Django Flamenco! Featuring Alfonso Ponticelli and Juanito Pascual.
A multi-instrumentalist, Ponticelli won the 1994 U.S. National Mountain Dulcimer Championship and continues to perform solo mountain dulcimer and guitar. He has played both banjo and guitar with the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra and was invited to perform solo didgeridoo at the Chicago Symphony Center. Ponticelli has collaborated in Chicago with Arabic, Irish, Bluegrass, Gypsy, Romanian and many other traditional folk musicians. He performed at Chicago’s Millennium Park on its opening night as well as at every major museum in the city. Ponticelli is the 2009 recipient of the Leonardo da Vinci Award for Outstanding Achievement in Performing Arts from Order Sons of Italy in America and holds a B.M. in Jazz Studies from DePaul University. He travelled to Cordoba, Spain (1994) to study with the great flamenco guitarists Rafael Riqueni and Manolo Sanlucar, New Mexico to study with Chuscales and Pedro Cortes and has had the great flamenco singer and guitarist Pansequito join his band for two years. He has performed at the Iridium in New York City where Les Paul invited Alfonso to play as a special guest with his trio. Ponticelli shares his education and love of music by teaching workshops at many festivals, including 13 years at the Midwest Gypsy Swing Fest in Madison, Wisconsin. He introduced Gypsy jazz to Chicago in the 1990s, when he began teaching a weekly Django-style class at the renowned Old Town School of Folk Music, where he has taught for 16 years. Ponticelli has shared his music at many prestigious festivals, including the Django Reinhardt Festival in Samois, France, DjangoFest Northwest, Gypsy Jazz fests in New York City, Denver, CO., and extensively throughout the Midwest. Alfonso Ponticelli has collaborated with many Chicago institutions for 14 years to present the great culture of the Roma/Gypsy people through music with his annual Chicago Gypsy Jazz festival.
When guitarist Juanito Pascual was called "one of the hottest Flamenco guitarists in recent years" by National Public Radio, this major accolade became a jumping oﬀ point for the Minneapolis native's musical vision. But Pascual's sound is in fact an organic blend of his mastery of traditional and contemporary ﬂamenco ever so gently seasoned with his love
of diverse musics from heroes such as Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, The Grateful Deal and J.S. Bach. These influences are ever present in his New Flamenco trio. With a line up that includes the great percussionist Tupac Mantilla, Juanito creates a sound that seamlessly merges Flamenco with elements of jazz, world and even a blend of rock and soul music. A talented educator, Juanito regularly hosts workshops around the world and directs the annual summer Flamenco Institute at the New England Conservatory in Boston.