Radio Tarifa was a Spanish World music ensemble combining Flamenco, Arab-Andalusian music, Arabian music, Moorish music and also influences of the Mediterranean, of the Middle Ages and of the Caribbean. The name of the ensemble comes from an imaginary radio station in Tarifa, a small town in the southernmost Spanish province of Cadiz, Andalusia, the nearest part of Spain to Morocco. Instead of simply fusing musical styles as they currently exist, Radio Tarifa goes back in time to the common past of those styles, back to before 1492 when the Moors and Jews were exiled from Spain. This invented style sheds light upon the real styles of Spain, most notably flamenco although the band rejected all musical purism, preferring to mix arrangements of traditional compositions with their own melodies and combining instruments from Ancient Egypt, classical Greek and Roman times with modern saxophones and electric bass.
Both Fain Dueñas (percussion, Spain) and Vincent Molino (flute, France) were students of Moroccan multi-instrumentalist and composer Tarik Banzi of the Al-Andalus Ensemble. Together they founded an early music group playing music from the late Middle Ages and Renaissance called Ars Antiqua Musicalis, although this group was unable to find commercial success. When they met Benjamin Escoriza (Granada)—a troubadour flamenco singer raised by Gypsies—in Madrid in the late 1980s, the last piece was in place.
Their first recording together, Rumba Argelina, was recorded in 1993 and became a sensation in Europe when it was released in 1996, and again when it was issued (through association with Nonesuch Records) in America in 1997. The critical and financial success of that disc made it possible to put together a full-fledged touring band which played Germany, Italy, France, United Kingdom, Ireland, Belgium, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Luxembourg, Hungary, Slovenia, Austria, Greece, Turkey, Morocco, Egypt, Palestine, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Canada and the United States".
After 14 years of intense activity—according to their website—the band announced they would take an indefinite break; their farewell concert was performed in Barcelona on 11 November 2006.
Benjamin Escoriza died on 9 March 2012, at the age of 58.
- Rumba Argelina (1993)
- Temporal (1996)
- Cruzando el río (2000)
- Fiebre (2003) (live at the 2002 Toronto Small World Music Festival)
- Live 25 July 2004 - Ramallah, Palestine
- Benjamin Escoriza - vocals
- Fain Sanchez Dueñas - darbuka, plato, backing vocals
- Vincent Molino - ney, crumhorn, poitou oboe
- Jaime Muela - flute, soprano saxophone
- Pedro Esparza - soprano saxophone
- Amir-John Haddad - oud, backing vocals
- Wafir Sh. Gibril - accordion
- Ramiro Amusategui - buzuki
- Jorge Gomez - flamenco guitar, electric guitar
- Sebastian Rubio - pandereta, bongos
- David Purdye - electric bass, backing vocals
- Peter Oteo - electric bass
- Javier Paxarino - Flute Instruments