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Thread: Thoughts About Cante Flamenco

  1. #46
    Senior Member Strange Magic's Avatar
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    Default Camarón de la Isla

    The figures of guitarist Paco de Lucia and singer Camarón de la Isla dominated talk of flamenco through much of the last third of the twentieth century. Both began imbedded within traditional flamenco, PdL as accompanist to several established flamenco cantaores and associated with such troupes as the company of José Greco; Camarón singing in flamenco tablaos in Madrid along with cantaor El Turronero and accompanied by guitarists such as Antonio Arenas and Paco Cepero. Once associated, PdL and Camarón's flamenco began to evolve away from traditional flamenco, and they both experimented more and more with non-traditional modes, scales, rhythms, instruments. There is a vast literature and discography on both figures. The focus of my interest in Camarón is in his early, traditional art. There is YouTube material of singers Camarón and Turronero and guitarists Paco de Lucia and Paco Cepero seated together and enjoying traditional cante, some of which I offer here:

    First, we have Bulerias, sung by Turronero and then by Camarón. The guitarist is Paco Cepero, one of the finest accompanists of traditional cante--
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=K0gw3sLpnt4

    Next, a wonderful Siguiriyas; again with Paco Cepero--
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0EjqbdQqmwQ

    And finally a classic Alegrías; with Paco Cepero, in another setting--
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TzlmR4e_XHo
    Last edited by Strange Magic; May-16-2016 at 12:27.

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  3. #47
    Senior Member Casebearer's Avatar
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    I’ve always loved Flamenco but I don’t know that much about it. So it was nice to discover this thread yesterday. I have a small collection of flamenco records. Most of them I arbitrarily picked up in thrift stores. I would be interested in some background on the artists (and your opinion on them) because the sleeves often give very little information. I couldn’t find any of them in the thread so far but I might have overlooked.

    First record is El Cante Flamenco. Joker SM 3026.
    https://www.discogs.com/Various-El-C...elease/4430322

    Performers are Pedro Jimenez “El Pili” with Palmas and Jaleo. Guitars by José Jiménez “El Vallecano” and Aracell Vargas.

    Couldn't find anything of him on YouTube except for this one minute excerpt:


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    Second record is Flamenco Fire by Carlos Montoya (very famous of course). Artone PAP 114. He's assisted by Tere Maya (vocalist and dancer). In this case the sleeve gives a lot of information both on Montoya, Maya and the tunes.
    According to the sleeve Montoya stayed more pure in style than many guitarists in Spain. On the other hand Montoya "is (or was) the only Flamenco guitarist who performs his art in concert". What's your view on his place in Flamenco?

    https://www.discogs.com/Carlos-Monto...elease/3321104

    First clip (not from this record):



    Second clip: Tientos Gitanos (performed on this record). The tientos seem to be an almost obsolete music form.


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    Third record is called Los Malagueños. Performed by El Malagueño (guitar), Marino Cano (second guitar), Nena Cano (chant) and Conchita Cano (chant). Harmonia Mundi HMU 965. It's probably from the early seventies.

    https://www.discogs.com/Los-Malague%...elease/3735445

    Lots of text but little information on the sleeve.

    I found a complete video of this on the tube. The Cano ladies sing on the second song - a fandango (Nena and Conchita), the sixth song - a tientos (Conchita) and the 11th song - a rumba flamenca (Nena). These start at 2:50, 16:45 and 34:40.


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    Senior Member Casebearer's Avatar
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    Images and sounds from the Granada flamenco country in the sixties. A Danish video so you can catch up on your Danish too.


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  11. #51
    Senior Member Strange Magic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Casebearer View Post
    First record is El Cante Flamenco. Performers are Pedro Jimenez “El Pili” with Palmas and Jaleo. Guitars by José Jiménez “El Vallecano” and Aracell Vargas.
    El Pili was a respected cantaor, born 1907 in Madrid. Araceli Vargas also well-respected as an accompanist. I could find no references to José Jiménez "El Vallencano". Here is a fine Siguiriyas of El Pili: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=vLuwXxZmhtk

    Is this on your recording? If so, it sounds like a good one.
    Last edited by Strange Magic; May-21-2016 at 15:47.

