Rubina Carmona
Rubina Carmona photo

Rubina began studying flamenco dance in her native San Francisco, California, where she quickly realized her affinity for flamenco singing. When she first went to Spain in 1965, she not only studied with Madrid's well known teaching team, Mercedes and Albano Leon, but was referred by them to the cantaor Bernardo de los Lobitos, and spent an extended period working with him as well.

On her second journey to Spain, this time with her husband Marcos Carmona, Rubina lived for nearly a year in Moron de Frontera, exploring the pueblo style of flamenco. She rode into Sevilla every week to study dance with Matilde Coral, and studied cante with Joselero de Moron. She was also able to study with Joselero's son, dancer-singer Andorrano, and was able to participate in numerous fiestas with the legenday guitarist Diego del Gastor, and the beloved cantaora, Fernanda de Utrera.

The Carmonas lived in Moron in 1970-71, with long trips to Utrera and Lebrija, and returned to the Bay Area for around a year. Then in 1972, they returned to Spain, this time to live in Sevilla. Rubina was able to study daily with Matilde Coral, and Marcos worked as Matilde's studio guitarist. The couple went professional in Sevilla in the Feria of 1973, and worked around Spain with Sevilla-based cuadros, which included members of Los Montoya and Jarillo de Triana, as well as guitarist Manolo Vargas and dancer Rocio Loreto.

The couple returned to Madrid in 1978, where Rubina studied briefly with Ciro, and Marcos played for Ciro's classes. They then received a contract to work in Alicante for the summer in the tablao "El Zorongo", owned by the father-in-law of guitarist Enrique Melchor, whose entire Gypsy family worked at the tablao. Throughout the Carmonass professional career in Spain, the couple has made every effort to work with all-Gypsy cuadros in order to develop the maximum authenticity in their sound.

The Carmonas moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles in 1974, where they lived until 1988 apart from their 1978 trip to Spain and a six-month contract in Tampa Florida in 1976 and the Colombia Restaurant of Ibor City. While in Los Angeles, they worked for many years at the El Cid restaurant-tablao, with artists such as La Conja, Roberto Amaral and Juan Talavera. The highlight of this period was the opportunity to work for several months with the late Carmen Mora, a well-respected bailaora from Spain and the mother of Belen Maya. The Carmonas also concertised extensively with the above artists.

In 1988, the Carmonas relocated to Seattle, Washington, where they have resided ever since. They formed Carmona Flamenco, and began performing regularly with dancer Ana Montes and concert and cabaret venues in the Puget Sound area. They performed at the Allegro Dance Festival for a number of years, helped to inaugurate the ArtsWest and Music Northwest organizations, and have been performing for the last few years at the Kirkland Performance Center.

During this time, Rubina has been constantly developing her skills as both singer and dancer, and as teacher and choreographer. She is the creator and artistic director of La Peņa Flamenca de Seattle, a community based group of aficionados and emerging professionals which performs regularly at small concert venues in Seattle. She maintains a rigorous schedule of teaching, rehearsing and performing with both the professional group Carmona Flamenco and La Peņa.

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