SPECIAL FEATURE. ORQUESTA CHEKARA, 50 YEARS OF AL-ANDALUSIAN FLAMENCO

Orquesta Chekara de Tetuán,
half a century of Al-Andalusian flamenco

S.C. Madrid, July 15th, 2009

A re-launched Teatro Lara chose one of the most logical and fruitful encounters between world music in the last few decades to open its summer season. The Orquesta Chekara de Tetuán got up on the vintage Madrilenian stage to celebrate its half-century of life and confirm its stakes on Al-Andalusian flamenco. Currently led by violinist and singer Jallal Chekara - nephew and musical heir to founder Abdessadak Chekara -, its core lies in the natural dialogue between both shores of the Strait of Gibraltar. And every time the group starts playing violin, cello, kanun, lute, nay, derbuka together… with flamenco guitar, cante and baile, both sides turn into a single one, into an emotional remembrance of what they were for seven centuries.

That’s what the night before was like at the Festival La Mar de Músicas 2009 in Cartagena, where the celebration was joined by cantaores Arcángel and Lole Montoya. And the thing is that in the history of the Orquesta Chekara de Tetuán, collaborations with jondo artists have been continuous. The starting point was the album ‘Macama jonda’ by José Heredia Maya, with a dialogue between the orchestra of Abdessadak Chekara (1931-1998), Enrique Morente, Antonia la Negra, El Polaco and Jaime el Parrón. Little by little, projects were added such as ‘Dos orillas’ with Carmen Linares, ‘Cus Cus Flamenco’ with Segundo Falcón and Arcángel, ‘Tierra de nadie’ with Segundo Falcón and the Orquesta Maharaha de Rajastán, ‘Inmigración’ with the Ángeles Gabaldón Company… And moreover, continuous collaborations with Morente and occasional collaborations with El Pele, Esperanza Fernández, La Susi and David Palomar, among others.

Highslide JSOrquesta Chekara de Tetuán at Teatro Lara de Madrid (Photo Daniel Muñoz)

It is reflected by the album ‘La Chekara y el flamenco’, which includes the soleá por bulerías ‘Soneto X’ with Enrique Morente, the soleá apolá ‘Yarahtini’ with Segundo Falcón and Paco Jarana, and the song ‘Ya Wolidi’ from the soundtrack of the show ‘Inmigración’. But the repertoire of this independent production feeds mainly on the song which the band performs with its usual group, highlighted by young flamenco artists like cantaores Vicente Gelo and Alicia Acuña, and guitarist Raúl Cantizano. None of the three, nor Sevillian bailaora La Choni, missed the Chekara’s concert at the Teatro Lara in Madrid, where despite the poor organization, they managed to carry out their thousand and one crossings.

The understanding por tangos is clear and key, but what is very interesting are the games between traditional cantaor forms, common and/or compatible rhythms, and vocal dialogues from one side and the other. The garrotín appears there, some fandangos straddle tanguillos over there, and farruca, and ‘La bien pagá’. A decade has now gone by since the death of Abdessadak Chekara, who recorded the album ‘The upside-down violin, live’ with Michael Nyman in 1992, but his Al-Andalusian flamenco lives on… In fact, this very summer the orchestra will visit Festimed de Torrenueva in Granada (August 22nd), Festival Dos Abrazos in Santiago de Compostela (August 27th), and with Lole as guest artist, Festival 3 Culturas de Montanchez in Cáceres (August 28th). In autumn, they will attend Festival Madrid Sur (Fuenlabrada and Leganés) as well as Womex 09… All of that on this side, since at the end of the year they are also scheduled to take their music to the other shore, to Rabat and Casablanca, continuing the historic round-trip musical journey.

Highslide JS
Raúl Cantizano with Orquesta Chekara (Photo Daniel Muñoz)
Highslide JS
Orquesta Chekara de Tetuán at Teatro Lara de Madrid (Photo Daniel Muñoz)

Further information

Special Feature. Listening Guide. Flamenco and World Music

Seville’s 2004 Bienal de Flamenco. ‘Tierra de nadie’, Segundo Falcón + Orquesta Chekara de Tetuán + Orquesta Maharahá de Rajastán. Review, photos, video

 
 

CD: Orquesta Chekara de Tetuán, 'La Chekara y el Flamenco'

More information, audio, orders

 

CD: Enrique Morente, 'Pablo de Málaga'

More information, audio, orders

 

Enrique Morente
Biography, discography, audio and readers' comments

 

 
If you want to be a real flamenco surfer type
down your e-mail and we'll keep you updated: