I wish you could see it, to see 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 the best 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." Chuscales began guitar lessons at age six under the tutelage of Joaquín Fajardo, one of the many masters in the region where Segovia and other greats have studied. As a teenager, Chuscales sought the company of Paco de Lucía, who often performed in the area and would take time to teach the talented youngster and answer his questions.
Meanwhile, Chuscales began his performing career as a dancer — an experience that provides him with a detailed understanding of flamenco's rhythmic nuances. He says, "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, to play strong or soft so when a dancer asks me for something, I know what they ask." Chuscales visited North America often, educating North Americans on the subject of flamenco at college campuses.
He met with some of the flamenco-influenced artists such as Ottmar Liebert and Jesse Cook, who were playing popular light flamenco rumbas. Encuentros Del Alma, Chuscales' first recording for the United States label Narada, showcases his ability in performing traditional styles in an accessible, highly listenable format designed to draw people toward flamenco's core. "This recording is more delicate than traditional flamenco. I want to perform flamenco with passion so everyone can enjoy it, to bring flamenco and other music together with me in the middle. I hope I can go on delivering music with flamenco ideas but composed in a way that even pop music listeners will enjoy it." Whether versed in flamenco traditions or Western pop, few audiences are unaffected by the spirited power of Chuscales performing solo with a single dancer.
Kyle Zimmerman, who photographed the duo for the album cover, described the experience. "When we first got there, she was dancing by herself without any music. She dances and she hears the music in her body. She can go on and dance, and that music is still in the room.
I spent some time alone with Chuscales and his music is just as intense. They were like two strong trees — they were next to each other, they were affected by each other, but they each could stand alone." While Chuscales' affinity for dance is delightfully apparent in his artistry, unifying 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 a cave learning flamenco from 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." Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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