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Carlos Montoya

A Spanish guitarist and composer, Carlos Montoya made a lasting contribution to music between the 20s and 50s. He introduced the flamenco style of music as a serious form of guitar music. Traditionally flamenco music was used to accompany gypsy folk dancers and singers but Carlos Montoya changed it into a main genre of music.

Carlos Montoya was born into a gypsy family in Spain. His interest in music and the guitar began at an early age. He began studying the guitar with his mother and a neighboring barber, eventually learning from Pepe el Barbero, a guitarist and teacher. Not only was he interested in playing the guitar, Carlos Montoya wanted to learn the history of flamenco music. Flamenco music came out of the Moorish invasion of Spain. His uncle, Ramon Montoya, was a successful flamenco guitarist also. Carlos Montoya started playing professionally at the age of 14, playing for singers and dancers at the cafes in Madrid. Two of the dancers he most often played for were La Teresina and La Argentina.

Wanting to broaden his musical career, Carlos Montoya began touring in the 20s and 30s. His tours included performances in Europe, Asia and North America. He accompanied several performers including La Argentina again. He had finally made a name for himself as a flamenco guitarist.

When World War II broke out in the 1940s, Carlos Montoya was on tour in the United States with dancer La Argentinita. During the war he decided to settle in New York City and eventually became a United States citizen. In 1945 La Argentinita died but Carlos Montoya toured on his own, opening his repertoire to include not only flamenco but also blues, jazz and folk music.

His career took a different turn in 1948 when he began touring with symphonies and orchestras and performing his own guitar recitals. Carlos Montoya became the first flamenco guitarist to tour the world with symphonies and orchestras. His appearances did not stop there, he performed on television and gave several solo recitals. During his touring he recorded more than 40 albums, some with symphonies and orchestras. His albums include Flamenco Guitar and The Art of Flamenco. One of the most notable is Suite flamenco, a concerto he performed with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra in 1966.

Carlos Montoya made a very important contribution to flamenco music, transforming it from a dance accompaniment to a style of its own. With his own style, he adapted it to other genres of music, all along making himself an international star. Carlos Montoya died at the age of 89 in Wainscott, NY. ~ Kim Summers, Rovi
full bio

Comments

This is one of my all time favorites, and Montoyo is the best I've heard.
montoya & Segovia>>>>m y favorites
sacredfun6
The bio states Flamenco came out of the Moorish invasion of Spain which is oversimplifi e d . Flamenco is Andalusian gypsy music, and gypsies came from India in medieval times. They synthesized native Andalusian folk music (Arabic ud, Iberian lute, Sephardic, Greek, Roman, Visigoth Christian, etc) with their own. Flamenco dancing has similarities to Hindu classical dance.
johnnyohania n
I didn't know he was bald!
YEs, me too - he was one of my first inspirations - but I didn't know his biography - I was just turned on! Then I got to see Sabicas in person, I guess I was ten and that was 1955 ... wow!
good music
mojo2373
When I think back to why I wanted to play the guitar, first person I can think of as my inspiration is Carlos Montoya. Thank you, sir, for all of us who have been moved by you.
renglish0021
the guitar in the the hands of Carlos Montoyna,tal k s to my soul,like no other music.i love a lot of other music styles,but i thing he's the best ever,born in 1945 i've heard all types,and play,but he'# one!
First there was Montoya and Segovia, then there were all the others, Sebicas and others. But Carlos Montoya played true pure Flamenco. Others just followed, same for Segovia in Classical. Who else can interpert Rodrigo with such feeling and love. Do not forget the Romero family either, especially Angel Romero
His peer group included Andres Segovia... a true Maestro of Flamenco.
bigpoppavr6
... in this case the chicken came before the eggs...
jyniguez
Great stuff, but I think the younger guys (Paco, Gerardo Nunez, Vicente Amigo, Juan Carlos Romero, Tomatito, etc.) have really taken Flamenco much further.
This is really the rithom and flavor of Spanish Flamenco at it's best!!!
WONDERFUL MUSICIAN,SAW HIM AT MY COLLEGE IN 1969.

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