About Chico

_MG_5698On March 9th, Chico Ocaña founder of Mártires del Compás and creator of Flamenco Billy, will release his debute solo album Canciones de Mesa Camilla* In 1995 Mártires del Compás from Seville surprised us with their first album Flamenco Billy.  It was the birth of a new way of feeling music from the south of Spain, inspired in flamenco.  The term Flamenco Billy became a trademark for Chico Ocaña, the soul of the band.  Fifteen years later, and after the break up of Mártires de Compás in 2007, Chico Ocaña embarks on a new adventure with his debute solo album Canciones de mesa camilla, to be released on March 9th, 2010. “Flamenco Billy is different from everything else that’s out there, it’s my own formula” says Chico Ocaña.  “It’s a musical arrangement that is inspired in orthodox flamenco and invigorated by other musical styles.  The base is always flamenco, like the first three albums of Mártires del Compás before we started mixing in more electronic sounds”. Canciones de mesa camilla is pure Flamenco Billy and it’s strength lies in the songs and their lyrics.  “The title is stained by a certain color,” continues Chico “with this album it’s the first time that I’ve taken hundred percent control.  It’s born out of the need to talk about my frustration with the break up of Mártires.  Everything that has happened to me since then and up until I started working again makes this album intimate and homegrown, just like my first album Flamenco Billy.  With Canciones de mesa camilla, I started to compose the songs at home with two guitarists.  It provided for a very familial setting, between Barcelona and Seville.  It was perfect because they are very caring people and have helped me a lot”. Canciones de mesa camilla is an essential album.  Two Spanish guitars, one bass guitar and percussion are all that is needed to sustain Chico Ocaña’s voice and his unorthodox, playful songs that always come as a surprise.  “(The songs) are about things I’ve lived which I tell with a certain irony and surrealism.  The same can be said for the album cover which is a drawing by Carlos Pacheco” says Chico who reiterates the intimate nature of his work.  “We recorded the album backwards which is not the norm.  First vocals and guitars and then bass and percussion.  People said I was nuts, but that’s how the songs were born.” The songs include Mentiras de verdad (True Lies) “When love is true it opens up wide like a garage door”, a rumba that mixes some blues with Spanish guitar.   Arena en el reloj (Sand in the Hourglass) “I’ve decided to break the hourglass, and stop the bath foam. You have to understand that I can’t let you be, because then you’ll be me, and I’ll be killed”, which starts with a beautiful play of Spanish guitar and then adds Bulería and Soleá mixed with Blues and Swing.  30 metros (30 Meters) “30 meters with which to love you, 30 meters with which to loose you, and another 30 to start all over again”, offers a wonderful rhythmic Rumba balance. Then there is Efervesante (Effervescent) “I get effervescent when I touch you”, which gives off an Latin-American aroma and offers a surprising end.  Pez de acuario (Aquarian Fish) “If you don’t live your dreams, they cheat you; if you don’t look for them, they find you; if you don’t live them, they kill you”, is a Rumba with constant rhythmic changes.  Costillitas de amor (Love Ribs) “Love is beautiful if everything is on your side, the night’s kisses and the morning’s lies”, maintains an unarguably Flamenco tone.  As does Vía verde (Green Way) “Broken, they say the world is broken, like a pair of jeans, like our photo, like a five euro bill”, which also introduces a bit of Reggae. CCC (CCC) “You arrived by surprise like a Tsunami, leaving my heart just like the Plaza after an all night party; and they tune their cars, and they tune their desire and they send text messages full of short words of so much sorrow” returns to all out Rumba. Chico explains that CCC means Cancer, Carretera, Corazon (Cancer, Road, Heart) “…a song for my niece who died in a road accident and for some other friends who left us before their time.”  De calle (From the Street) “It’s an error to dream because you live twice, once with your heart and the another with your mind” is very dramatic, so when the song ends and to liven things up a bit, there is a Fandango Alosnero (A Fandango from the town of Alosno in Huelva) with lyrics that make reference to the industrial park of Calonge in Seville.  The Fandango is not listed in the album credits so it comes as a surprise.   Sevillanas de luz propia (Sevillanas that Shine Alone) “Stars don’t laugh, stars don’t cry; stars, like coins, can’t shine alone.  Stick by stick I’ll build my ladder to jump to the other side”, is exactly that, a Sevillana influenced by Chico Ocaña’s very personal vision. Coming into the home stretch we have Alegrías sin sal (Alegrías without Salt) “The day I die, don’t burn me or bury me, but throw me to the vultures so I can fly freely through the air.  Just like Quixote, I see windmills everywhere, and because I feel like it I paint your face on all the windmills” surprises us again with a Blues beginning that goes straight into Alegrías, a mix that is maintained throughout the entire song and accelerates at the end with the amazing lyrics of “Evo Morales, I like your sweater, and I like your manners”.  