Torsten De Winkel
A prestigious international musician and one of the pillars of cultural and musical dynamism in the island of El Hierro
The German guitarist, who resides between New York and El Hierro, Torsten de Winkel gives courses around the Canaries helping people free themselves from the mental limitations which prevent us reaching our full creative potential in all its splendour and glory.
Torsten de Winkel is one of the best guitarists in more ways than one: the last 20 years he has been on tour and has recorded with many stars, from jazz musician Pat Metheny to soul singer Whitney Houston, or from German singer-songwriter Udo Jürgens to hip-hop singer Grandmaster Flash. He is also the musical director of the Bimbache openART festival on the island of El Hierro www.bimbache.info.
Graduated "Cum Laude" at the Berklee College of Music, Winkel has 7 recorded projects to his name, with features from star performers such as Michael Brecker, Billy Cobham, Larry Grenadier, Kai Eckhardt, Ernie Watts, Ravi Coltrane, Nana Vasconcelos, Al Foster, Gregoire Maret and many others. He is also a dedicated teacher who has invested a lot of time in making the relatively young discipline of jazz and pop/rock easier to learn.
Of Senegalese origin, Khaly Thioune graduated in Performing Arts in the National Superior School of Art of Dákar (Senegal, 2000) in interpretation, dance and percussion.
His professional career closely tied to the creation of the Hermanos Thioune group in the Canary Islands which starting in 2002 and has since worked in different social, educational and cultural spheres. They have collaborated with different organisations and institutions, both public and private, such as the Canary Islands Government, Casa Africa, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, councils of Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura and Tenerife, popular universities, play centres etc.
He has participated in national and international festivals such as Africa Vive, Diversity, Rototom Sunsplash, WOMEX Denmark, WOMAD Las Palmas of Gran Canaria and Cáceres, World Social Forum of Migrations, Encuentros del Mar, among others.
Ismailah Thiam Ramos
Ismailah Thiam Ramos, born to a Senegalese father and Canarian mother, began humming before he could speak. "He would wake up singing and go to bed singing" recounts his mother, Gloria Ramos, who still remembers little Ismailah starting out with Puerta del Sol by Mecano when he was four years old. Since then music and Ismailah have been inseparable. Initially, he was part of the Youth Choir of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Gran Canaria in which he spent seven years. He has also performed with the Gran Canaria Youth Orchestra and the Araguaney parade on multiple occasions.
He is the oldest student at the Municipal School of Music, where he studies vocal techniques and plays the organ and guitar by ear. Canarian music is his passion and he has performed several times in the Canarian television program Tenderete.
"Music is his life. He was born with a natural gift for it. It must have come from my uncle Chano Gonzalez who was considered to be the best bass in Europe. There are people who hear him sing and say they think that they are listening to my uncle. He's happy with music. He sings with the Araguaney party every time they call him, all he wants is to have an audience. He lives for the stage." Explains his mother who described Ismailah as being "warm, super-affectionate, special, sensitive and very relaxed".
Ismailah has an intellectual disability of 81%, with slight psychomotor retardation, because he lacked oxygen at birth. However, this initial disadvantage has not prevented him from developing great talent as a singer. He was presented with an award by the Canarian Government association Aprosu for his daily dedication and participation in workshops at occupational centre, and for being an example of "perseverance and tenacity in the world of music, overcoming notable limitations associated with his disability".
According to Carmen Delia Arencibia the managing director of Aprosu, the award is a recognition of the "double challenge" that Thiam has overcome. In addition to Canarian music, Ismailah has a soft spot for Silvio Rodríguez, Rocío Jurado and above all, for Julio Iglesias. His mother took him to Tenerife a few years ago to see him at a perform live. "It was one of the happiest moments of his life!" recounts Gloria who went on to proudly describe how Ismailah also completed both his elementary and senior schooling "He is independent. He goes to the gym every day and in some ways, he is much smarter than anyone," She said, then adding "he was more excited about the prize when he thought he was going to sing during the award ceremony. When they said no, he was a bit disappointed, but he is still excited to travel to El Hierro."