Sebastian Cruz Zarabanda

Release date:
February 16, 2024
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Sebastian Cruz possesses one of the most distinctive voices in the flamenco world today. He started out earning a living as a slaughterman, but has always had a deep-rooted connection to music and to the natural world of his native Andalusia. His life was changed when, a few years ago, he came across the film "Tous les matins du monde", starring Gerard Depardieu as Marin Marais, with its soundtrack of works by Marin Marais and Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe performed by Jordi Savall. From that moment onwards, the music of these pioneering Baroque composers, which had touched him with such unique intensity, filled his mind as he spent time in the Huelva countryside with his beloved greyhounds and horses. On this album, Cruz explores a century and more of flamenco history, venturing into a new soundworld and creating musical poems that express his innermost being. Open to an array of influences, he pushes the strict boundaries of flamenco tradition with incomparable vocal passion and emotional depth. Sebastian Cruz sees flamenco with his heart and, together with kindred spirit Raúl Cantizano, his friend and musical director, forges breathtaking music that speaks to both body and soul. (Translation: Susannah Howe) Sebastian Cruz, born in 1977 in Beas, lives in Niebla, both villages are located near Huelva, close to the Gulf of Cadiz. He is deeply attached to his homeland, loves the country life, likes to spend time with his horse, takes care of his donkey and breeds greyhounds. Since his early youth he has sung flamenco at fiestas, peñas and festivals. His love for flamenco led him to the Fundación Cristina Heeren in 2002, where he studied with Jose de la Tomasa, Calixto Sanchez, Paco Taranto and Esperanza Fernandez, among others, until 2006. Since the completion of his studies, he has dedicated his life exclusively to flamenco. In addition to being a solo cantor, he also worked as a cantor with Jose Antonio Rodríguez's group, accompanied Jose Luis Postigo and Manolo Franco in concerts, was guest cantor of the Ballet Nacional de España from 2006 to 2019, and was part of the cast of the Ballet Flamenco de Andalucía from 2017 to 2022. In 2007, he gave his first solo concert at the Sala Clamores in Madrid and since then he has collaborated with many high profile artists in various productions. Among others, with Juan Manuel Cañizares, Juan Jose Amador, Chano Domínguez, Alejandro Granados, Antonio Canales, Merche Esmeralda, Pepa Montes, Lola Greco, Choni, Raúl Cantizano and Fernando Romero. His first album was released in 2012 by Karonte Records under the title "Temple de junco". He participated in the recording of the audio film "El Triangulo del Flamenco" by Winter & Winter, an acoustic travelogue through Andalusia, and in 2017 he recorded the album "Fandangos de Huelva" as a tribute to his homeland. In 2023, Sebastian Cruz, together with his musical director Raúl Cantizano and outstanding flamenco musicians such as guitarists Rafael Riqueni and Alfredo Lagos, records the album "Zarabanda" for Winter & Winter. The feature film "Tous les matins du monde" was the inspiration for this project. Inspired by the baroque music of Marin Marais and other musicians of the time, he created new cantes that became a unique body of work. Producer Stefan Winter has come to know Sebastian Cruz as a cosmopolitan person: "Today we are in a time in which we are exposed to the most diverse influences, which we must process artistically. This is what Sebastian Cruz's album "Zarabanda" symbolizes. My best friend, the painter Thom Argauer, once said that for him there are three important musical currents: Jazz by Coltrane, Baroque music by Bach and Flamenco by Camarón de la Isla. Sebastian Cruz has now used these three basic colors and forms like Picasso, mixing new tones ... Sebastan loves not only flamenco, but music without borders, is open, listens without bias, gets inspired, has never lost his curiosity since childhood. I think Sebastian Cruz, without knowing it, has been waiting for the discovery of breathtaking baroque music. However, the album "Zarabanda" is not a melange of baroque and flamenco, but the realization of the music that has long lain dormant in his innermost being and has now finally been kissed awake by the film "Tous les matins du monde". Sebastian's openness and willingness to listen to his inner self made this album possible. Sometimes it just takes a spark to light the fire." The Spanish lyrics, written by Lope de Vega [1562-1635], Ramón Andres, after Edgar Allan Poe [1809-1849] and by Sebastian Cruz, as well as traditional lyrics are also published in English and German translation together with the CD/LP. All these texts were selected and compiled by Sebastian Cruz. The compositions are by Sebastian Cruz in collaboration with performing musicians. Sebastian Cruz was inspired by works of baroque music. He combines these sound worlds in a very natural way with his very own music. To name just a few examples, compositions and melodies by Marin Marais are behind "Te quiero con el alma", by Monsieur de Sainte Colombe behind "De mis soledades vengo", by Georg Friedrich Handel behind "Arroyos sonoros" and also behind "País del sueño" as well as by Jean Baptiste Lully behind "Siendo cenizas". Before the actual recording of the album, which took place in Seville, there was only a working title. The album title "Zarabanda" was created only during the production. The sarabande is a courtly, mostly instrumental dance form of baroque music since the middle of the 17th century. This dance inspired several composers to write expressive compositions and later became a standard movement of the Baroque suite ... but the once frivolous dance became popular in non-courtly circles in the Spanish colonies much earlier, before it made its way back across the Atlantic to Spain. Although the dance was banned in Spain in 1583 for its obscenity, it has been frequently cited in the literature of the time [e.g. in works by Lope de Vega, who penned some of the lyrics selected for this album]. With incomparable depth and voice, Sebastian Cruz breaks with the strict flamenco tradition and, together with his congenial partner Raúl Cantizano, transcends musical boundaries that have been firmly drawn for over a hundred years. He is assisted by the exceptional guitarists Rafael Riqueni and Alfredo Lagos, as well as bassist Marco Serrato, who, like Raúl Cantizano, enriches this work with very special timbres.

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