Legendary flamenco fusion band, Ketama, returns to London after 15 years to present their ‘No Estamos Locos’ tour on Saturday 5thOctober at the O2 Shepherds Bush Empire.
If any Spanish-speaking band can come back together, it’s Ketama, because their music never left! Hispanic music would be different without the appearance in the eighties of a band that changed internationally the approach to flamenco forever. At a time when the Spanish musical scene was opening to new sounds and Spanish pop-rock was recovering lost time, the band led by Antonio, Juan and Josemi Carmona was a breath of fresh air and opened flamenco to the bigger audiences in Latin America and Europe.
Belonging to the third generation of the Habichuela’s, Ketama are part of a generation of unprejudiced, fearless musicians with a deep knowledge of flamenco tradition. Antonio, Juan and Josemi Carmona are sons to the great flamenco guitar players Juan and Pepe Habichuela. Ketama’s first two albums meant the definite victory of ‘New Flamenco’: produced by the historical label ‘Nuevos Medios’, Ketama (1985) and The Kif’s pipe (1987) set the foundations of the blend of a fresh new sound with flamenco tradition.
With their third album, Songhai (1988), they pioneered the introduction of African roots music to the public, together with Mali’s kora master Toumani Diabaté, English bass player Danny Thompson, and producers Joe Boyd and Lucy Duran. The album received numerous awards and was acclaimed internationally, and they would repeat 6 years later the experience of uniquely fusing flamenco and mandinga music with Songhai 2 (1994).
With their fourth album, Y es ke me han kambiao los tiempos (1990), they achieved an imperishable flamenco anthem called No estamos lokos, famous all-over Latin America and Spain. Later came De aki a Ketama (1995), a live recording wrapping up Ketama’s career until then with an amazing flamenco-cuban band, which exploded in Latin America and Europe, to attain international recognition among wider audiences.
The rest is history, in this case, history of Spanish-spoken music: 3 Ondas Awards to the best album (1995, 1997,1999), 15 Grammy nominations, New Musical Express (NME) Best international album for ‘Songhai’ (1988) -whilst receiving formidable critics in international media like The Times or The International Herald Tribune-, Q Magazine best Album of the year (1988), over a million copies sold... A career within reach for the very few. Fifteen years later of their last show, Ketama is back together, for the joy of making music together again!