The Governing Board of Mairena’s Town Hall puts Dorantes forward for the Gold Medal of Andalusia
The Governing Board of Mairena’s Town Hall has recently approved proposing one of its neighbours, David Peña Dorantes, for the Gold Medal of Andalusia (Medalla de Oro de Andalucía) to honour his artistic career and his contribution to innovation in flamenco music.
Dorantes, who hails from Mairena del Aljarafe, is not only a virtuoso pianist but also a dazzling guitarist, orchestral composer and an expert in all streams of music of his time. His creative force has unleashed a genuine revolution, cutting new paths in flamenco and promoting piano as a soloist and a reinvigorating element in Andalusian flamenco
His artistic career led him to make his debut before the Spanish King and Queen in the Royal Alcazar of Seville with 22 years old. His first recording Orobroy (1998) was an album of great success that enjoyed the unanimous support of public and critics. This composition stands as a milestone in Andalusian music for being an example of boldness and innovation. In December 1998 he was invited to Festiva Jazz in La Habana, along with top-tier artists such as Jack de Johnette, Steve Turre, Roy Hargrove, Janbe Nunnet, Michel Camilo, Danilo Pérez or David Sánchez. That same year he received a Demófilo Award for Best New Artist and carried out concert tours on the five continents.
In 1999 he received the Flamenco Hoy Award for Best Instrumental Album of the Year. During the following four years his music could be heard all around the world. In that time he shared stage with major figures of jazz, classical music and flamenco. By that time Orobroy had become a classic piece of flamenco.
His next album Sur, recorded in Seville, Paris and Sofia, also found great critical acclaim. It was awarded with the 2003 Flamenco Hoy Award for Best Instrumental Album of the Year. His work also found great support in La Bienal de Flamenco de Sevilla, where it was awarded three Giraldillos for a same show: Best Solo Artist, Best Original Music and the Public’s Special Award. He has been the only artist to attain this achievement.
In 2004 he recorded live Flamencos del Siglo XXI. The Spanish Association of Art Critics awarded him once more with the 2004 Flamenco Hoy Award for Best Flamenco DVD of the year.
In 2005 he confected the musical composition for orchestra of the work Lisistrata, commissioned by the National Ballet of Tokyo. In that same year he was requested by Save The Children to perform along with Diego El Cigala for a benefit concert in the Royal Albert Hall in London.
In 2006 he received the Giraldillo Award for Most ‘Magical Moment’ in recognition to his performance with Miguel Poveda and Eva Yerbabuena. Also in that year he was awarded by the Town Hall of Mairena del Aljarafe with an honorific distinction for his contribution to flamenco.
In 2007 he delivered the closing performance of Flamenco Festival London and the chords of Orobroy were chosen by the Andalusian goverment for the new statute of autonomy of Andalusia promotional campaign.
In 2008 he embarked on a tour with the Tokyo National Orchestra in their representation of his work Sur sinfónico. During that period he developed his facet as a producer and arranger. Among other projects, he worked as a composer for film and television, and conducted the musical direction and arrangements of an album honouring Gabriel García Márquez. That album, featuring flamenco singer El Lebrijano, was awarded with the 2008 Demófilo Award for Best Production of 2006-2008, and nominated to the Premios de la Música 2009 awards.
The Ministry of Culture conferred him the Premio Nacional ‘Joven Creador 2009’ award. That same year his performances inaugurated the IX Flamenco Festival in USA and the III Brussels Flamenco Festival in Boston Music.
That same year he carried out the musical direction of Flamenco Sinfónico, in which he composed for all the instruments. It was first performed in the Etnosur festival before 15 000 people, and its success led it to be hosted for a month in the Teatro Coliseum in Madrid.
Dorantes, one of the best Spanish creatives, has partaken in numerous intercultural encounters and contemporary scenic productions. He collaborated with the Japanese musician Eitetsu Hayashi, performing in the Tokyo National Theatre in January 2010. Within that year he was also named ‘Cultural Ambassador by of the Moorish Moon Network’ (Embajador Cultural de la Red Luna Mora). Moreover, he took part in the Montreal Jazz Festival, where he opened the first Latin series of the event.
The Spanish Ministry of Culture named him honorary member of the public foundation Instituto Cultura Gitana, because of his contribution to culture and to the internationalization of flamenco music.
In addition, he put into shape a Hispanic-Israeli project along with the Israeli singer Noa, which toured around Spain in the summer of 2010. That year, his new work Muros received a Giraldillo award in the 2010 Bienal de Flamenco festival.
In 2011 he returned to the International Antalya Piano Festival in Turkey, the most prestigious festival of its kind in the country. He was the first musician in the history of the festival that was invited for two consecutive years.
In 2012 he delivered the closing performance in the Montreal Jazz Festival. He was also invited to the most long-standing and renowned North American festival, the Spoleto Festival USA, becoming the first flamenco artist to attend to such event. He also joined the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra to perform Sur Sinfónico.
In May 2012 Universal Music released Sin Muros, which he performed in the main music venues and festivals around the world. This album received the Premio Nacional de la Crítica 2012 award.
The Minas de la Unión festival granted him the ‘Dorantes Lamp’ in the main avenue of the town.
In 2014 he received the Premio Joaquín de la Orden de las Artes Musicales award. He presented his new album Acordes, conceived as a piano/double-bass duet along with the skilful French player Renaud García‑Fons, in the Bienal de Flamenco de Sevilla. Furthermore, he was commissioned by the Festival Internacional Cervantino de México to make the piece Mediterráneo sin muros for the Queretaro Orchestra and the Ensamble Intercultural.
In October 2015, he released his new album Paseo a Dos, in duet with the double-bass player Renaud García-Fons. He presented it in Paris after a successful tour around France and was met with an astonishing response. El Mundo’s magazine El Cultural designated him as the best artist of 2015.
In 2016, El País’ cultural supplement Babelia included Paseo a dos among the sixteen best albums of the year.
Photo: Monica Gumm