José Fernández Torres, better known as Tomatito, is a living legend of the glories of the flamenco guitar. He has presented his art the world over, from New York to Moscow, from the Middle East to Hong Kong. In all his performances has been hailed as one of the best guitarists in the world. Tomatito was born in Almería, southern Spain, surrounded by guitars. Since childhood he listenied to his father and grandfather, Miguel Tomate. He is the nephew of legendary Flamenco guitarist Miguel Niño. At age 12 he moved to the city of Malaga, where he started his career playing flamenco clubs like La Taberna Gitana. There he met Paco de Lucía and Camarón de la Isla. Gradually, his extraordinary powers drew attention from critics and fans. He began to play with great singers like Enrique Morente or La Susi, but his greatest pride is to have played with the legendary Camarón de la Isla for the last 18 years of his life. Alongside Camarón, Tomatito recorded discs that are now essential references in the flamenco archive, such as ‘La Leyenda del Tiempo’ and ‘Como el Agua’. In the latter, Tomatito accompanies with Paco de Lucía. After the death of Camarón, Tomatito began his career as a soloist, dazzling audiences with his exquisite sensitivity. His charismatic personality and a firm commitment to the development and dissemination of flamenco worldwide mean that Tomatito now enjoys the recognition he deserves, not only in the field of music but also in film, theater and art.
He has won a total of five Grammy Awards (one with Michel Camilo) and a Latin Grammy for his albums ‘Aguadulce’ and ‘Soy Flamenco’. He has collaborated with many performers from around the world, such as Elton John and Frank Sinatra, and has influenced a whole generation of young guitarists. And on the occasions when he has ventured into other musical fields, such as jazz, has always remained true to his principles. His latest album, ‘Soy Flamenco’, presents an elegant and mature musician at the height of his art. Tomatito is touring either with a sextet or septet which includes a line up of gitars, percussion, singers, clappers and occasionally a dancer.
“He began the concert alone with slow-gathering lines phrased outside of a steady rhythmic unit. The music of this first few minutes, generally speaking, was dark, alert and resonant with his thumb hitting the lower strings, letting them resound and roar against the chords. Gradually, the supporting guitars and the palmas, the clapping accompaniment, entered the picture, establishing the rhythm. And in these first few minutes — from nearly the first second and as he moved from no-rhythm to rhythm — Tomatito played with such clean intent that it was possible for you to feel the energy and gesture and contrast in those individual notes and phrases as if you were playing them yourself. “
– The New York Times, US
“Theories aside, I don’t think all musicians accomplish anything like this. Even a good one might manage it only in flashes. But Tomatito, from Spain, has managed it in its extended, almost continuous state: If we can talk in terms of neurons firing, and if we can imagine the firings as lights going on, I felt myself lighting up for minutes at a time.”
– The New York Times, US