Stringing my Life Together: Purishpa takini, takishpa purini.

Flamenco Violinists
2007/03/30, 03:46
Filed under: Flamenco Violin, Global Music Ed

It’s kind of funny that I picked flamenco violin to investigate. Most people haven’t even heard that it exists, but for some reason I just figured…why not!? It’s like I was blindfolded and found my way instinctively across a busy street!  A friend of mine and Giovanni’s, Chris, showed me some of his flamenco CDs and told me about The one interview on with Ara Malikian is what started me on the search of who was out there in the flamenco violinist world…if that even existed!

The following are violinists (or bowed string players) that I found by…
a) searching the musicians database on,, and
b) asking around in Madrid and looking in the Guía del Ocio. One of the guitar luthiers (José Romero) had a musicians database that listed just Ara Malikian and David Moreira under flamenco violinists.
c) Granada (Gran Vía Discos flamenco store). I asked the clerk…”show me the flamenco violinists,” and her reply was…”Well…Ara Malikian…He’s the only one!” (Later I find out, he’s practically the only SOLO flamenco violinist…many of the others collaborate with other musicians/groups, or kind of freelance and experiment with it).
d) Other websites like,,, and

** Ara Malikian (Armenian, moved to Spain in 1999) [Sample recordings: De La Felicidad and Manantial]
** Bernardo Parrilla (Born in Cádiz of Gypsy family, brother plays flute in flamenco.) [Sample Recording: Tomatito’s Guitarra Gitana ]
** David Moreira (plays for Casa Patas tablao) [Sample DVD: Casa Patas – Furia Maya].
** Luca Ciarla (from Italy,, [Sample Recording: Rosso Gitano]
** Laurence Stevenson (Roger Scannura and Ritmo Flamenco,, [Sample Recordings: ¡encore! and Noche Flamenca].
**Kristin Molnar She’s got quite the biography! (Born in Paris to Hungarian and Roma/Gypsy parents and began violin at age 4. Has been featured with flamenco group in Montreal, Peña Flamenca.
Alexis Lefevre (Born in Paris, raised in Italy, 2000 moved to Seville)
Jallal Chekkara (violin, lute, cante)(Moroccan (Tetouan), father and grandfather very involved with the music scenes in Morocco and Andalusía)
Nicasio Moreno (cello, 1989 Arte y Artistas, Catalina’s page)
Batio (cello, listed in Casa Patas flyer).
Faiçal Kourrich (found on A Moroccan violinist who has collaborated on some flamenco works).

I have had the pleasure of being able to communicate through emails with Roger Scannura, Luca Ciarla, and Kristin Molnar, and hope to be able to talk with them more along with contact a couple other players!

Neptune KristinMolnar LaurenceStevenson LucaCiarla

I’ll write more about their playing in the future!


10 Comments so far
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“It’s kind of funny that I picked flamenco violin to investigate. Most people haven’t even heard that it exists”

It doesn’t. Some clever musicians looking for new outlets for their work decided to play along with flamenco.

Enjoy the music, but don’t be fooled, if you like flamenco, seek out flamenco, not derivatives. It’s a very powerful genre.


Comment by zata

Hi! Thanks so much for reading my blog.

So I take it you’re more of a purist? (Totally fine, I understand). I realize that violin is not traditional in any way in flamenco and that people including it has only happened within the last 30 years. (I found shows where Bernardo Parrilla had played in the 80’s in Spain…La Buena Música).

A little about my project so you understand the rhyme and reason to what I’m doing… I’m not just looking for derivatives, it’s that I’m researching along the lines of ethnoviolin and ethnomusicology.
As a violinist I am really interested in how the violin is being used in other genres than the western classical realm. From an ethnomusicologist’s standpoint, I’m really interested in what is traditional and what is changing! It’s exciting to see how music develops, and to understand the evolution and the traditional of it. Music is beautiful in that it’s like a living organism. The cajón and percussion, which I’ve seen used frequently and sold in many of the flamenco instrument stores in Madrid, is actually a new addition to flamenco from the 1970s, coming from inspiration of Peruvian music.
I’ve listened to staple flamenco figures before… Camarón, Paco de Lucía, Tomatito, Dolores de Córdoba, and others, so don’t think I’m neglecting the masters of such a beautiful, complex, and fascinating art.

