Abdessadak Chekara, one of XXth century violin maestros, founded the first Arabo-Andalusian orchestra in Tetuan 50 years ago. Later, that orchestra would be known as Orquesta Chekara Andalusi de Tetuan. Jallal Chekara, Abdessadak's natural nephew, is the director of the orchestra now. Jallal, who resides in Granada, has kept the traditional repertoire alive, as well as the orchestra's deep relationship to flamenco, making good use of the old musicians' abilities and adding young members as the most experienced ones have disappeared.
Orquesta Chekara, along with flamenco artists, has performed more than 30 concerts since the last year and a half. Besides, 2008 has been a milestone for Arabo-Andalusian music: we have celebrated the 10th anniversary of Abdessadak Ben Chekara's death. There have been several noteworthy musical meetings with the famous composer Michael Nyman, with whom they recorded the album "the upside-down violin, live" in 1992 on occasion of of the Universal Exposition of Seville.
But let's go back to the origin. Jose Heredia Maya released "Macama Jonda" (Polygram) 25 years ago. In his first performance in Granada he collaborated with Enrique Morente, Antonia La Negra, Luis Heredia "El Polaco" and Jaime Heredia "El Parron", among other flamenco artists. Orquesta Chekara of Tetuan collaborated in that performance too, beginning a long term relationship with flamenco.
Jallal's most important task has been his continuous work with Andalusian flamenco. He has worked closely with front line flamenco artists as one more time- Enrique Morente (since January 1998), Carmen Linares ("Dos Orillas"), Segundo Falcon and Arcangel ("Cus Cus Flamenco), Segundo Falcon ("Tierra de Nadie"), M Angeles Gabaldon ("Inmigracion"); as well as occasional collaborations with El Pele, Esperanza Fernandez, La Lole, La Susi, David Palomar, El Lombo, etc.
Orquesta Chekara of Tetuan has recently released its first album in Spain, "La Chekara y el Flamenco, primera parte" (Musica es Amor Records). The album compiles, exposes and reflects the intense musical relationship between the orchestra and flamenco from their first meeting under the guide of Pepe Heredia, Macamahonda, more than two decades ago, to our days. Enrique Morente and Segundo Falcon contribute with outstanding collaborations.
"La Chekara y el flamenco, primera parte" sums up a centennial relationship between two neighbouring and brotherly cultures.