Esquina rincón (Corner, Nitch)  “You’re a corner and I’m a nitch, you get the sun from the street while I treasure the secrets”, a Tanguillo.  Closing the album with Rumba, Tangos and Bulerías is the song that Chico Ocaña dedicates to his daughter, Vals de Natalia (Natalia’s Waltz)  “Sandwich of love, you’ll be my cheese ball and I’ll be the York ham”. As always with Chico Ocaña, after the songs finish there are some seconds of silence and then some hidden surprises.  “I’ve always included secrets,” says Chico “In this one there’s a Fandango and a story.  What I want to say, without any bitterness, is that ‘with truth you can go everywhere, lies have very short legs’. Chico Ocaña’s new album Canciones de mesa camilla, is different and unique just like it’s author.  “It’s my nature is to try out styles that are seemingly impossible, it’s what gives meaning to my work” says Chico.  And that precisely is what stands out about founder and soul of the emblematic group Mártires del Compás. Chico Ocaña formed Mártires del Compás in 1992.  He was 35 years old and with his first album (Flamenco Billy, 1995) he created an unmistakable style:  A Flamenco base influenced by a variety of other music styles and lyrics that are imaginative and original in so many ways.  This unorthodox band from Seville next produced Prohibido da el cante (1996), Al compás de la llaga dolorida (1998), Mordiendo el duende (1999), Empaquetado al vacío (2002), Simpapeles.es Compapeles.son (2004) and the anthology Mártires del Compás. 10 años (2005).  The band broke up in 2007 leaving behind their unmistakable mark on the music scene. Before forming Mártires del Compás, Chico Ocaña had worked with theatre, starring in the play Las 1001 historias de Pericón de Cádiz by José Luis Ortiz Nuevo, which opened at the Biennale de Sevilla of 1988. He also worked with Canal Sur on their television program about Flamenco La noche del cometa. Fifteen years after the seminal Flamenco Billy, the author of songs like Cara a cara or Vente, vente is back with a new band and a new album Canciones de mesa camilla.  Pulling on his particular style of Flamenco which is full of life, Chico Ocaña shows his ability to constantly evolve and to be innovative and fresh as he paints a portrait of life in the street using a language that is at once direct, poetic and quite unusual. On March 9th, Chico Ocaña returns with his Flamenco Billy sound.  Street flamenco is back! * “Songs from the …” The term mesa camilla has a double meaning in Spanish and it is precisely because of this double meaning that Chico Ocaña uses the term for the title of his new album.  A mesa camilla is commonly found in Spanish homes in the winter.  As a way of keeping warm and maximizing heat, the family table is draped with a blanket and a heater is placed underneath.   The songs on Canciones de mesa camilla were born out of this familial intimacy.  A mesa camilla is also a medical gurney.  This use of this definition of the term is in reference to the various close friends and family members that Chico has lost during the time that he wrote the songs included in the album.                                                                                                                                            CHICO OCAÑA, UN GIGANTE EN _MG_5698CUERPO PEQUEÑO Dicen que la constancia y la humildad son el secreto de la sabiduría. A Chico Ocaña habría entonces que llamarlo sabio, pues sin duda su trabajo artístico rebosa de esas dos características. Compositor de melodías de una difícil sencillez, creador de letras cargadas de ironía, lirismo y humanidad, el inconfundible estilo musical de Chico Ocaña aúna palos flamencos y ritmos del mundo, vanguardismo y singularidad, lenguajes contemporáneos, lucidez crítica y una contagiosa alegría de vivir. Tras su etapa como líder y fundador de Mártires del Compás, Chico Ocaña continuó en solitario su andadura musical con la edición en 2010 del disco Canciones de mesa camilla. No fue fácil superar la disolución de un grupo que ha sido pionero en la música popular de nuestro país, con el que Chico dio centenares de conciertos en todos los continentes y que fue objeto tanto de críticas elogiosas (aquellos que entendieron la magnitud del proyecto) como suspicaces (los guardianes de la ortodoxia flamenca). Como sucede con los artistas visionarios, Chico Ocaña ha encontrado algunas dificultades en ser reconocido y valorado. Afortunadamente, el tiempo pone las cosas su lugar. Sus trece espléndidas Canciones de mesa camilla han conocido un éxito notable, se han paseado por toda la geografía nacional y en lugares como México y Dublín. Chico Ocaña se encuentra ahora en proceso de grabación de lo que será su siguiente trabajo discográfico. Llevará por título De piedra, y en breve estará en la calle. Una oportunidad para disfrutar de otro conjunto inolvidable de hermosas canciones que observan la situación social con mirada tan ácida como poética, que se sumergen de forma muy singular en la intimidad del artista y que homenajean entrañablemente a los seres queridos que ya no están. Voz, compositor y compás: CHICO OCAÑA Guitarra eléctrica: FRANCISCO GUISADO “EL RUBIO” Guitarra española: PEPE CAMACHO Cajón flamenco y percusión: XAVI GARCÍA Bajo: RAMÓN VAGUÉ

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