Introducing Toñin Corujo

Regular players in, or with, the quartet include Toñin Corujo, of course, as well as Carlos Perez, Manuel Becerra, Domingo Corrujo, Kovacs Szolti, Szabo Mate, Israel Curbelo, Dionisio Rodriguez, Yarel Hernandez, Tony Cantero and Ale Garcia. Of these I noted Toñin, Carlos, Manuel (I think) and Tony as being in the line-up featured playing in the live footage recently of a virtual concert produced by CACT to beat the lockdown blues. What the line up was at their live concert at Teguise last week I am afraid I can’t tell you. We did promise you last week that we would review the concert as I had become very excited when I saw a preview of it in one of Miguel’s newsletters. We went in search of tickets but were told that only twenty in total had been made available because of social distancing

So, instead I’ll take this opportunity to introduce those of you who don’t know them to The Toñin Corujo Quartet, who bring years years of research and experience around the timple instrument.

Basically this quartet interprets Toñin Corujo themes, although there are also contributions from all its members. Surprises and winks with its daring and risky versions by other authors are also included.

This solid formation consists of four eclectic musicians from styles as varied as popular music, jazz, heavy metal and who come together to travel along little-travelled sound paths that awaken intense emotions and intense emotions.

Toñin Corujo Quartet enjoys a staging full of complicity and the good humour of these virtuoso musicians of skin, soul and sound muscle, their performance is surprising.

Toñín Corujo is a Canaria musician, born in 1960 in Arrecife, and his instrument is the timple. His passion for music was transmitted to his own family, his grandfather being the one who taught him the first chords on a guitar and his father who started him on timple.

In 1975 he was part of the Awañac group, dedicated to ethnographic research, carried out different rescue work, among them the recovery of the coplas of Víctor Fernández Gopar, popular copist of palpable quality and ingenuity, born in 1844.

In those years he began teaching as a music teacher, although he combined that with his own training. This became much more serious and constant in the middle of the following decade. First he received guitar lessons from professor Silvestre Alvarez and then traveling to Paris where he would study classical guitar, harmony and composition. There he met Blas Sánchez, Cristian Salmón and Didie Prat, his teachers. With Blas he enlisted in Guitar Consort and with this training gave several concerts in Kladno and Prague. Also in Paris he had the opportunity to share experiences with Juan Carlos Pérez, Domingo Rodríguez and to receive classes from Michelle Ponce and Roland Dyens.

In 1991 he returned to Lanzarote, where he opened his own music school and made music teaching his main profession and livelihood. Soon he worked on the production of the album “Rancho de Pascua de San Bartolomé”, then appeared on the first album of the group Antenara.

In 2004 he released his first album as a group leader: Arrecife. This work had a good impact in the Canary Islands and allowed him to participate in the Womad Canarias of 2005 where he shares the stage with Salif Keita, The Wailers, Carmen Paris, Yasmin Levy or Trilok Gurtu, Amadou & Mariam, The Bays, Cristóbal Repetto, Kanda Bongo Man, this Other.

In 2007 he presented Sal Y Arena, a careful recording directed by Andreas Prittwitz and in which top musicians participated: José Antonio Ramos, Angel Crespo, Javier Saiz, David San José, Antonio Toledo, Fernando Anguita, Diego Galaz or Mariano Díaz.

The group represented Las Islas in a Government project for The Canary Islands, performing makes several concerts at Expo Zaragoza 2008.

In 2011 Toñín Corujo brought together the most important music in The Canary Islands for the recording of “El Salinero”, using work by Víctor Fernández Gopar, that he heard performed by his father Antonio Corujo. That same year he published “Lanzarote Music”.

Toñín delivers a sensational musical proposal. He bases his programmes on tradition, but remains open to the musical reality of the whole planet, and plays old and current music played from heart.

Until the lockdown he played almost every Saturday, from June 15, 2013, with the Tonin Corujo Quartet at the weekly Nights of Jameos a concerts with Carlos Perez: Saxo, Yarel Hernández: Guitar, Israel Curbelo: Piano and Percussion and the timple of Toñin Corujo.

We are sorry we missed him this time around, but we’ll catch him again somewhere down the sidetracks & detours of the new music trails being mapped out. And, of course, we’ll bring you a review.

And in our next contribution to these pages we hope to bring you a review of an open air concert on the patio at Casa Ajei in St. Bartolome on Saturday 8th August. This features soprano singer, Judith Pezoa accompanied on the piano by Gonzalo Manzanares.