Scott Mateo Davies began studying guitar at age nine. Upon completing high school, he traveled extensively for four years, performing as a folk singer in diverse venues in London, Casablanca, Stockholm, and New Delhi.
After returning to Minneapolis, Davies founded the pop group “The Rogues,” touring the Midwest for the next eleven years. While on the road, he began playing classical guitar.
In 1982, he moved to Madrid, where he began intensively studying flamenco guitar. Davies returns to Spain each year to continue his studies and to perform. Two of his performances have been broadcast on Radio Nacional de España. His mentors there include David Serva and Aquilino Jiménez “el Entri.”
From 1986 to 1998 Davies was the featured guitarist and ‘ud player for Voices of Sepharad, a group dedicated to performing music and dance of the Spanish Jewish diaspora. In May of 1995, Voices of Sepharad received the prestigious Robert and Adelle S. Blank Jewish Arts Award in New York.
Davies has been a featured guitarist for The Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater in Chicago since 1989. He makes frequent guest appearances with flamenco companies throughout the United States. He is featured on recordings with The Rogues, Dona Peña, Susana Morales, Noami Gutierrez, and Voices of Sepharad. In 1995 he released his first solo recording, “Paths of Convergence,” to critical acclaim.
In 1999 he was involved in the independent film project, “Puente de Almas.” He was the featured guitarist and arranged the ensemble music.
In 2000 he created “RaiAction,” a seven-member ensemble performing flamenco-influenced North African Rai music. In that same year, he and dancer Colette Marie Illarde started their own company, FUEGO Flamenco. In January of 2002, they presented their original production, “Simply…Flamenco,” to sold-out houses at St. Paul’s Hamline University. Mateo and Colette were finalists on FOX Television’s “30 Seconds to Fame” in July 2002.
Davies accompanied the legendary Spanish Gypsy flamenco dancer Manolete for four concerts in Chicago in July of 2003. In September of that year he performed at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago with the Spanish group “Taller de Compas.” That month he also performed as featured guitarist with famed Iranian singer Sattar. In November, Davies presented a concert at the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis in celebration of the the release of his second solo recording, “Caravana Flamenca, a Flamenco Journey.”
He opened a concert for Spain’s most famous contemporary singer, Jose Mercé, at the Park West Theater in Chicago in February 2004. He did a solo performance for the Tourism Office of Spain in May, and in July he played another four concerts accompanying dancer Manolete. In August, Mateo and Colette presented their original production, “Splotches of Spain,” to sold-out houses at the Minnesota Fringe Festival. He also wrote, arranged, and performed original music for Ensemble Español’s Christmas concerts at Northeastern Illinois University in December.
The year 2005 marked the beginning of a deep involvement in Tango music. He was featured guitarist in Theatre de la Jeune Lune’s production of Astor Piazzolla’s opera, “Maria de Buenos Aires,” and subsequently became a full-fledged member of the Mandragora Tango Orchestra. Jeune Lune won a Tony for their outstanding work.
Davies went to Buenos Aires in June, returning in July for his third stint accompanying Manolete with the Ensemble Español. That November, he co-produced the hugely successful production entitled “Caravan: Cairo to Cordova.”
Davies played a solo flamenco concert in Guatemala City in February 2006. 2006 proved to be his busiest year yet, as he played flamenco and tango shows too numerous to mention, ending the year with a tour of Poland with the Ensemble Español.
Davies is committed to promoting issues related to education and child welfare. He is a father of three and a participating sponsor with Children International for fifteen years. Davies also performs regularly at school assemblies, workshops, and residencies.
2007 to the Present
Mateo spent April in Spain, mostly Madrid and Jerez, studying, playing at jam sessions, and relaxing. In May, he toured the East coast of the US with Mandragora Tango. Among other dates, they played in Boston, New York and at Yale University. He toured with Mandragora again in September, playing the Midwest, including Chicago, Madison and Milwaukee. Mateo played a number of shows with Ensemble Español in October. The rest of the year he kept busy teaching flamenco guitar and playing club dates throughout Minnesota.
Mandragora Tango was featured at the Heartland Tango Fest in May. Mateo also toured with them in June (Woodstock, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Richmond VA among other places) and again in August (Chicago, Madison, Milwaukee, Ohio). In September, he toured China with the Ensemble Español for 3 weeks, playing shows in Beijing, Shenyang, and Anshan. Previous to the China tour, he put together a 20-person ensemble that performed flamenco, tango and Middle-Eastern music and dance at several venues as part of the Republican National Convention. A life-long liberal, Mateo jokes that he sought to personally bankrupt the RNC with this massive group.
Mateo toured Florida with Mandragora in January, escaping Minnesota’s cold. In May, they started recording their critically acclaimed CD: Siete Tandas. It was released in the fall of 2009. May and June, he returned to Madrid and Jerez. Mandragora toured the Midwest US in July. In August, Mateo was featured in Raqs Nouveau shows at the Southern Theater in Minneapolis. He performed with the outstanding Arabic ensemble led by George Lammam.
Mateo was very busy with Mandragora Tango this year, touring the Eastern US in January, February, April, and September. Additionally, he toured Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania with Ensemble Español in October. In November, along with singer Rachel “la Mala” Milloy, he presented a concert of Sephardic and Flamenco music and dance in Detroit, MI. In December, Mateo played shows in Palm Beach, Florida with the legendary singer Tony Sandler. He has continued doing occasional shows with Mr Sandler since that time.
Return to Spain for the month of January. Mateo toured the Eastern US with Ensemble Español in February. He did workshops and shows in Detroit in May. A Midwest tour with Mandragora happened in October and Mateo spent much of November in Chicago performing with Ensemble Español.
Mateo went on tour again with Ensemble Español in January and February, performing first a Midwest tour (St Louis, Kansas City etc), then an Eastern US tour, mostly in the Washington DC area. He recorded a CD: “Invisible Chord—6 Lorca and a Siguiriya” with flamenco singer Gregory Sagar at this time, as well. In March, he went to Florida with Ensemble Español, also playing in their Chicago Flamenco Festival in June. In between, Mateo managed to spend April in Spain. He formed his own tango group–Rogue Tango–that summer. This group continues to perform on at least a weekly basis. 2012 marked the release of Mandragora Tango’s CD of mostly original tangos (2 are Mateo’s) which is entitled Barrio Longfellow. In October, he went to South Carolina with Ensemble Español, and, in November and December, they returned to China, touring the Southern part of the country, from Beijing to Haiku Island.
February was spent in Los Angeles and also in the DC area with Ensemble Español. In April, Mateo was the featured flamenco guitarist in the Teatro del Pueblo production of “Lorca in a Green Dress.” When the play closed, he went to Madrid for the month of May. In July, Mateo started doing shows with the Middle-Eastern group Ensemble Mezze, playing guitar and oud. He has continued playing a good deal of this soulful, 11-stringed instrument. The year ended with Mateo doing a lot of teaching as well as solo guitar performances, flamenco-infused jazz shows (with his group Trio Mateo), and duo shows with Rachel “la Mala” Milloy.