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Thread: Thoughts About Cante Flamenco

  1. #106
    Senior Member Casebearer's Avatar
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    Not Cante Flamenco per se because she's a dancer but Rocío Molina is quite a phenomenon that takes Flamenco three steps beyond...

    I'll just post this one but read some more about her yourself....

    Last edited by Casebearer; Jan-16-2017 at 07:55.

  2. #107
    Senior Member Strange Magic's Avatar
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    Default El Polo: Cante Grande, Cante Gitano(?)

    In The Art of Flamenco, Donn Pohren devotes considerable space to a discussion of both the Caña and the Polo, two palos very similar to one another and closely linked to Soleares. I have also recently reread a discussion of the Polo on Brook Zern's much more current blog. Both sources agree that both the Polo and the Caña are very old, but their origins are shrouded in mystery. Some hold that they existed in pre-Arab Spain and were adopted by the Arabs and then re-inherited by their Andalusian successors. Others say they are exclusively of Arab origin. Yet what of their close relationship with the allegedly gitano Soleares? That is explained as the gypsies discovering the earlier palos and adopting them as their own, mirroring Soleares.

    Anyway, there is both a formal quality to the Polo and the Caña, somewhat unlike many other palos, but also a haunting melodiousness that I find they share with Serranas (and also certain Soleares). As we have heard a most excellent and typical Caña sung by Rafael Romero, and as I am fond of the Polo also, I offer here four examples, as sung by four masters of traditional cante: First we hear a giant of cante, the payo master Pepe el de la Matrona sing a variant Polo de Tobalo, ending with a macho, which is a singer's distinctive closing verse with which he/she may traditionally end a particular palo:
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=lQLPGWWIriY

    Next, a Polo by another payo giant, El Niño de Almaden, also known as Jacinto Almaden:
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=dO6pndTN2c8

    Then the young José Menese:
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Pkw_6nHqqzM

    And finally, the master of all such palos, Rafael Romero sings:
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=EVjFCF2b8cw

  3. #108
    Senior Member Strange Magic's Avatar
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    Default The Flamenco Guitar

    This article has focused on cante as the heart of flamenco. But the accompaniment, the toque on guitar is the other essential for those palos that are accompanied, and herewith is the link to Wikipedia's fine entry on the construction of the flamenco guitar, its differences to classical guitars, and some information about techniques used in playing the instrument. One of the key points of difference between classical and flamenco guitar is that the strings of the flamenco guitar are closer to the soundboard than those of the classical guitar--this also to reduce the sustain of the guitar: as notes are rapidly played, they need to just as rapidly decay in flamenco, whereas classical guitar often has the opposite requirement.

    I know nothing myself about guitar, other than what my ears and eyes tell me, but I am always astounded by the virtuosity of workaday flamenco guitarists as they play, accompanying their singing partners. Ligado, the technique of playing notes with the left hand while simultaneously holding other strings down on the frets with the other fingers, is particularly intriguing. I also appreciate golpe, the striking of the soundboard with a finger while playing, to give emphasis to a run of notes; it helps to make flamenco so emotionally rich.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flamenco_guitar

  4. #109
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    Lovely posts!

    I love the Martinete form & am a huge fan of Agujetas!

    You are incredibly well-informed about flamenco, & I take it you are not Spanish? (Much as I am moved by the darker cante forms I a not as enthusiastic about the way of life of the gitanos; there is terrible cruelty to animals, in the horse fairs & just in general, still taking place in the south of Spain. )
    Last edited by kirolak; May-11-2017 at 23:54.

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  6. #110
    Senior Member Strange Magic's Avatar
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    kirolak, thank you for your kind words, and welcome to our small band of aficionados of cante flamenco. I am not Spanish, have never been to Spain, and have little gift for languages at all--only the most rudimentary knowledge of Spanish. All the language ability went to my youngest sister, who speaks it fluently but has no interest in flamenco at all, alas. I fell in love with cante at an early age, and have just stuck with it ever since. Please feel free to contribute whatever you will to the thread!

    P.S.: You mention Agujetas, one of the greats. I'll repeat here an interesting factoid about David Serva, aka David Jones, the American tocaor who has accompanied Agujetas. Jones, the most accomplished American ever to learn flamenco guitar well enough to accompany a master like Agujetas, has a son, Marty Jones, a bassist who plays with the Himalayans. That Marty Jones is a friend of Adam Duritz of the band Counting Crows, and is the Mr. Jones of Counting Crows' great song Mr. Jones. Small world.
    Last edited by Strange Magic; May-12-2017 at 05:32.

