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JUAN MARTIN | OCT 26th, 2023
The Square, Vancouver, Canada
Juan Martín learned his art in the land of its origin, Andalucia in southern Spain where he spent his early formative years and where he still retains a home. As a teenager he played in local fiestas, weddings and baptisms, developing his knowledge and skills in the disciplines of the purest traditions of flamenco. At the age of 17, already playing professionally, he performed in the film ‘Donde tu estés’, filmed in the Málaga region. He also accompanied singers including El Chocolate, Manolo Gafas and Antonio Canillas At the age of 18 he went to Madrid where he gained wide experience with many leading players, dancers and singers. He was greatly influenced by the example and encouragement of the legendary guitarist Niño Ricardo and Juan also became a regular visitor to the home of his friend Paco de Lucía with whom he studied in his early twenties.
These early years provided the basis for his career as a solo performer and leader of his own dance companies, a challenging vocation which has bought him International acclaim as an innovative concert performer, broadcaster and recording artist.
He was voted into the top flamenco guitarists by the magazine Guitar Player for two years running and was invited to perform at Picasso’s 90th birthday celebrations which later led him to record his ground breaking album Picasso Portraits. He has performed at major festivals worldwide including Montreux Jazz twice, once with Miles Davis, the First World Guitar Congress in the USA, The Adelaide Guitar Festival, Celtic Connections, Ludwigsberg , Atlantic Jazz in Canada and the Hong Kong Festival amongst others. He was also featured in the flamenco festivals in Cádiz province as well as the prestigeous Ojen Festival in Málaga.
His interest in the Moorish roots of flamenco led him to record Música Alhambra in 1996 rediscovering Andalusí and Sephardic music from the 12th and 13th Centuries. More recent recording have included ‘La Guitarra – Mi Vida’ as a duo with his colleague Chaparro de Málaga, a live flamenco performance at the Barbican as well as filmed performances both at the Barbican in London and in the Roman Arena in Istanbul. His previous recordings include Serenade (recorded with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra), Painter in Sound (with Mark Isham), Through the Moving Window, El Alquimista (recorded with other instrumentation in Spain) and solo albums including The Early Years, The Flamenco Soul of Juan Martín, Olé Don Juan, Solo, The Andalucian Suites and Luna Negra as well as flamenco albums with the singer Antonio Aparecida.
Juan Martín has a passion for communicating the mysteries of his art to a wider audience so in 1978 he published his first method book “El Arte Flamenco de la Guitarra” which has become a best seller, has never been out of print and has been described as having an authority comprable to Fernando Sor’s studies for the classical guitar. This book was followed by a video series now released as a book with dvds “La Guitarra Flamenca”, “Solos Flamencos” volumes one and two with cd and dvd and his most recent books “Essential Flamenco” volumes one and two. He has also produced transcriptions of his compositions the latest of which is a transcription of 8 solos either in music or tablature called “Guitarra Solista”. His commitment to his art has taken him to at least 40 countries around the world for concerts and he now holds a annual guitar course in Ronda, Andalucia as well as a variety of master classes initiating others into the historic traditions and exciting developments in the art today.
Reviewers have compared his compositions to those of the great Spanish composers Tarrega and Turina and his compositions often reflect the historic sense of places, people and paintings that characterise the remarkable range and depth of his artistry today including his profound sensitivity to the beauties of sound and rhythmic ímpetus of which his guitar is capable.