Carlos Montoya (1903 - 1993)
Carlos Montoya was born on December 13, 1903 in Madrid, Spain to a family of devout flamenco enthusiasts and guitarists. Though his uncle, Ramon Motoya, was an acclaimed guitarist and composer, his education and passion for the guitar came from his mother and Pepe el Barbero. With no formal training, Carlos became an avid flamenco guitar player who soon developed his own style. After starting his career by playing in local venues Montoya soon moved overseas to explore his inherent talent. Rather than devote himself to a career as an accompanist to dancers and other guitarists, Montoya decided to explore the world of a solo performer. By 1941 he had settled in New York City and was touring as a solo artist. As his popularity grew so did the performance venues he was invited to and he also began recording for the labels of RCA Victor, Everest and Folkways among others.
An avid experimenter of music, Montoya is considered the inventor of modern-day popular flamenco and is held responsible for bringing flamenco to an international level. By the traditionalist his music was termed idiosyncratic and was criticized for being too slow or too fast, not keeping rhythm or straying from typical flamenco music. In spite of his critics Montoya's popularity continued to grow and he is remembered as the musician that changed and shaped flamenco for the future.
Arcángel Fernández de la Mata (1931 - )
Originally a flamenco guitarist himself, Arcángel Fernández learned the craft of guitar making by working alongside the esteemed luthier Marcelo Barbero. Following Barbero's death, Arcángel continue the tradition by teaching Marcelo Jr. Instruments by this prolific Madrid master exhibit unique characteristics. Arcángel guitars emphasized a clean and graceful outline. The superior construction, artistic expression and full, rich tone produced by Arcángel guitars made these instruments highly desirable among musicians, including Carlos Montoya. Made in 1969, this instrument drives from Arcángel's Golden Period, exhibiting his impeccable quality of construction, and the clear and balanced tonal quality synonymous with superb flamenco sound.