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  13. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Casebearer View Post
    Second record is Flamenco Fire by Carlos Montoya. According to the sleeve Montoya stayed more pure in style than many guitarists in Spain. On the other hand Montoya "is (or was) the only Flamenco guitarist who performs his art in concert". What's your view on his place in Flamenco?
    As I have little interest in solo flamenco guitar, I offer no opinion of Carlos Montoya in that capacity, other than to note that he brought one aspect of flamenco to a huge audience outside of Spain, and so was an ambassador for the genre, along with Sabicas, Mario Escudero and other soloists.

    He may have also been a fine accompanist, but I have never heard him accompany an acknowledged master of cante. The only recording of Montoya I possess pairs him with relatively unknown singers, and I find the tone/timbre of his guitar quite unusual, though that is perhaps some artifact of that particular recording environment.

    I think he will always be discussed as an anomaly in flamenco--the erratic nephew of the great Ramón Montoya, a true giant of toque.

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  15. #53
    Senior Member Strange Magic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Casebearer View Post
    Third record is called Los Malagueños. Performed by El Malagueño (guitar), Marino Cano (second guitar), Nena Cano (chant) and Conchita Cano (chant). Harmonia Mundi HMU 965. It's probably from the early seventies.
    I have no particular reaction to this disk, but if you like it, that's what counts. It may help you to learn to distinguish the various palos from one another. A suggestion would be to search YouTube for more clips of some of the singers I have documented here-- people like Agujetas, Terremoto, El Chocolate, La Paquera, La Perla de Cádiz, Rafael Romero, El Niño de Almaden. Some others: Beni de Cádiz, Manuel Soto "El Sordera", Pepe el Culata, Manolo Caracol--the list is endless, but both of Donn Pohren's books and the book Flamenco edited by Claus Schreiner will provide many names of great singers. Another resource are the series of CDs under the title "Le Chant du Monde", Grands Cantaores du Flamenco, compiled and edited by Mario Bois. These are excellent collections of the recordings of the various great singers--highly recommended.

    And welcome to our tiny band of aficionados!

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  17. #54
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    Default Manolo Caracol

    Manuel Ortega Juárez, Manolo Caracol, was another of the very finest cantaors, when he chose to be. He came from a large, established gitano family of whom several were bullfighters and others were flamencos. Born in 1909, he began singing at a very young age, and entered a contest organized in 1922 by Manuel De Falla and Federico García Lorca, the Concurso de Cante Jondo. This was a failed attempt by the two aficionados to discover "real", amateur flamenco, without regarding the fact that almost everyone singing authentic flamenco was already a professional--flamenco not being a "folk art" but rather more of an "art song" form of largely paid entertainment (except when flamencos sung for each other in private juergas). Hence very few decent singers showed up, and many cante category awards could not be given. But 12 year old Manolo Caracol was one of a tiny handful to receive an award.

    His subsequent history is one of excess and success. He would sing almost anything for money--debased forms of Spanish popular ditties, pseudo flamenco, anything that would turn a profit--and became quite wealthy. But part of him always remained true to genuine, authentic cante, and he often supported less successful flamencos financially, through direct aid and also by throwing huge parties and hiring down-at-heel artists to perform. He also recorded one of the best anthologies, Una Historia del Cante Flamenco, with his favorite tocaor Melchor de Marchena, withdrawing like a monk to his cell to sing his very best and most heartfelt flamenco. His recorded output is quite variable in quality, but when Manolo Caracol was good, he was indeed very, very good.

    First, Soleares....
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=gZ74xwOFwFA

    Next, Malagueñas....
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=MDkJ7FDnFLc

    Caracol was famous for his mastery of Fandangos, which became known as Fandangos Caracoleros.....
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Fqh7Cs33YR0

    Finally, Bulerias.....
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tGvwAx0-4G8
    Last edited by Strange Magic; May-30-2016 at 04:46.

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    Jose de la Tomasa

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tlyk6HNJsTA

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6g77P5iTjg

    I'm a bit overwhelmed by the new terms and the differences between gitano and/or, both/and Andalus (for example, Jose de la Tomasa seems to me to be one of the most intense, authentic singers so far, but he's not "categorized" under Gitano.

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    Senior Member Strange Magic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JosefinaHW View Post
    I'm a bit overwhelmed by the new terms and the differences between gitano and/or, both/and Andalus (for example, Jose de la Tomasa seems to me to be one of the most intense, authentic singers so far, but he's not "categorized" under Gitano.
    Very, very fine choices above. José de la Tomasa is one of my favorite cantaores; his diction and clarity of expression are distinctive. He sings well also a type of Siguiriyas called Siguiriyas y Cabal, as I recall, where a dark, minor-key Siguiriyas is transformed into an ethereal major key. The effect is stunning: it reminds me of walking through a dark, tangled forest at night, then suddenly ascending a low hill and stepping into a moonlit clearing--quite magical.

