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Thread: Thoughts About Cante Flamenco

  1. #151
    Senior Member Strange Magic's Avatar
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    Default More About Manolita

    In browsing about on the Internet, I came across a fairly recent entry by respected flamenco commentator and authority Estela Zatania on Manolita de Jerez. Estela Zatania shares my enthusiasm for Manolita, and provides some confirmation for my suspicion that the tocaor Triguito accompanied Manolita on at least one palo (Fandangos) on the fabulous Danzas Flamencas 1954 Decca LP, as rumor had it that they had performed together, and thus he perhaps was the chief guitarist for that Danzas Flamencas disk, yet Zatania does not appear to know of that great recording.
    Last edited by Strange Magic; Nov-12-2018 at 02:40.

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  3. #152
    Senior Member Strange Magic's Avatar
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    Default A Few More Selections from Danzas Flamencas

    I do go on about Danzas Flamencas, the wonderful LP issued by José Greco that has so much great singing and dancing, yet has never been reissued as a CD or a complete YouTube selection. But bits and pieces have lately been showing up on YouTube. Here are a few more gems:

    First is a Tangos por Zambra sung by Rafael Romero...
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2YMEGA...VEm-u&index=84

    Next, a classic Tientos sung by Rafael and danced by Greco:
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=GK98Uw...5GE9IsL3_VEm-u

    And finally, Manolita de Jerez sings the best Tangos por Zambra, danced by Greco. Wonderful!
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=jYWaWt...5GE9IsL3_VEm-u
    Last edited by Strange Magic; Nov-12-2018 at 05:06.

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  5. #153
    Senior Member Strange Magic's Avatar
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    Default José Greco y Los Chiquitos de Algeciras

    In wandering about YouTube, I came across a trove of material credited to "José Greco" that I did not recognize. Amongst this new material were several tracks whose excellence led me to speculate on just who were the artists performing with Greco. This always a puzzle because egomaniac Greco very rarely if ever identified the flamencos who performed in his company and/or recorded with him, and was at pains to reveal little or nothing of them in his autobiography or on album notes as I have noted. In his defense, though, he often chose exceptionally fine performers, but if only he had told us more...

    The thought then dawned on me that, on several tours, the young guitar phenom Paco de Lucía and his cantaor brother Pepe de Lucía were part of Greco's company: was it possible that the brothers were the fine artists on these YouTube clips? I checked out the brothers on YouTube from when they were a teenage flamenco duo, Los Chiquitos de Algeciras, back in 1962, and even then known for their mastery of flamenco and the excellence of their performance. José Greco got wind of the brothers and invited them to join his troupe in 1963; this detail from Paco Sevilla's bio of Paco de Lucía. When I listened to the very young Pepe (15) singing as Pepe de Algeciras and compared it with a possible 17-year-old Pepe de Lucía singing with a slightly more mature but very similar voice on the Greco recordings, and the very skillful guitar accompaniment in both cases, it seems to me quite probable that it is the brothers we are hearing on the Greco YouTube clips. Pepe de Lucía has a wonderful voice and delivery, and even at 16 won a prize at a flamenco contest for his Malagueñas, and Donn Pohren, who evidently was at the contest, thought Pepe should have won almost all the prizes for cante.

    Here are the clips: First is an exciting Solea por Bulerias, ending in a straight-up Bulerias...
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=wvphjh...VEm-u&index=25

    Next we have Fandangos de Huelva:
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=jTouXZ...VEm-u&index=29

    Now Tangos:
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=DQaXKO...VEm-u&index=36

    And finally Malagueñas then leading into Verdiales:
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ffKCnf...VEm-u&index=37

    I was so pleased to discover these clips. They demonstrate how good Greco's taste was in selecting flamencos to join his troupe and then to bring some of the best real flamenco, though somewhat "staged" of necessity, to the greater world outside of Andalusia. Along with Sabicas, José Greco was my passport and introduction to the world of flamenco.
    Last edited by Strange Magic; Nov-14-2018 at 04:43.

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  7. #154
    Senior Member Strange Magic's Avatar
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    Default Yet More About Manolita de Jerez

    Here is a bit of Estela Zatania's tribute to Manolita de Jerez wherein she strengthens the supposition that the unnamed tocaor on most of the Danzas Flamencas album was Triguito....

    "This is my brief but sincere tribute to one of those forgotten interpreters. I fell in love with the voice of Manuela Cauqui Benítez, “Manolita de Jerez”, around 1962 when I heard her on a recording with the José Greco dance company. In the early sixties I was able to buy records of flamenco singing at a store on New York’s 14th Street called Casa Moneo, which is where I discovered the José Greco recording with Manolita’s haunting sound. Her vocal placement and powerful delivery were reminiscent of Paquera, but then her ability to draw the voice inwards seemed to recall La Niña de los Peines. Add to that an oriental sort of twang, the compás of Jerez, the influence of don Antonio Chacón, and it was an irresistibly flamenco recipe.

