BEHIND THE MUSIC
David Jenkins "El Oso"
David began his musical studies in 1954, at the age of nine, when he auditioned, sang and toured with the SF Boys Chorus under the direction of the late Madi Bacon, annually performing the children’s chorus parts in the SF Opera Company’s La Boheme, Boris Godunov, Tosca, Turandot and Carmen with the San Francisco Opera Company.
In 1962, at the age of seventeen, he auditioned and was accepted into the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he majored in cello and composition. In subsequent years he composed vocal and cello music for the SF Mime Troupe of Ronnie Davis’s Comedia Del Arte Series in the Park, as well as pieces for the piano, cello and guitar.
It was also in 1962, at the age of 17, when David was first exposed to Flamenco at the, now legendary, tablao at the famous Old Spaghetti Factory in N. Beach on Green St., which was single handedly produced/sustained by brilliant sculptor Richard Whalen. This harkens back to the days when David Jones (“Serva”) was as well known, justifiably, for his Cante as his now esteemed Toque, when Isa Mura (the late mother of famed dancer/Choreographer Yaelisa) was better known as a dancer, than her later highly revered Cante and young Ernesto Hernandez for his remarkable footwork and “aire.”
In 1979, David (elOso) began his Flamenco guitar studies with the technically brilliant guitarist Lionel James (one of the only known prodigies of Agustín Castellón Campos, more famously known as, ”Sabicas”) and later on in 1980-81 David had the good fortune to study with Agustin Rios, the gifted nephew of the late Diego de Gastor. In 1980 he began playing for the SF dance classes of Rosa Montoya.
In ’81 he traveled to Sevilla, where he took up residence in the barrio of Triana, apprenticing himself to the daily ensayos of highly esteemed Flamenco dance choreographer Manolo Marin. He also studied guitar under Manolo Rojas, a disciple of the late Niño Ricardo.
Since that time, and for the past twenty-nine years, david has performed as a solo and accompanying guitarist throughout the continental U.S., Mexico (at “el Sol y la Luna” in Oaxaca and in the home of the late world renowned Mexican painter Rudolfo Morales’ home in Ocotlán, Oaxaca) and in Granada, Nicaragua. Over this time period and travels he collaborated with singers Kathy Mejia, Mercedes Molina and Cedar Matyola and dancers La Miri, La Fibi, La Monica, Ernesto Hernandez, as well as, the late (and much beloved) Cruz Luna.
In 1994 he journeyed to India where he had the privilege of playing for Indian instrumentalists in Jaipur and Jodhpur, Rajisthan, including Krishna Bhat (Sitar) and Vishwa Mohan Bhat (Slide Guitar), who's recording of "A Meeting by the River" with Ry Cooder won them both a Grammy in 1993. In Jodphur, David also played with the Rajasthan Musicians who performed so brilliantly in the opening scenes of film director Tony Gatlif’s 1993 production of Lacho Drom.
More recently, he composed & accompanied works performed by Joanna Haigood’s Zaccho Youth Company, at the ODC Youth Festival & the Sky Dancers Aerial Arts Festival.
He has collaborated and performed in the SF Bay Area with Sarod player, Ben Kunin (the prior Executive Director of the Ali Akbar Khan School of Music) and Tabla player, Kukoo Singh, where they explore the ancient/contemporary confluence of Flamenco and Indian Classical music.
David currently splits his time between the SF Bay Area, S. Spain & S. Mexico where he studies/teaches Flamenco guitar technique & improvisation, as well as, performs regularly with other guitarists, singers and dancers.