Jose Fernandez Torres “Tomatito” was born in Almeria in 1958, in the Pescaderia neighborhood. His family is associated with Almeria since many generations back and has an inherent musical tradition. His Grandfather Miguel Fernandez Cortes “El Tomate” was a well-known figure at private parties at the turn of the century and among the young aficionados of Almeria’s traditional musical evenings, at which he played duets with his brother Antonio.
His father, Jose Fernandez Castro, also “El Tomate”, was a guitar enthusiast at home and played the clarinet in the city’s Municipal Band. His brothers and thus Tomatito’s uncles, were Antonio, who played the bandurria as a youngster and later developed a career as a guitarist in France playing for artists such as Paco Isidro, and also Miguel “Nino Miguel”, who became a virtuoso classical guitarist in Huelva where he still lives.
Jose grew up in an environment closely linked toJosé grew up in an environment closely linked to music and especially, to flamenco. He learnt his first chords from his father and grandfather and showed strong musical talent and almost innate ability from an early age. Before long, at just 10 years old, his first break as an accompanist came about through Jose Sorroche of Almeria’s Pena El Taranto flamenco club. The concert, at which he was presented as “Pepin Fernandez”, had extensive coverage in the local press, as if destiny had bestowed a certain degree of notoriety for him right from the start of his public career. From then on, he maintained a close relationship with this Pena and was called on innumerable times to accompany many of the singers who appeared there.