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Antonio Reyes to be honored in Paradas

The 30th Flamenco Week of Paradas will pay tribute to Antonio Reyes, cantaor from Chiclana. Wouldn’t it make more sense to honor a veteran cantaor with a long, important career, instead of a young cantaor with a long career still ahead of him?

Antonio Reyes, from Chiclana (Cádiz province), is one of the cantaores I like the most, because he has a sweet voice and is a great artist, beside being a wonderful person. The fact that he’ll be honored at the 30th Flamenco Week of Paradas has surprised me for several reasons, but mainly because it departs from the usual tributes that this great flamenco event of Paradas organizes each year: honoring the long careers of flamenco masters, not only in cante, baile and toque, but also critics.

I don’t understand this tribute to Antonio Reyes, as much as I like and admire him, because he is a young cantaor, born in 1975, who, even as he’s been performing since his childhood, doesn’t have a meaningful discography or is particularly well-versed in flamenco. He is a professional cantaor who is able to make a comfortable living performing on stages, but if that is all it takes to be honored at the Flamenco Week of Paradas then I’m missing something. I don’t get it, because there are so many flamenco maestros and maestras in flamenco who pass away without ever being honored in any way, and we have the obligation to prevent this from happening.

«I don’t understand this tribute to Antonio Reyes, as much as I like and admire him, because he is a young cantaor who doesn’t have a meaningful discography or is particularly well-versed in flamenco»

A few days ago, I got a call from a great master of cante who complained about having a hard time finding work, and he mentioned feeling hurt by the lack of recognition. “I hope they don’t give me any award when I die. I won’t take it, even if they hand it to me in the ambulance”, he stated, bitterly. It’s really sad what is happening in flamenco. There are barely any masters left in Seville — I mean, cantaores born in the city, not from elsewhere in the province — but there is one, José el de la Tomasa.

Wouldn’t it make more sense that Paradas honored this master, a veteran with a long and important career, instead of a young cantaor with a long career still ahead of him? What’s the deal? I know I may get banned from Paradas and that Antonio Reyes will have a different opinion about me from now on, but when I decided to become a flamenco critic, I chose the hardest path: being straightforward and sincere. It’s too late to change now.

 

Image above: Antonio Reyes Facebook page

 

 

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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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