Music Mondays: Cante Flamenco

For the Sake of the Song, a fantastic music blog, occassionally posts briliant Spanish music, and I have linked there before in this series, I think. Here’s the lastest:

[...] a quartet of fantastic flamenco pieces from thirties Spain. Featuring Pepe Pinto, Antonio Mairena, Manolita from Jerez, and last but not least the legendary Tomás Pavon. ¡Palmas y agua!
Pepe Pinto – Hermanita, Sientate A Mi Vera Cuando Querra La Virgen Del Mayor Dolor
Antonio Mairena – Soleá De Alcalá
Manolita De Jerez – Bulerias
Tomás Pavon – Cantes De Triana

This release is on Arhoolie, mainly a bluegrass label, although it also carries loads of stuf by the great Flaco Jimenez. Some of the music is incerdibly rare. These are almost all Gyspy singers, who hunkered down in the years of the Spanish Civil War and Franco dictatorship, playing in late night dives in the urban ghettos of Andalusia. They sang a deep, rough, almost orgasmic cante flamenco, at a time when the fashion (and, after Franco’s victory, state approval) was for a more Castillian, operatic, smooth, flamboyant style. (more…)

Music Mondays: Flamenco Candido

Kellie of Airforce Amazons has a post about his first and last vinyl LPs at Bob’s Beats. This is an extract from that:

The other early LPs I remember my brother and I listening to were two Burl Ives LPs, and a loud flamenco record: Flamenco Candido, by The Curro Amaya Dancers with Domingo Albarado, vocal, and Juan Jiminez, guitar. The record was first published in 1959, but ours was a later reissue on the Pye Golden Guinea label.

Flamenco Candido back of sleeve

Here is another Amaya, Carmen Amaya performing Buleria from a 1963 film, Los Tarantos. I think Curro Amaya was Carmen Amaya’s nephew, and Buleria is also included on his LP. More about the Amaya family on Omayra Amaya’s website.

So, here is the guitarist, Juan Jimenez, with the great dancer Eduardo Serrano Iglesias, El Güito, again performing a bulerías.

And here is a granaína taken from a Curro Amaya record:

Music Mondays: Tiene Corazón

I just read this post at one of my favourite blogs, For the Sake of the Song:

Back with the only album I managed to score during a wonderful but busy trip to my beautiful Catalunya: Canastera. One of the few Camarón classics I didn’t own yet, it’s another collaboration with the mighty Paco De Lucía on guitar. Here’s two choice cuts, sung straight from the heart as always.
El Camarón De La Isla – No Dudes De La Nobleza
El Camarón De La Isla – Las Campanas También Lloran

Here is a YouTube video of “No Dudes De La Nobleza”. The song is a fandango, I think written by Antonio de la Calzá, from Seville, and it celebrates Gitano (Gypsy) identity, which was quite subversive in 1972, the dusk of the Franco dictatorship, when Camarón and De Lucía made this record, the fourth in their string of more or less annual collaborations in this period.

Published in: on June 4, 2012 at 8:41 am  Leave a Comment  
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Music Mondays: Enrique Morente

In Orihuela, his town and mine, Ramon Sije, whom I loved so much, has been taken from me like a flash of lightening.

I want to be the crying gardener of the earth
you occupy and nourish,
comrade of my soul, all too soon.

Feeding the rains, the snail-shells
and organs, my grief without purpose
gives your heart to feed

to the desolate poppies.

The great Enrique Morente is dead. He was one of the giants of Spanish flamenco, born in the slums of the Albacin, Granada’s old gitano quarter in the shadow the Alhambra. His second album, Homenaje flamenco a Miguel Hernández, was inspired by the working class Valencian anti-fascist poet Miguel Hernández, who died of consumption in Franco’s prisons while in his early thirties. Just making this record, was an act of defiance against the aging dictator and an auger of the re-birth of democracy later in the decade.

Morente was deeply rooted in the ancient vernacular culture of flamenco, the underground soul music which had been suppressed under the dictatorship  in favour of a plastic tourist kitsch version, and, with Cameron de la Isla and others, brought this rebel music out of the shadows in the dying years of the fascist regime. Later, however, he earned the disapproval of the increasingly conservative flamenco purists by his increasingly innovative work, such as collaborations with Maghrebi artists and thrash punk bands.

Here is one of his Miguel Hernández songs, “Elegía a Ramón Sijé”. Ramón Sijé was a Catholic poet and very close friend of Hernández, who died very young. The opening words in English are at the start of this post; the whole text can be found here.

Here is Morente in 1981, singing a granaína, one of the song forms of his Albacin ghetto youth.

Here he is with Lagartija Nick performing Lorca’s “Ciudad sin sueño” from the 1995 Lorca/Leonard Cohen tribute Omega.

The pairing of Garcia Lorca and Cohen is sort of obvious, given Leonard Cohen’s debt to the poet, but the musical setting is highly original. Here is “First We Take Manhattan”:

Finally, here is a more schmaltzy but still lovely version of the elegy to Ramón Sijé, by JM Serrat. Serrat is a Catalan singer and songwriter of Morente’s generation. His defiance of Franco came in 1968 when he was selected to represent Spain in the Eurovision song contest, but insisted on singing in Spanish and was replaced and his records banned.

In 1969, Serrat released Com ho fa el vent, a tribute to Antonio Machado, the Republican poet who died in 1938 fleeing Franco’s Spain. (His death is one of the stories told in Soldiers of Salamis by Javier Cercas, which I may write about some time.) Serrat was soon exiled from Spain, but because he chose to sing in Spanish, he was condemned by the Catalan nationalists. “I sing better in the language they forbid me”, he said.

Two Cries of Freedom

[José Serrano: 'Soleá']

From Two Cries of Freedom: Gypsy Flamenco from the Prisons of Spain (ROIR, 1998), feat. José Serrano and Antonio “El Agujetas”.

Dedicated to Paul ‘Jock’ Palfreeman, a 23 year old Australian currently in prison in Sofia, Bulgaria. He is undergoing trial on charges of murder and attempted murder after an encounter with a gang of 16 far-right football hooligans. The gang were assaulting two Roma (Gypsy) men when Jock intervened in their defence.

More bloggery below the fold. (more…)

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