For almost 30 years the independent Spanish record company, Nuevos Medios, has been making ground-breaking recordings with new Spanish artists. Mario Pacheco and his wife Cucha Salazar set up Nuevos Medios in 1982 and provided a new generation of flamenco artists with the opportunity to explore their music beyond the barriers of traditional flamenco. Thus ‘nuevo flamenco’ flourished, nurtured by Mario Pacheco as he recorded Pata Negra, Ketama and their Songhai recordings with the Malian Kora player Toumani Diabaté, Ray Heredia, Martirio, La Barbería del Sur … in his Los Jóvenes Flamencos series.
Mario Pacheco was a renowned photographer as well. When we were publishing an interview about his work and Nuevos Medios in Flamenco International magazine – an interview by Vicky Hayward – he provided us with this photograph of himself.
He was born in Madrid on 6 November 1950, and by the late 1960s, Mario Pacheco was travelling around Britain, photographing many musicians including Jimi Hendrix. His photographs of flamenco artists are as impressive as the recordings he made.
The Nuevos Medios logo was designed by the Catalan artist, Joan Miró (apparently created using two Bic biros: one blue and one red).
I have covered some of Nuevos Medios releases this year in earlier blogs: that of Las Migas and Antonio Ramos ‘Maca’. Pepe Habichuela’s wonderful solo recording called Habichuela en Rama was on Nuevos Medios, as was the flamenco singer Miguel Poveda’s first recording called Viento del Este. In an article by Howell Llewellyn called New Artists Reassess Flamenco’s Traditions, published in Billboard, 25 September 1993, Mario Pacheco was asked about his view of New Flamenco. His reply was: ‘The impact and significance of the New Flamenco is comparable to the neo-realism of Italian cinema in the ’40s and ’50s. Then, Europe was seeking a new language and style to express itself in the still-young cinema medium. In the same way, we in Europe are now seeking an original expression and attitude that can ventilate the excessively Americanized panorama of pop music.’
Mario Pacheco was a member of the Spanish society of independent record labels, the Unión Fonográfica Independiente, and served as its President in more recent years.
He died of cancer in Madrid on 26 November 2010.
© 2010 Thérèse Wassily Saba