And His Flamenco Guitar
From the back cover: Carlos Montoya was born in Madrid. He is, as the Spaniards say, "gitano per los cuatro costados," or literally, "gypsy on all four sides." This directly affects his music and his playing, for to play Flamenco one must have at least some gypsy in the blood. Herein lies the difference in approach which distinguishes Flamenco from classical guitar. As Carlos says, Flamenco must come from the heart.
At the age of eighth Carlos started playing. He learned first from his mother, la Tula," then from "Pepe el Barbero,' a barber in Madrid who also taught the guitar. After one year Pepe said there was nothing more he could teach his talented pupil, so Carlos left to gain what he could from the great Flamenco guitarists of the time. At fourteen he was playing in the "cafes cantantes,' in the heyday of Flamenco singing and dancing, for such fabulous artists as Antonio de Bilbao, Jaun el Estampio, La Macaroni and La Camisona.
Montoya's real training came, however, in the school of experience. When the late Antonia Merce – "la Argentina" – came to Madrid looking for a guitarist, she chose Montoya. Thus he left his native Spain for the first time to tour all Europe with her for three years. This was only the beginning of his many concert tours which were to take him all over the world. After performing with Merce, he went on to play with all the great names of the time – La Argentina, Antonio, Vincenta Escudero, Carmen Amaya when she was still a child, Teresina, and many more.
In 1945 Montoya took a step unheard of for Flamenco guitarists, who had always worked with a singer or dancer. He decided to give a fun concert recital of Flamenco guitar music. Since the repertoire of most Flamenco players is limited, such a program had never been presented. It was a formidable idea, but Carlos Montoya realized it with equally formidable success, giving solo recitals both in Europe and throughout the United States and Canada. Gaining an ever-growing following, he culminated these appearances with his most recent Town Hall concert on April 27, 1961, which was so crowded that seventy-five extra seats had to be placed on the stage to take care of the overflow audience.
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