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Thursday, August 28, 10:00 p.m.
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José Mercé was born in 1955. He is the great grandson of Paco Luz [maestro of seguiriyas] and nephew of Manuel Soto ‘Sordera’, patriarch of Jerez flamenco. He takes his artistic name, ‘Mercé’, from the Basílica de la Mercedwhere he sangas a choirboy from the ages of 6 to 12.
Mr. Mercé discovered his passion for flamenco early in life. His career as cantaor beganat Manuel Morao’s Jueves Flamenco [Flamenco Thursdays] and at the popular tablao [flamenco tavern] La Cueva del Pájaro Azul, alongside other great artists such as Rancapino, Pepa de Utrera, and Juan Villar.
At 13 Mr. Mercé moved to Madrid – where he still lives today- for the recording of his first album under the production of poet Manuel Ríos Ruiz. Only a few years later, he became one of the most sought-after singers for accompanying dance. In fact, while still a minor, Antonio Gades brought José into his ballet company. The Jerez-born cantaor fervently works nonstop, taking part in countless projects, among the most relevant, the National Ballet and Carlos Saura’s movie, ‘Bodas de Sangre’.
‘Cultura Jonda 14. Bandera de Andalucía’, Mercé’s first record, was released in 1968. Since then, his influential recordings such as ‘Verde Junco’ (1983) or ‘Desnudando el Alma’ (1994) have reshaped the traditional sounds of Flamenco singing. Still, his greatest work is the seminal ‘Del Amanecer’ (1998) produced by guitarist Vicente Amigo, which achieved unprecedented success for a flamenco recording.
Mr. Mercé has released 17 albums in his career. While he has collaborated with great non- flamenco artists –Manu Chao, Luis Eduardo Aute, Louis Armstrong, and Pablo Milanés-he has maintained the pure essence of cante, and remains one of the premier artists in the flamenco world.