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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 06:55.

  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 22:54.

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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 04:32.

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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:


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