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  8. #111
    Senior Member Strange Magic's Avatar
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    Default A Tasty Tientos y Tangos

    José Menese was a favorite cantaor of mine, and Diego del Gastor a legend as an accompanist. Diego is very closely associated with a handful of singers with whom he worked in Morón for decades: the Sisters Fernanda and Bernarda de Utrera, Perrate de Utrera, a few others; he rarely performed outside that smallish circle. But here is a fine Tientos y Tangos where he accompanies Menese. Diego here is very much at his ease, congratulating and saluting Menese and also providing his trademark strong compás as a backbone to the performance. Diego seemed to often favor, with his singers, an almost march-like compás at various times, as we saw and heard in the post with Perrate de Utrera. I find this emphasis on a striding, strong rhythm lends additional force to many of Diego's collaborations with his singers. But here's that Tientos y Tangos with José Menese:


  9. #112
    Senior Member Strange Magic's Avatar
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    Default A Celebration of Flamenco Gatidano

    The Andalusian city of Cádiz, on the Atlantic coast south of Sevilla, has long been one of the key cradles of flamenco. The city is proud of its heritage--it is the Gades of Roman times--and of its wonderful legacy of cante. Here are some selections of that legacy.

    First is a Tientos y Tangos by the queen of Cádiz cantaoras, La Perla de Cádiz. The tocaor is Paco Cepero.
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Ez3UeB45U9c

    Estrella Morente, while not herself a Gatidana, is a great admirer of the deceased La Perla, and here offers her version of one of La Perla's Bulerias:
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=A6FS2R3rf5I

    Then we have the acknowledged Master of Cante Gatidano, Aurelio de Cádiz, singing a wonderful Soleares in his distinctive voice:
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Aj1VzYSAOaE

    And finally, Aurelio again singing Siguiriyas:
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ChUos6KxBBE
    Last edited by Strange Magic; Jun-04-2017 at 21:52.

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  11. #113
    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    This is a fabulous Cante Flamingo thread that I've marked Likes on virtually every post. I love the music and its ability to tell a story or just to be immersed in its sense of passion. The Spanish are way underappreciated for what they had contributed to European culture, and their spirit is needed when everyone else gets too locked into their heads and analysis or the minor petty things of life that don't really matter. But love and sex and birth and death and pain and heartache and joy and risk and courage and spirit – they are what give life its deeper passion, vitality and meaning, and I've always felt that the Spanish knew a hell of a lot about it as vibrant men and women. Ole!
    Last edited by Larkenfield; Jul-16-2017 at 12:47.

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  13. #114
    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    Wow. Just wow. From his guts and belly. In places it unexpectedly goes into major.
    Last edited by Larkenfield; Jul-16-2017 at 13:11.

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  15. #115
    Senior Member Strange Magic's Avatar
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    Larkenfield, welcome to our quiet little corner of TC. Just be careful about references to "cante flamingo". An English flamenco aficionado once posted that he asked someone in his London neighborhood whether they knew anything about flamenco. The person replied "That's a kind of fekking big pink bird, innit!"

  16. #116
    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange Magic View Post
    Larkenfield, welcome to our quiet little corner of TC. Just be careful about references to "cante flamingo". An English flamenco aficionado once posted that he asked someone in his London neighborhood whether they knew anything about flamenco. The person replied "That's a kind of fekking big pink bird, innit!"
    Hi Strange Magic. Thanks for the welcome. I'll be careful about my language references, so I don't run the risk of being attacked by that "big pink bird"! I wouldn't want to show disrespect or perhaps also be attacked by a pair of angry castanets.... I've been enjoying the passion and vitality of the art. There's nothing like that ____ music. Ole!

    Last edited by Larkenfield; Jul-23-2017 at 04:33.
    ”Astonish me!” —Diaghilev

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  18. #117
    Senior Member Strange Magic's Avatar
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    Default More from José de la Tomasa

    José de la Tomasa is one of my very favorite cantaores. His articulation is distinctive for its clarity, and, though a full gitano, he sang cante andaluz palos with great facility and familiarity, something that not all gitano singers choose to do. I have previously posted his Malagueñas. That same session resulted also in a fine Taranta (here erroneously labeled a Taranto) and an outstanding Soleares. Along with the Malagueña, these selections give us the young José, when his voice was at its peak. Here first is the Taranta:



    And here the Soleares:

    Last edited by Strange Magic; Aug-21-2017 at 06:33.

