Chekara is the name of the project headed by Jalal Chekara (voice and violin) and formed by musicians from the Ensemble Chekara Andalusí de Tétouan , Yousef Chair (Darbuka, percussion and choirs) and Mohamed el Houssaini (keyboards and piano), as well as the flamenco performers Vicente Gelo or Rosa de Algeciras (voice), Tino Vandersman or José Manuel Tudela (guitar) and Irene la Sentío or María Ángeles Gabaldón (dance).
Abdessadak Chekara, one of XXth century violin masters, National Prize of Morocco, founded the first Arabo-Andalusian orchestra of Tetuan in 1959. Later, that orchestra would be known as the Ensemble Chekara Andalusia de Tétouan. The Orquestra has been collaborating with flamenco artists for more than 30 years. José Hereda Maya released “Macama Jonda” (Polygram, 1989) and for his first performance in Granada he collaborated with Enrique Morente, Antonia La Negra, Luis Heredia “El Polaco” and Jaime Heredia “El Parrón”, among other flamenco artists. Orquesta Chekara Andalusí of Tetuán collaborated in that performance too, beginning this long term relationship with flamenco.
Jalal 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.
Jallal’s most important task has been his continuous work with Andalusian flamenco. He has worked closely with front line flamenco artists as Enrique Morente, Carmen Linares, Segundo Falcón and Arcángel, Ángeles Gabaldón; as well as occasional collaborations with El Pele, Esperanza Fernández, La Lole, La Susi, David Palomar, El Lombo, etc.
Standing out beyond flamenco is the Orquestra´s work with the renowned composer Michael Nyman (with whom they recorded the album “The Upside-down Violin”), the great violinist Yehudi Manuhin and singer Rabbi Haim Louk.
The Orchestra released two albums, “La Chekara y el Flamenco, primera parte” (Música es Amor, 2009) and “Tan cerca tan lejos” (Música es Amor, 2014), which pays homage to the famous flamenco figure Enrique Morente and was produced with the special assistance from her daughter, Estrella Morente.