Diego El Cigala

Ramon Jimenez Salazar’s name is on El Cigala’s passport. Diego’s name was created by a family dispute at the baptismal font. El Cigala was the name that Diego received from the Losada btothers during one of their first tours. Diego was born on December 12, 1968, in Provisiones street close to the Madrilian fleet marketplace “El Rastro”. Aurora Salazar Motos (his mother), was the sister of Rafael Farina, a great Spanish musician. However, she did not pursue a career as a singer, but her flamenco voice touched many. His Andalusian father, Jose de Cordoba, made a living at popular tablaos (flamenco clubs) such as Torres Bermejas, El Corral de la Pacheca and Arco de Cuchilleros. He loved to chase a football, but he was always drawn to a song and would give up everything to hear it. He was just twelve years old when he won Certamen Flamenco Joven de Getafe, a competition for flamenco singers in Madrid. Also, he received an award in “Gente Joven”, a Spanish television show. He began singing for flamenco dancers like Mario Maya and Manuel Camacho, Cristobal Reyes, Farrruco, Farrruco, Manuel Camacho, El Guito and many others. His collaboration has been a source of inspiration for musicians such as Camaron and Tomatito, Gerardo Nunez, Vicente Amigo, and Gerardo Nunez. He began his solo career in 1997 with “Undebel”, which was produced by David Amaya. The album featured Anton Jimenez’s guitars, David Amaya’s, Paquete’s and Tomatito. 18 Chulos released his second album, “Entre vareta y canasta”, in 2000. It was owned by artists Wyoming, Santiago Segura and Faemino y Cansado. El CIgala is a Spanish film director who introduced Wyoming to Fernando Trueba. Trueba was particularly interested in the CD’s title and made the videoclip. He launches “Corren tiempos de alegria” a year later with the help of some jazz musicians who were part of “Calle 54”, a Trueba film. Bebo Valdes, Jerry Gonzalez and Jerry Gonzalez were just two of the artists that would make his career. It was nominated at the Latino Grammy’s for best flamenco album. He recorded “Piratas del flamenco” with Jerry Gonzalez. They both toured across Mexico and Spain in a spectacular live show. El Cigala won the Teatro real in Madrid, one of the most sought-after stages. This concert recording, which also featured Nino Josele as a collaborator, was a landmark flamenco manifesto of the Madrilian singer. Diego saw the movie “Calle 54” in its final editing stages and was struck by the sight of Bebo Valdes playing Lagrimas Negras with Cachao. He decided to meet the pianist and play with him. Consuelo Valdes wrote “Amar y vivir”, which he began singing. This would be the first studio song he would record together with Bebo. It was also featured on the album “Tiempos de Alegria”. It was Sunday morning when Diego and Bebo recorded the song together. “Everybody cried”, Fernando Trueba commented. Both Diego and Cigala believed that this first collaboration was only the beginning and they needed to continue their musical encounter. Fernando Trueba was the missing link to their musical encounter, as the record label did not show any interest. Fernando Trueba was the missing link that allowed them to realize the ideas that surged between the piano and the voice. Bebo realizes that he doesn’t have the time he wanted. “You are both young; and I am not.” They kept it simple and put their heads down. Cigala, Valdes and “Lagrimas Negras”, were presented at the Gusman Theatre, Miami, before the end. The press called the pianist “a living legend of Cuban music” while describing the flamenco singer “the Sinatra of flamenco”. “Lagrimas Negras,” a project that began as an informal, spontaneous effort, grew into an unstoppable boom in 2003. It was favored by thousands of families around the globe and transcended the boundaries of Latin music and flamenco to become a part of prestigious record labels. This album remained at the top of the charts for two years thanks to the excellent criticism and the brilliant defense of their live shows by these two geniuses. The Ondas Award was the first in a long list of awards that included five Amigo Awards, five Microfono de Oro Awards, and five Latino Grammy nominations. Ben Ratliff, a harsh music critic for the New York Times, had already named this album the Album of the Year in 2003. Diego recorded a song with Paco de Lucia from “Cositas Buenas”, in the middle of his never-ending “Lagrimas Nagras” tour. This track was the main theme of David Trueba’s film “Soldados de Salamina”. Diego decided to retume to flamenco in 2005 to pay homage to Pablo Ruiz Picasso, one of the most important painters of all time. This CD features musicians like Paco de Lucia (Tomatito), Raimundo amador, Josemi Carpenter, and Jerry Gonzalez. The lyrics range from “Se equivoco a paloma” by Rafael Albeiti, to contemporary tunes by Javier Rubial Krahe, Carlos Chaouen, and others. “Picasso In My Eyes” was renamed “Disco de Oro” both in Spain and Venezuela. 2006 saw the release of “Cigala”, a compilation of Diego’s work on 5 CDs. At the Biannual in Seville, he also performed with Salif Keita who is considered to be the best African singer. This occasion confirmed Diego’s ability to adapt his style and make great traditional music. The Latino Grammy’s ceremony saw Cigala become the main attraction, receiving the Best Flamenco Album award “Picasso en mis ojos” and the Best Videoclip award “Blanco y Negro”, directed in part by Fernando Trueba. El Cigala was busy with concerts, concerts, collaborations, and playing with his two children Rafael and Diego for a few hours, but he still managed to make time to finish his new album, “Dos Lagrimas”. Top Cuban and Spanish musicians interpret boleros and coplas in this new album. The album will soon be available in record shops. It has been presented at exceptional concerts such as the one at Mar de Musicas Festival, Cartagena, and the one in Madrid. We also listened to him in 2007 in the main track of “Y tu?quien eres?” Antonio Mercero directed the film, which focuses upon the difficulties that Alzheimer patients face. All these things are happening, but Diego’s insatiable mind dreamed of new projects that would be a reality. “I must record an album with a symphonic band.” He assures that he can close his eyes and see himself surrounded by musicians and my guitarist next to him. From www.elcigala.com

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