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.

Pepe Pinto (real name Jose Torres Garzón) was from the Macarena quarter of Sevilla, and basically a street and bar performer. Pavon is more well known, and a deep cante flamenco singer from a big Gyspy singing family also from Sevilla.

Mairana (real name Antonio Cruz García), a Gyspy from a metallurgical family from outside Seville, was slightly less street than the others. I’m not sure his song is from the 1930s, as I think I’ve read that he did not record until 1941. He was a real traditional deep flamenco purist.

Manolita de Jerez (real name Manuela Cauqui Benitez) was from Jerez de la Frontera (obviously) and barely recorded. She wasn’t born until the end of the 1920s or start of the 1930s, so this recording is also later, from the 1950s I think. She was a hard-working touring musician, who died young. I think the deep bulerias we hear here is uncharacteristic of her live workk, which I believe followed more the operatic fashion of the high Franco years.

More from the Old School Flamenco Forum.

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