Santa Fe Performance Exchange
Bringing local and national musicians to Santa Fe venues

Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012, 7:30 pm Saturday: Chuscales – My Gypsy Soul $25 ($26.87 w/service fee) advance purchase

With special guests Mina Valle Fajardo, Flamenco Dancer; Juan Siddi, Flamenco Dancer; Vicente Griego, "El Cartucho", Flamenco Vocals; Alejandro Valle Fajardo, Cajon (percussion); Janira Cordova, Flamenco Dancer; Nicholas Cordova, Flamenco Guitar; Emmy Molina; La Charo

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 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). [Chusco’s website]

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’s website]

Juan Siddi Aivar – Juan 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.

For these special performances, Chusco will be joined by Nicholas Cordova on guitar and his sister Janira Cordova, a flamenco dancer. Both Nicholas and Janira are students at St. Michael’s High School. Also accompanying Chusco will be his son Alejandro on percussion. Also performing will be Emmy Molina and La Charo.