I am also studying the violin in mariachi music. I have both Spanish (from my knowledge there aren’t any Roma ancestors of mine, but my Mexican side is far removed from Spain so I’m not sure) and Mexican roots in my family. Plus I studied abroad in Madrid, so this project is also a way for me to learn through my University more about myself and other cultures (it’s a funded independent study through SUNY Potsdam, Crane School of Music). Our school of music is for the most part biased with western classical music, so this opportunity is important to me.

I know I’m a long way from really understanding this artform, but I look forward to researching it more and having more experiences.
Thank you so much for your comment and I hope we can talk more about this. I’d be very interested to know your ideas.

Comment by jesvalsilva

Oh one more thing 🙂

Most of the violinists, whether in the interviews in or in personal correspondence, have admitted that they don’t see themselves as flamenco artists necessarily, only that they are intrigued by the music and were experimenting playing in the flamenco style.
So my term, flamenco violinists, probably shouldn’t be used literally, since most don’t view themselves that way.

From what I know, Kristin Molnar and Bernardo Parrilla are the only two with gitano or cíngaro heritage.

Comment by jesvalsilva

I’m amongst that small band that you write about and I’m afraid that ‘zata’ would find me to be a complete ‘pretender’ as I’m actually a Scots ‘fiddler’.
However, my appreciation of flamenco borders on fanatical so who can tell as to whether I’m ‘real’ or not.
I’m very much of the opinion that music of all types ‘evolves’ and I hope that I’m just as much a ‘real’ part of flamenco as, perhaps, ‘Ojos de Brujo’. That would be fine with me.

Comment by Laurence Stevenson

Dear Jessie,
I read about your flamenco violin project. It sounds very interesting to me. I really, really love the violin in flamenco music. I have met Bernardo Parrilla in the nineties. I am convinced that he is a real flamenco artist, and ‘just’ uses the violin as a way of expressing his musicality that was formed in the gipsy community of Jerez, which is flamenco as pure as you could wish for.
By the way, the guitar once was an addition to flamenco as well. The guitar didn’t even exist when flamenco was born.
It’s up to one’s own personal judgement to decide whether the flamenco is real or just meant to make a lot of money.

Please, have a look at our website or to see another example of violin in flamenco/Spanish folklore.

Comment by Marian

Hello there,
My name is Marjolein and I’m from the Netherlands.
This September I would like to learn Spanish in Andalucia for 3 months. I play the violin since I was 4, classical and now I play gypsy-jazz/manouche. Like Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli if you know them. I would like to learn Spanish in Malaga or Cadiz. I would love to take my violin with me, so I’ve heard of this flamenco violin music style and that’s why I found your webblog. Could you please tell me which city I can choose the best when it comes to the violin flamenco music?? Or do you think it’s hard to get in contact with flamenco musicians while being there for only 3 months?
Thanks alot in advance,
Greets Marjolein

Comment by Marjolein

Hi – I returned to the violin a couple of years ago after a 25 or so year fling with the guitar – Last year I found myself starting up a band with the flamenco guitarist, Dave Shepherd – coming from a contemporary background, and in view of the significant vacuum of violinists in this field, I’ve pretty much been able to write my own rule book for flamenco violin, though musically it’s been like trying to learn a second language without a phrase book – a whole different process again needed for the dance pieces we’re working – it’s good to see other people taking an interest in the violin’s use within the style – I’ll certainly look up the musicians you’ve listed above.


Jools Street

Comment by Jools Street

With new style flamenco cello player…..

Comment by El Conde

hello from spain!! I want you to see the folk of my home, a very very old music, with violin of course:

Comment by Rafa

Hey Rafa! Thanks for posting the link 🙂

Comment by Jessie

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