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CANTECA DE MACAO to make New York debut
Wednesday FEBRUARY 17th at Highline Ballroom

Madrid rumba/jam band joins 10th Annual NY Flamenco Festival

Spanish group’s unusual lineup includes Chilean flutist, Venezuelan percussionist -- and a juggler

“Even if you shut your windows tightly, some crap is always going to get inside the house,” comments a typically spirited Canteca de Macao fan on where the Madrid-based band’s new album Agua pa’ la Tierra – yes, the entire album -- can be downloaded for free. “Nothing cleans it better than a good song like yours.”

“Music”, the opening track on Agua pa’ la Tierra (Water for the Earth) is a musical antidote to the grit of everyday life. Typical for this group born on the streets of Madrid, it’s a classic feel good song in the flamenco fusion style that will resonate with fans of Ketama, Ojos de Brujo, Chambao and other contemporary Spanish artists, with a sound as unique as the disparate backgrounds of the group’s nine members, whose talents, as heard on the song and throughout the album, range from jazz to hip hop and who hail from Latin America as well as Spain.

“Our music is full of contrasts,” says Ana Saboya, the group’s lead singer and co-founder with Isadoro Lora-Tamayo, known as Chiki. “It comes from a lot of life experience, and people can feel that. We don’t make music with any pretensions, we do what emerges naturally from our own particular fusion. We prefer just to call it ‘music’ and not classify it under any particular genre.”

The band’s name is nonsense (Canteca de Macao is a scrambling of manteca de cacao, Spanish for cocoa butter), and one of its members is a juggler who, when not on stage, acts as the group’s web master, an increasingly important role for reaching their growing international fan base.

The group transmits the fun and easy vibe founded on their serendipitous beginnings as musicians and singers coming together for weekend jams in a neighborhood plaza, but their music demands to be taken seriously. Saboya says it’s a sound that just comes naturally.

“I started singing by instinct,” she explains, describing typical beginnings for members of this group of natural born musicians. “From a very young age I was drawn to music. “ Growing up in the 1980s in a Madrid neighborhood of modest means, she was influenced by the punk and glam of the “Movida de Madrid” movement led by film director Pedro Almodovar, underground lounge singer Martirio and others.  But she was also drawn to the Spanish copla, a ballad style framed by flamenco rhythms, and she spent some time studying opera.

Chiki has a similarly varied background. A veteran of Madrid’s rock scene, he has studied both flamenco and jazz guitar with some formidable mentors.  Juancho, a Venezuelan flutist spotlighted on the new album, plays with the command afforded by a conservatory background and the ease of jazz improvisation.

For a delightful three-minute version of the band’s story and an infectious sample of their sound, check out the video created for the song “Music”. The clip is set in a dollhouse, where the band members can be seen playing their music alone or in pairs in separate rooms, isolated as typical neighbors in an urban apartment building. By the end of the video clip, their music has brought them together for a rooftop dance party, a testament to the power of collaboration and a taste of the fresh spirit that Canteca de Macao transmits on stage.

“People should come to our concerts prepared to dance,” says Saboya. “And to share some music with us that can move the soul.”

  “They were nothing like any band I've ever seen in my life. I wonder what they smoked/drank/ate before they got on stage … the energy was crazy! “ AND FAR AWAY blog

Ana Saboya Hernandez -  Lead Vocals
Isidoro Lora Tamayo  - Vocals, guitar
Alvaro Melgar Jaquotot  -  Guitar
Danilo Montoya Mejias -  Flute
Rodrigo Diaz Pesquera - Percussion
Juan Tomas Martinez Paris  - Cajón Flamenco
Guillermo Martinez Yusta - Drums
Manuel Sanz Martinez  - Bass
Javier Rodriguez de Zuloaga  - Juggler

Canteca de Macao (NY debut)
Wednesday February 17, 2010
Highline Ballroom
431 West 16th St., New York, NY 10001
Showtime: 8:00pm
Tickets $20 INFO 212-414-5994

Agua de la Tierra CD download

Info on 10 Annual NY Flamenco Festival