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Grandpa and flamenco in our days

Yet, it’s not only that it’s not flamenco, but that girl doesn’t posses skill or talent for flamenco, that’s why she sings something else, a kind of ballad, or cante-ballad. Yet, don’t forget that when Chacón started singing his malagueñas, the old aficionados would say that it wasn’t flamenco, either.

-Grandpa, your fans keep asking me, why are you always getting lost? They miss you, but these days all you do is spending your days at the community center. Are you bored with flamenco now? 

-Not at all Manolito. Well, if you really want to know, yes, I get a bit bored with it. I’m an old man and there are things that don’t excite me anymore. The fact that, for example, people call everything “flamenco” nowadays really annoys me, so of course I end up getting lost in La Apujarra of Granada or in the desert of Almería. I feel burnt out, Manolito.

-Does Rosalía make you feel that way? 

-No, I actually really like Rosalía. I love when she sings that song about the Egyptian mines!

-No, I don’t mean that Rosalía, grandpa, but the one from Barcelona. If you haven’t heard from her, you’re way more out of the loop than I thought.

-Oh, that pretty girl. I thought we were talking about flamenco, though!

-Would you say that what she sings is not flamenco? 

-If she’s the one I’m thinking, the girl who performs with that very weird guitarist who looks like he’s from another planet, then, no, she doesn’t sing flamenco. Maybe it’s a new flamenco that we must learn how to appreciate, but at this point in time, that’s not flamenco. Yet, it’s not only that it’s not flamenco, but that girl doesn’t posses skill or talent for flamenco, that’s why she sings something else, a kind of ballad, or cante-ballad. Yet, don’t forget that when Chacón started singing his malagueñas, the old aficionados would say that it wasn’t flamenco, either.

-What’s your point, grandpa?

-My point is what you just heard. What that girl sings, which is worthless and isn’t flamenco, at least in my opinion, may be considered great flamenco half a century from now.

-Same with Niño de Elche?

-I don’t speak about this man, he’s always angry.

-Changing the subject, grandpa. Are you aware of the big fuss about the statements of Antonio Canales criticizing the Festival of Jerez? 

-Sure I am! What a fuss has this master made. Canales doesn’t mince his words, but he sure has balls, like he said himself. This is all very sad, because at the end it’s just an useless waste of time. Well, it’s useful to get people in a bad mood. There is nothing wrong about making a harsh criticism of a festival such as the one in Jerez, but this should be made cool-headed, an Canales’ head was boiling when he spoke his mind. Poor Carpeta! I say this because the youngest bailaor of the Farruco family featured Canales as invited guest in the festival, but had to kick him out. It could have got ugly in that performance at the Villamarta theater on March 10!

-Grandpa, did that kind of things happen in your days?

-Sure they did. Eighty years ago, flamenco artists would fight each other and sometimes would end up in the hospital, in jail or in the cemetery, because they carried knives and guns, and whoever carries those things means to use them at any time. Flamencos are hot-blooded, Manolito. That’s the thing.

-You mean, violent? 

-No, I said hot-blooded. Human beings are violent, but not flamencos or bullfighters.

-Thank you for making that clear, grandpa. 

-Any more questions, Manolito?

-What are we having for lunch today?

-Chicken and rice?

-When are we having a good sea bass or a salted bream? 

-When you start making money.

-OK, then. It’ll be a while, though. 

Translated by P. Young

 

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Crítico de flamenco, periodista y escritor. 40 años de investigación flamenca en El Correo de Andalucía. Autor de biografías de la Niña de los Peines, Carbonerillo, Manuel Escacena, Tomás Pavón, Fernando el de Triana, Manuel Gerena, Canario de Álora...

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