    Yet so forgotten was this singer in recent times, that when I brought her name up at a roundtable discussion with experts on the flamenco singing of Jerez, they assured me there was no such artist from this city, and that certainly it had to be someone wanting to bask in the glory of assuming the sobriquet “de Jerez”. Further investigation however, revealed Manolita could not have been more from Jerez, with roots in both the Santiago neighborhood, where she was born, and San Miguel, where she later lived very near Paquera’s birthplace, in addition to spending her final years in the La Plata neighborhood.

    Manolita’s father worked in a typical Jerez “tabanco” where people gathered to drink wine and share cante. Her mother and sisters are said to have been very good singers. At the age of 15, she sang at the Villamarta theater in Jerez, and at 18, recorded several popular songs accompanied by Manuel Bonet on guitar, although in the Diccionario Enciclopédico Ilustrado del Flamenco, Juan González Núñez “Triguito” is described as “the favored guitarist of Manolita de Jerez”. In these recordings you don’t really detect the enormous capacity and flamenco power Manolita would deliver only a few years later, when José Greco signed her up to sing for his newly-formed company."

  8. #155
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    Default Rito y Geografía Documentaries

    Since Brook Zern closed down his wonderful flamenco website, the master listing of all the encyclopedic Rito y Geografía documentaries that Zern compiled and published on his site was also lost. But here is the listing again, from the rtve website itself. Anyone interested in total immersion in classic flamenco will find virtually everything here that was available up through the 1970s when most of the material was assembled:

    http://www.rtve.es/alacarta/videos/r...cante/4860998/

  9. #156
    Senior Member Strange Magic's Avatar
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    Default Fosforito

    One of the most highly-esteemed and decorated cantaores of the second half of the 20th century is Antonio Fernández Díaz, "Fosforito". Fosforito, a payo from Córdoba, was born into a flamenco-loving family, and quickly became involved with cante, learning many of its more obscure palos. He was influenced by people like Antonio Mairena, Pastora and Tomás Pavón, and, curiously, by the enigmatic Enrique Montoya, about whom I have posted as a strange figure in flamenco history. While many believe cante flamenco to be primarily a gitano (gypsy) specialty, it is often the payo singers like Fosforito, José Menese, Aurelio de Cádiz, Pepe el de la Matrona, Niño de Almadén who are the most ardent preservers of traditional song, though they often lack the raw voz afillá of gitano singers like Agujetas, Manolo Caracol, or Terremoto. Fosforito is only the 5th singer to receive the coveted Golden Key award, the others being Tomás el Nitri, Manuel Vallejo, Antonio Mairena, and Camarón de la Isla.

    First, we hear Fosforito in a classic Soleá, accompanied by Juan Carmona "Habichuela":
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=aCM_tQnhtVc

    Next, Tangos Gitanos, with Paco de Lucía on guitar
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=RT5FxyWpLbY

    Third, Cantiñas, again with Paco de Lucía.....
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=PGRKchGSEH0

    A fine Tientos, with Paco...
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JW-YL0upiq0

    Finally a juerga-flavored gathering where Fosforito sings again Soleá, accompanied to my surprise by the modest though excellent guitar work of cantaor Enrique Montoya, whose understated yet evocative play reminds me of the elder Perico el del Lunar. Who knew he was so good?
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VIguA004QCE

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  11. #157
    Senior Member Strange Magic's Avatar
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    Default More About Los Chiquitos de Algeciras

    Here are 3 selections from an LP of Paco and Pepe de Lucía as the young duo, Los Chiquitos de Algeciras. I note Pepe sounds a bit like the cantaor Enrique Montoya, with whom Paco de Lucía made several albums--it may be that the brothers were close to Enrique Montoya, as Paco was also to Fosforito. Herewith the three selections in a row: a Soleá, Malagueñas, and Tientos.....

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_Y11XVgQnh4
    Last edited by Strange Magic; May-05-2019 at 14:41.

  12. #158
    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Despite my handle here (really I took it from the name of a great, quasi-Spanish Miles Davis composition), I am pretty clueless about flamenco music. I guess that makes me a flamenco poseur. But in any case, the genre is fascinating and beautiful, so I am naturally curious.

    You really seem to know your stuff. Do you have an all-time favorite flamenco CD? Or one that you would recommend to a beginner as an introduction? As a bit of background, I love all styles and eras of classical music, jazz, hip-hop, old rock music, folk, and metal, if any of that matters. And I'm a guitarist.

    Great thread. I will peruse the youtube links you've provided. This Pepe y Paco de Lucia track is beautiful. The harmonic language of this genre is fascinating, as are its mysterious, melting-pot origins.
    Last edited by flamencosketches; May-09-2019 at 23:41.

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  14. #159
    Senior Member Strange Magic's Avatar
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    flamencosketches, glad to have you here! I had Miles' Sketches of Spain LP back when I was attempting to become familiar with jazz, so I appreciated your TC name and avatar right away. Feel free to join in anytime.

