“He may be considered the creator of the flamenco concert guitar, because in spite of the decent but few predecessors that existed, he was responsible for the incorporation and improvement of all the mechanisms that are known at present”. – José Blas Vega.
Ramón Montoya (November 2, 1880, Madrid, Spain – June 20, 1949, Madrid, Spain), Flamenco guitarist and composer.
Born into a family of Gitano (Romani) cattle traders, Ramón Montoya used earnings from working in the trade to buy his first guitar. He began playing in the cafés de cante before he was twenty years of age.
He formed a partnership with the flamenco cantaor (singer) Antonio Chacón since 1912 that lasted for more than a decade. These two were largely responsible for establishing the form of the various traditional flamenco cantes that are recognized today.
In traditional flamenco, the guitar was relegated to a supporting role. Cante (singing) and baile (dance) were the main performers whom the guitarist supported. Montoya was one of the first to challenge this role. His strong playing often overpowered the singer whom he accompanied. He eventually took the next logical step and began to play as a solo or lead performer in a concert setting. His performances are widely credited by flamenco historians as establishing the flamenco guitar in this role.
He was the single most influential flamenco guitarist of the 20th century. His innovations made possible the solo careers of such later greats as Sabicas, Paco de Lucía and Tomatito.
Uncle of Carlos Montoya.
Ramón Montoya is one of the timeless masters of the flamenco guitar. He has been an authentic teacher for guitarists like Paco de Lucía, Niño Ricardo and Sabicas, and he continues to serve that function for young tocaores of the present generation. All of the palos (forms) that he played still bear his imprint and the numerous features that he introduced and were unknown before him are still in use today, fifty years after his death.
He showed his skill at accompanying dancing and singing very precociously, a skill that allowed him to work with Juan Breva, Niño de Marchena, Salud Rodríguez, Antonio de Bilbao, La Macarrona and La Niña de los Peines in the café cantantes in Madrid, where he played for many years. Nonetheless, the person with whom he formed the best artistic partnership was Antonio Chacón, “the master of all the flamenco cantes”, in the words of Montoya himself, who he performed with for fifteen years.
Another great contribution made by Ramón Montoya to the flamenco guitar was that of introducing guitar concerts. Until that moment, guitarists had only made few and not very significant attempts to play the guitar as an instrument for solo concerts, without accompanying singing or dancing. It was in this facet that Montoya travelled around Europe and America, as a solo artist.
Label: Fods Records
scratchy and beautiful.
mp3 320kbps | w/ scans | 93mb
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