    José de la Tomasa is full gitano, "Gypsy on all four sides", as they say. Through his mother, he descends from the family of the legendary Manuel Torres. His father was also a cantaor with the performance name of Pies de Plomo, "Feet of Lead".

    Regarding gitano and andaluz flamenco, after a while you will notice strong similarities among the andaluz palos, especially the descending string of notes that ends most coplas, and also the fact that fewer of the andaluz forms have compás; an established rhythm, whereas more of the gitano palos are marked by their compás. If I knew musical notation, I'm sure I could reference the distinguishing characteristics of the various palos, but I have made do with listening long enough over the years to be able to identify their musical signatures.

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    Default José de la Tomasa, and a Great CD

    In 1988, two English aficionados wanted to make a very authentic recording of a small juerga, a private gathering of flamencos singing only for themselves. One of them had known the guitarist Paco del Gastor for years, the nephew of the great Diego del Gastor. Paco, with his brother Juan, maintains the tradition of subtle, distinctive accompaniment characteristic of the area of Morón de la Frontera, their home and that of their legendary uncle, and where the juerga was to take place. Paco arranged for the juerga's singers to include cantaora Maria La Burra, the daughter of cantaor El Borrico; also Maria Solea, the sister of immortal cantaor Terremoto; and José de la Tomasa; and the brothers Paco and Juan would accompany. The result was Nimbus Records CD NI 5168, Cante Gitano. The quality of the recording is superb; one finds oneself in the middle of the juerga. The cante is also superb, with excellent performances by all concerned--but for me the standouts are José de la Tomasa's Siguiriya y Cabal, mentioned in my above post, and his Solea--both fabulous. The CD's accompanying booklet provides all the songs' texts (letras) in English translation, an added bonus. The bounty of YouTube makes having lots of CDs unnecessary, but this Nimbus CD is well worth owning.

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    I am in the process of perusing this thread more carefully. Who are your favorite tocaores?(I think that's how you would say a flamenco guitarist using the term in the tradition). Any really good filmed recordings?

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    Quote Originally Posted by clavichorder View Post
    Who are your favorite tocaores?(I think that's how you would say a flamenco guitarist using the term in the tradition). Any really good filmed recordings?
    I tend to focus so much on the art of the various singers that the performance of their tocaores rises to full attention when they overplay ("too many notes!"), as often Manuel Moreno "Morao" was wont to do. When Morao accompanied someone equally volcanic like Terremoto, it worked well enough, but with Aurelio de Cádiz, he was at his worst. Overall, workmanlike accompanists used to working closely with both singers and dancers are my favorites. I will name Paco Aguilera, Andres Heredia, Paco del Gastor, Diego del Gastor, Melchor de Marchena, the Habichuela brothers, Perico el del Lunar--both father and son, Pedro Soler, Paco Cepero. But, really, there are/were dozens and dozens of flamenco guitarists whose skill with the instrument just astonishes me, as often seen when the camera closes in tightly on their hands. I can understand why so much attention is lavished upon discussion of flamenco solo guitar technique among guitar-heads, but as a lover of cante, I cherish instead the ability of the accompanist to bond with the singer to best draw out the song. In fact, when I come across an example of solo flamenco guitar on a recording, most of me is awaiting the magic moment when a singer would, or should, begin with his or her introductory Ayy, Ayys, and I am disappointed when they do not come. Flamenco is (mostly) cante.
    Last edited by Strange Magic; May-30-2016 at 22:43.

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    Quote Originally Posted by clavichorder View Post
    I am in the process of perusing this thread more carefully. Who are your favorite tocaores?(I think that's how you would say a flamenco guitarist using the term in the tradition). Any really good filmed recordings?
    Hi Clavichorder! Several years ago before I started reading this thread and watching & listening to the YouTube videos I thought I preferred the guitar to the voice in what I thought was (Cante) Flamenco, but now I get the cantaor as central especially when I watch/listen to Jose de la Tomasa. I still love the guitar, and as StrangeMagic said, especially when the tocaor keeps his eyes on the contaor, but check out the guitar player in the following video :

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOOe...TFP8c&index=12

    As I was watching this video again I suddenly wondered what it would be like to see & listen to a female tocaura.....
    Last edited by JosefinaHW; May-31-2016 at 08:40.

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