Lauded by the press as “the voice of a new generation of cante jondo singers”, Rocío Márquez (Huelva, 1985) has been carving out a solid artistic career for over a decade, ever since she won the Lámpara Minera Award at the Cante de las Minas Festival in 2008. Today, she is a leading light of the flamenco scene.
Her restless personality and enormous curiosity can be seen throughout her discography, which is marked by both a deep love of the flamenco tradition and an overriding need to expand its limits, exploring and experimenting with melodies, instrumentation, arrangements and lyrics. Starting with the fresh-sounding live recording “Aquí y ahora” (2009), her albums are the chronicle of a soaring talent. “Claridad” (2012), “El Niño” (2014), “Firmamento” (2017) and “Visto en El Jueves” (2019) – as well as her collaboration with Fahmi Alqhai, “Diálogos de viejos y nuevos sones” (2018) – reveal an artist who is constantly searching for herself through music.
This search, which is full of risks, has met with critical acclaim in the form of the Giraldillo Award for Innovation at the Bienal de Flamenco Festival in Seville and the Coups de Coeur Award from the Charles Cros Academy (France). She has also been warmly received by the public, playing to over 2000 people, for example, at a concert in Madrid last year. But perhaps the most significant consequence of this search is that along the way, Rocío has found her own artistic identity. And in order to understand this identity, one must consider the multi-faceted aspects of her career, looking at it from different perspectives, be it conquering major concert halls such as the Teatro Real (Madrid), the Auditorio Nacional (Madrid), the Palau de la Múscia (Barcelona), L’Olympia (Paris), and the Philharmonie de Paris, showcasing her unorthodox flamenco at the European Film Awards, Primavera Sound, and Monkey Week, or presenting her more experimental projects at the Matadero (Madrid) and the CCCB (Barcelona).
That same creative restlessness has seen her share the stage with Jorge Drexler (with whom she presented ‘Aquellos Puentes Sutiles’ in 2018), Rosa Torres Pardo, Arcángel, Carmen Linares, and José Manuel Zapata, and record with The New Raemon, Christina Rosenvinge, Kiko Veneno, Albert Plá, Dani de Morón, Diego Carrasco, and Refree.
As well as her artistic merits, Rocío Márquez holds a doctorate (cum laude) from the University of Seville (her thesis was titled “Vocal Technique in Flamenco”), teaches on the inter-university Master’s in Research and Analysis of Flamenco, and is a regular guest speaker on the vocal aspects of flamenco.
MIGUEL ANGEL CORTÉS
Miguel Ángel Cortés was born in Granada. He descends from a long line of flamenco guitar players. Therefore, it can hardly be called a wonder that Miguel Ángel is continuing this tradition. With eight-year-old he got to know the world of flamenco through the famous Sacramonte Zambra. In 1986 already, he started working as an accompanist for great dancers such as Mariquilla, Manolete, Antonio Canales, Javier Barón and Juan Andrés Maya. With these stars, he completed several tours throughout Europe, the Middle East, the U.S. and Japan. Furthermore, he also made an early start in accompanying the greatest Cante Flamenco figures, as there are Jose de la Tomasa, José Merce, Chano Lobato, Luis Heredia “El Polaco”, Morenito de Illora and Estrella Morente. In 1990 he started working with singer Carmen Linares.
In 1994 he won the first Premio del Certamen de Guitarra Paco de Lucia. In 1995, he collaborated on the recording of the “Omega” CD by and with Enrique Morente. Since then, he has often been invited for recordings, e.g. by Estrella Morente, El Polaco and Paco Cortés.
His solo work shows prove an extraordinary refinement and sensitivity on the field of classical guitar play, but also combined with a meticulous search for new forms of music.
Although he has on many occasions proven to be an excellent solo guitar player, he still collected the majority of his fame in being one of the greatest contemporary guitar players for accompaniment of singers. The fact that he recently has been sharing the stage with the biggest stars from the Cante proves this fact. Artists such as Estrella Morente, Carmen Linares, Arcángel, Miguel Poveda, Esperanza Fernandez or Rocío Márquez have all been known to call on his exceptional talent.
Miguel Ángel Cortés is definitely an artist who has already been through an immense evolution, but who also gives proof of a persistent artistic growth. A virtuoso who still faces a long and promising career.