One of the biggest new names in flamenco finally comes to Oslo World.
The flamenco genre has a subtle way of expanding its own boundaries, an intense dialogue with the expressions and master musicians of the past. The biggest rebels and innovators are usually among the most trusted keepers of the tradition as well. There’s a new generation on today’s flamenco scene, and no one exemplifies this inner tension in more vivid ways than María José Llergo.
She is born and raised in Andalucía, the official birthplace of flamenco, and she carries obvious influences from many of the greatest traditional singers. Camarón de la Isla might be her biggest role model. The legendary singer collaborated with musicians such as Paco de Lucia, who revolutionized flamenco in the latter part of the seventies, adding drums, electric guitars and even a sitar to a genre which had been faithful to its original ingredients. “What we call tradition now, was a revolution in its own time”, Llergo has said about her inspirations. On her critically acclaimed debut album Sanación from 2020, she expands the sonic palette with electronics and modern vocal productions. A similar musical dialogue is at play: “When I use electronics in my music, it is because I live in the present moment, I have access to synthesizers and different instruments that I admire. These sounds are also part of my life”, she has said.
Llergo studied flamenco at Catalonia School of Music, where she had the same mentor as Rosalia, José Miguel "Chiqui" Vizcaya. She experimented with salsa, gospel and jazz. Right after she finished her studies, she was signed to Sony Music Spania. She has compared flamenco to the blues, and contends that there is more truth to be found about the history of Spain in this music than in most history books. She brings her ancestors into the music, and her songs have obvious influences from Romani culture and history. She sings about the injustices committed towards her people - discrimination, exploitation, expulsion and machismo. Her songwriting, she says, helps her work through trauma and pain.
The tour she had planned last year, with gigs at festivals and club venues all over Europe, had to wait for obvious reasons. This autumn, one of the biggest new names in flamenco finally comes to Oslo World.