Mercedes Luján, José del Tomate, Raúl Cantizano and dancer Sara Jiménez
Mercedes Luján comes from a family of artists from Lorca (Murcia), and is regarded by many to be the best female flamenco guitarist on the contemporary scene. She displays great confidence onstage, shows extreme delicacy in her technique and plays in a very classical style, with echoes of Morón, Melchor and Jerez. A lot of Mercedes’ current work centers on actively promoting female guitarists.
Despite her youth, Luján has accompanied many of the leading flamenco singers such as Rocío Márquez, Sorderita, Pedro “El Granaíno”, Perlita de Huelva and the maestro Juan Valderrama with whom she is currently working on the tour of the Mujeres de Carne y Verso project.
Mercedes also performs with her all-female group within Spain and internationally. She also performs within several collaborative projects such as her special Arabic-Flamenco Duo with Fusion guitarist/oud player Kamal Musallam, as well as her collaboration with the all-female Firdaus Orchestra in Dubai and beyond.
Flamenco in its purest form is presented by José del Tomate, the young and up and coming player from Almería who takes his artistic name from his father and teacher, the renowned Tomatito, one of the very greatest names in flamenco. The Tomatito school has legions of followers but has only one single heir because of his exceptional artistic merit, and his name is José del Tomate. His father, Tomatito, and his great-grand-father, Miguel Fernández Cortés “El Tomate”, a nickname that his grandfather also carried before him, are his artistic inspiration with further influences from Sabicas and Paco de Lucía.
Following his family into the world of flamenco aged 13 and now only 24 years old, he has participated professionally in a host of important festivals such as the International Festival of Cante de las Minas, Suma Flamenca de Madrid and the International Festival of Music & Dance of Granada and also accompanied his father on international tours that took him to New York, Miami, Puerto Rico, Boston and Washington. Recently, he presented his first album Plaza Vieja by Universal Music.
Raúl Cantizano brings the most contemporary approach to this evening. An unclassifiable and unique guitarist, Cantizano is an explorer of the limits of the instrument, indeed of flamenco itself. His music, between flamenco, ambient, improvisation and rock, is experimental in the fullest sense of the word. This exceptional and unconventional flamenco player is celebrated and derided by various sections of the flamenco world in equal measure, his playing being both iconoclastic and combative, as evidenced by his solo recordings with prepared guitar as well as in his many collaborations with a wide variety of other musicians.
His latest work Zona Acordonada, an audiovisual concert of flamenco guitar prepared together with Los Voluble was premiered at the XXI Bienal de Flamenco de Sevilla.
Sara Jiménez is a dancer and choreographer from in Granada. She graduated from the Conservatorio Profesional de Danza Reina Sofía de Granada in Spanish dance and flamenco and received a scholarship from the Centro Andaluz de Danza de Sevilla under the direction of Blanca Li. Her works as a choreographer include Fandango18, Saldiguera, Vía Bamba, Tápate Niña, VARIACIÓN a tempo, Recital Flamenco and Real de la Alhambra. In addition to her solo work, she has participated as a solo dancer with Estévez & Paños, Ballet Flamenco de Andalucía, Eduardo Guerrero, Daniel Doña and Wang Ramirez among others.
She is currently starting a new journey as Sara Jiménez en Compañía and her opera prima ADIOSSES, directed by Juan Kruz Díaz de Garaio Esnaola, as well as continuing to collaborate with different music and performing arts companies. She has won many international awards, including no less than five major prizes in 2022 alone.