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  20. #118
    Senior Member Strange Magic's Avatar
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    Default Enrique Montoya, Cantaor; and What Might Have Been

    Who was Enrique Montoya? A Google search doesn't turn up much useful information on this obscure singer. Donn Pohren, in The Art of Flamenco, merely dismisses Montoya as yet another reviled cante bonito cantaor. The jacket of an old Montilla LP, #FM-117, Serenata Andaluza, probably recorded in late 1958, does provide a few details: Born Utrera, 1928. Started singing as a child; joined troupe Ases Juveniles and was very successful in Madrid with them. Later toured Middle East and Europe; on return to Spain, joined troupe of Conchita Piquer, and became a member of the show Salero de Espana. Later he was "widely acclaimed" while appearing at New York's Roxy Theatre.

    Not a particularly promising biography, yet Montoya did make one of the great flamenco recordings of the 1950s, Elektra #149, the LP Festival Gitana, 1958, which I have discussed before, and provided a link to. Accompanied by Sabicas, Sabicas' brother Diego Castellon, and Mario Escudero (playing as El Niño de Alicante), and with palmas and jaleo by Los Trianeros, Montoya joined with another sometimes-dismissed cantaor, Domingo Alvarado, such that the two of them rose to heights of the cante that neither of them had seemed capable of before (and never achieved again thereafter).

    Whence came the magic? Was it the emergence of the mysterious duende? I think two factors were at work. First, the contact with Sabicas probably was a powerful catalyst to Montoya to sing especially well, since he knew that Sabicas and Alvarado had worked closely together in the Carmen Amaya troupe. Second, it was worked out that he and Alvarado would sing alternate coplas for what turned out to be astonishingly fine Verdiales, Tientos, Fandangos, and Fandangos de Huelva. This happy circumstance resulted in miracles of the cante, as Montoya and Alvarado were driven by one another's example to achieve levels of art they (and others) may have not thought them ever capable of. A combination of competitiveness and mutual inspiration that must be heard to be believed.

    Enrique Montoya, to my knowledge, only one other time rose to the level that he achieved on Festival Gitana. That was on the previously-mentioned Serenata Andaluza LP, wherein he again teamed with Sabicas and Diego Castellon, and this time with the bailaor Goyo Reyes, to record a magnificent and rhapsodic Alegrias, a triumph of both cante and zapateado.

    These two albums, when Montoya worked with Sabicas, represented Montoya's brief but remarkable episode when he fully committed himself to cante flamenco puro. He provided what remains for me the finest Alegrias I ever heard, plus really superb examples of Bulerias, Fandangos, Siguiriyas, Fandangos de Huelva, Verdiales, and Tientos.

    The rest of the tale does not concern us. Enrique Montoya left his brief but intense association with traditional cante behind and devoted himself to other genres, often accompanying himself on guitar. He even cut several disks with latter-day flamenco (and non-flamenco) guitar phenom Paco de Lucía, but one quickly discerns that, unlike the example of Sabicas, PdL and Montoya had little to offer one another by way of dedication to classic cante.

    Like a meteor, Enrique Montoya thus flashed brilliantly, briefly. Then he was gone. Yet the question of what could have been continues to haunt me--he was just so good, and was largely responsible for my lifelong love affair with cante.
    Last edited by Strange Magic; Sep-21-2017 at 21:05.

  21. #119
    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    ”Astonish me!” —Diaghilev

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  23. #120
    Senior Member Strange Magic's Avatar
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    ^^^Larkenfield, thanks for the García Lorca/Montoya clip. Federico García Lorca, along with Manuel DeFalla, had an interesting relationship with flamenco, sponsoring an early cante competition with mixed results, resulting from their misapprehension of flamenco as a "Folk Art" rather than as a form of Art Song. But they clearly loved flamenco, and García Lorca penned material which ended up sung by flamenco singers. The Montoya example reminded me of this later effort at a García Lorca lyric by Camarón de la Isla, which I love--it's not flamenco but its bubbly charm is irresistible!


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