilustres de la historia del flamenco.
Las ramas del árbol de esta familia están cargados de algunos de los grandes nombres del flamenco, como La Fernanda de Utrera, Miguel El Funi, Pepa de Benito, El Lebrijano e Inés Bacán.
Este libro cartas de su linaje genealógico desde el siglo XVIII hasta la actualidad, y se verá que la mayoría de los artistas flamencos más reconocidos en Andalucía se acerca a una enorme familia.
“Herencia del tiempo” trata no solo de los gitanos andaluces en el flamenco, sino se refiere también a su forma de vida, sus costumbres y rituales, y por supuesto, su música y danza.
Muchas personas son conscientes de las costumbres gitanas que declara que todos los gitanos son primos - este libro demostrará que esta afirmación bien puede tener algún fundamento.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Diego el Cigala.

His name is internationally known and his concerts are performed at some of the top arenas in the world, yet Diego El Cigala grew up in the humble surroundings of Madrid’s famed El Rastro flea-market.
Born in Madrid in the December of 1968, the young gypsy had ideas of becoming a footballer, but he had always been affected by flamenco singing and would stop in his tracks on hearing an outburst of spontaneous song.
His mother was said to have astounded all who heard her sing, but, unlike her brother, Rafael Farina, she never sang professionally. His father, an Andalusian known as José de Córdoba, earned his living in a few of Madrid’s celebrated flamenco tablaos, including Torres Bermejas and El Corral de la Pacheca.

As with many flamenco singers, there have been varying theories as to how he received the pseudonym of El Cigala, yet it was not, as is frequently claimed, anything to do with Camarón de la Isla. He was given the name by the Losada brothers during his first tour, although the reason for the nickname remains uncertain.
There is also some confusion with his birth name because he was christened with the name of Ramón Jiménez Salazar; the name of Diego is said to be the result of a family dispute that took place during the actual baptism.

At the age of twelve, Diego won a flamenco singing competition that was organized in Madrid and soon after he started to sing for some of the top dancers of the period. Diego’s solo career got underway with the release of his first recording, Undebel, in 1997, but it was to be his second offering that was to instigate a change in his musical direction.
His second disc, released in 2000, was named Entre Vareta y Canasta and this caught the eye, and ear, of the Spanish film director Fernando Trueba; who showed a great interest in the work.
So much was his appreciation of the recording, he would produce the video clip that accompanied the single released from the album.
Fernando Trueba had recently produced a jazz documentary called Calle 54, and the following year Diego collaborated with some of the musicians who had participated in the film.  
Among these musicians were two people that would change the course of Diego’s life: they were Bebo Valdés and Jerry Gonzalez.
In 2001, he recorded his third disc Piratas del Flamenco, with the help of Jerry Gonzalez and a year later Diego conquered the Teatro Real in Madrid and a live recording of this concert became a monumental turning point in his career.
However, Diego had been overcome by the piano work of Bebo Valdés in Calle 54, and he longed to meet, and work, with the Cuban giant.
A meeting was arranged by Fernando Trueba and the two maestros met in private one Sunday morning and the result of this meeting was the first track of what was to become Lagrimas Negras; one of the most acclaimed albums of its time.

Diego’s record company had no real interest in this project and so Fernando Trueba administered the venture in order for the two to take their musical encounter further:
Trueba claimed that “everybody cried “the first time Bebo and Diego recorded together.
Lagrimas Negras was show-cased at the Gusman Theater in Miami, and the following days press bombarded the show with appraisals. Bebo Valdes was declared “a living classic of Cuban music”, and the album, which spent two years at the top of the charts, broke the boundaries of flamenco and Latin music.
During the lengthy tour to promote Lagrimas Negras Diego made time to record Cositas Buenas with Paco de Lucia, and in 2005 he returned to traditional flamenco with Picasso en mis ojos; a record dedicated to the celebrated malegueño artist.
The following year saw the release of a 5 CD compilation box-set of his work, and Picasso en mis ojos was awarded the “Best flamenco album of the year” at the Latin Grammy Awards.

Dos Lagrimas was the second part of the Cuban jazz/flamenco sequence and on this recording Diego would again use top Cuban jazz musicians to interpret boleros, coplas and tangos; confirming his capacity to adapt his voice to traditional world music.
This was further enforced when Diego changed musical direction for his next project – Cigala & Tango; a collection of the classic and contemporary Argentinian tangos.
The album was recorded live at the Teatro Gran Fex in Buenas Aires and Diego performed with jazz musicians from both sides of the Atlantic: the show was declared “ an andalusian musical invasion”, and Diego El Cigala, as the “Sinatra of Flamenco”.

His last project was the formation of his own record label – Cigala Music, and together with the backing of Warner Music, he has produced the works of many of the artistes he has previously worked with.
His policy concerning the label is to ‘speculate on the new and retrieve the forgotten’. These words just about sum up the man himself because Diego el Cigala is one of today’s most inspiring flamenco singers and his 2003 album Lagrimas Negras, has earned its place among the greatest records ever made.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

New Spanish version of A Time-defying heritage now available

Herencia del Tiempo

ISBN 978-84-9727-479-1

A Spanish version of the book which studies the roots of one of the most influential families in the history of flamenco was released in Seville during Semana Santa.
The English version of this book, A time-defying heritage, by English author Tony Bryant, was released last summer and has sold relatively well; although the author explains that the majority have been sold outside of Spain; mainly to Latin American countries.
Herencia del Tiempo is to be presented later this month in the town of Utrera in Sevilla, because this old flamenco town is fundamental to the book. Many of the flamenco performers discussed in the book have roots in this town and many of this illustrious family helped Tony piece together this colossal genealogical tree.
The book is also prefaced by Luis El Marquesito; one of Utrera’s top flamenco singers; he is also the great-grandson of Fernando El Pinini - the patriarch of the book.

The author says that it is a great honor to have ones work translated into the language of the country one has adopted as home, and he says he is indebted for the amount of help and assistance he received whilst writing the book. 
Herencia del tiempo traces the roots and genealogical lines of the gypsies of lower Andalusia and it will show that most of the gypsies in this area are approximating one huge family. Many people are aware of the Romany custom that declares all gypsies are cousins; this book will demonstrate that this assertion may well have some foundations
Tony Bryant is also the author of Flamenco; an Englishman’s passion and he writes articles for various publications concerning andalusian customs and traditions, the gypsies and their music, and Spanish culture in general.
He has had work published in Spain, France, America and Israel and he is also a regular contributor to the London based Flamenco News magazine , as well as being affiliated with the state- of- the- art flamenco dance museum in Seville.
The English version of Flamenco; an Englishman’s passion & A time-defying heritage can be purchased from

The new Spanish edition can be ordered from and  at and  will soon be available in El Corte Inglés and various other outlets throughout Spain.

Tony Bryant can be contacted at
Tel: 669838564 – 952 38 65 40