    Regarding CDs, I do not have many because there were not many to have during my collecting days, and YouTube now boasts an incredible library of classic, traditional cante flamenco, which is where I usually go for my music. But here are some suggestions: CDs that deliver a goodly share of fine material...

    First, there is the series of disks called Grands Cantaores du Flamenco, issued by Le Chant du Monde and edited/compiled by Mario Bois. Each is devoted to the work of a single singer. I have the disks for El Sordera, Beni de Cádiz, Terremoto, La Perla de Cádiz, La Niña de los Peines, Manolo Caracol, El Niño de Almadén, Rafael Romero, and Pepe el de la Matrona. All recommended.

    The Antología del Cante Flamenco y Cante Gitano, assembled by Antonio Mairena is a 2-CD Tablao recording, 74321 878922. Has all the important palos.

    Early Cante Flamenco, an Arhoolie CD-326, has many excellent examples.

    Women are featured on an rtve Musica double CD, Mujeres en el Flamenco, #62095. Also many fine examples.

    The classic Sabicas & Company recording, Festival Gitana, was released on CD under the title Flamenco Fiesta by Legacy, CD 428. A classic of touring, ex-pat flamenco.

    If you can play LPs, look for the José Greco classic vinyl, Danzas Flamencas, on an old Decca recording.

    Finally, on Nimbus Records, their CD NI 5168, Cante Gitano, is so well and cleanly recorded that you will look around you for the performers.

    Hope that helps. Along with YouTube, you should have access to all the great flamenco you can absorb. If you haven't yet, I would also advise reading a good book on flamenco and becoming familiar with the different palos; once you can recognize which is which, cante becomes even more engaging. Best of luck!
    Last edited by Strange Magic; May-10-2019 at 19:01.

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  16. #160
    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Many thanks I look forward to a lot of discovery.

    Youtube will probably get me started, but I think I am still in my "collecting days" that you may have grown out of, as I much prefer to own the music I listen to. But yes, there is a vast treasure trove of great music on Youtube.

    Thanks again!

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  18. #161
    Senior Member Strange Magic's Avatar
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    Before we leave a discussion of cante flamenco CDs, something should be said about the Great Grandaddy of Them All. In 1955 or thereabouts, a French producer approached guitarist Perico el del Lunar, who knew just about everybody in flamenco, about recording an anthology of cante. This was the legendary Antología del Cante Flamenco, released as 3 LPs on the Westminster and Hispavox labels. The Antología became for many non-Spaniards their gateway into cante, and it was one of my earliest collected recordings. It has subsequently been re-released on CD several times, though I do not have it as such. The Antología offers an example of virtually every palo, though the examples are not necessarily always of the most compelling variety. But when they are good, they are fabulous--the four Saetas are the best I've ever heard, and many others stick in my mind. Plus the recordings remain one of the best places to hear the unique guitar accompaniment of Perico el del Lunar the Elder, whose playing has been regarded by many as a gold standard in cante accompaniment, due to his evocative atmospheric World-Weary 3 o'clock in the morning personal style. Once you hear Perico, you will recognize his playing forever.

    Here is a link to what may be a source for the Antología in CD format. This is a different anthology from the previously mentioned anthology compiled by Antonio Mairena....

    https://www.discogs.com/Various-Anto...elease/4702845

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  20. #162
    Senior Member Strange Magic's Avatar
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    Default Night Thoughts

    My insomnia is an old acquaintance. A recent bout had me again wide awake, seeking engagement, and I found myself drawn as so often happens to my YouTube flamenco, listening to and sometimes watching the singers and guitarists interacting as I have for close to 65 years now, on LPs, CDs, and then YT. I watched and listened to a bit of Estrella Morente, José de la Tomasa, Perrate de Utrera and Diego del Gastor, and finally Terremoto and his eternal companion Manuel Moreno "Morao". I am familiar with every note in the selections and was struck again by how comfortable and satisfying it was and is to slide smoothly into the distinctive quickly recognizable patterns and sequences of the various palos--Soleares, Malagueñas, Siguiriyas, Tientos, Fandangos, Bulerias..... Old friends, like well-worn pebbles or bits of polished wood that just feel right in one's hand. Comforting in the middle of a dark, sleepless but unworried night.

    I was also struck, watching Morao accompanying Terremoto, at just how fantastically accomplished these flamenco guitarists are. The YT clips of the two often focus upon Morao's fingers as they effortlessly fly over the guitar's strings, both plucking and holding down strings to produce instantly the sounds he is searching for. Strumming, tapping the guitar body (golpe) very close to instinctively. I compare that (unfairly!) with the seemingly labored effort of classical guitarists carefully picking their way through a complex piece--the contrast gives the false but almost unavoidable impression that flamenco guitarists know exactly at all times what their instruments can produce sonically and exactly how to produce it, while classical guitarists are figuring it out as they go along. I love cante flamenco!
    Last edited by Strange Magic; Aug-31-2019 at 13:37.

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