A decade without Fernando Terremoto
On February 13th, 2010, the flamenco world gave a tearful farewell to Fernando Fernández Pantoja ‘Terremoto Hijo’, also known as Fernandito.
After a damned illness inflicted much suffering upon him, death took away from us a cantaor who may well have become one of the most important and influential artists in today’s flamenco. His creative prowess defined the development of his career because, even as he never strayed from his inherently traditional message and commitment to the legacy bestowed upon him, he dwelled in a wide space filled with artistic experimentation. That’s why his show Navidad at Jerez’ Villamarta Theater in the year 2000 was a turning point in the world of villancicos.
Fernando was born in 1969 in the Asunción neighborhood of Jerez, close to the Volapié Tavern. Although he lived for many years in Seville and toured all over the world, he was close to his neighborhood until the very last moments of his life. Fernando was a family man, endearing and affectionate, and also a great professional, always faithful to his commitments, even after he was weakened by ill-health.
«After he died, the same theater where he was so often acclaimed during his intense career was filled to capacity for a show honoring his memory. Miguel Poveda, Diego Carrasco, Alfredo Lagos and many others insisted in taking part in that show»
From his debut as cantaor at the Centro Cultural Flamenco Don Antonio Chacón — on January 21st, 1989 at 9 PM, joined by the guitar of Moraíto Chico —, the son of the great Terremoto de Jerez upheld with great passion his family’s legacy, putting it back on top again, actively participating in honoring the memory of his father with the opening of the peña named after him and the erecting of Terremoto’s bust in the center of Jerez’ Santiago district. That evening at the Centro Chacón, Fernando surprised everyone, because up to then he had only performed occasionally, playing the guitar. People would always compare him to his father, an issue which he managed to tackle by having a clearly distinct style, personality and career path.
His album Terremoto (A Negro Producciones/Bujío Producciones, 2010), published posthumously, perfectly defines the soul of this special being who always protected his loved ones with human kindness and humility. In that album he showcased his compositions, of a vey high level in both lyrics and music, with a priceless emotional message.
Fernando didn’t shy away from singing for Israel Galván, and he also embraced directing shows performed by Gypsy women, most of them simple housewives, earning standing ovations. He was both charismatic and serious-minded, and he took care of his work as well as he took care of his family. Noble from birth, he experienced the warmth of the whole artistic world in his later years and, after he died, the same theater where he was so often acclaimed during his intense career was filled to capacity for a show honoring his memory. Miguel Poveda, Diego Carrasco, Alfredo Lagos and many others insisted in taking part in that show in October 2010, when the stage lights shone brighter than ever.
In memory of Fernando Terremoto, “Fernandito”, who sang ‘por bulerías’ in my baptism celebration.