Home / Bordonazo NEW  / Cheers for Juan Villar

Cheers for Juan Villar

The ‘Festival Flamenco Atún Rojo de Almadraba’ — which has become well-established after just two editions — will honor Juan Villar this Saturday. We at ExpoFlamenco celebrate this a compás.

The first time I listened to Juan Villar sing, in the late 1970s, I knew at once that he would cause a big stir in the festivals, and that was the case. He was a new voice, with roots in the most traditional flamenco of Cádiz. Even as there were thirty or forty major stars of cante when he started to become popular, Juan managed to stand out in the summer festivals of southern Spain, singing por bulerías like it had seldom been done before, having a unique style and uncommon depth. I remember that one of those evenings when he sang superbly, Camarón told the agent Jesús Antonio Pulpón: “I wonder what I’m going to do now…”

Yet, Juan not only stood out in bulerías, but also in alegrías, tientos and in the soleares of Cádiz. He would do incredible things por soleá sometimes, cantes drenched in flamenco feel. He also sang for baile in a way that has seldom been acknowledged. The first time I listened to him sing for baile was for Manuela Carrasco, and I don’t recall ever having seen the Goddess of Gypsy baile dance so well. Back then, Juan had an unmatched strength and sense of rhythm (compás). Farruco used to say that Juan was able to get compás inside people’s innards.

Cádiz has given flamenco so much, so many great things — it’s a pity that the authorities don’t really care about this — that each street and each square should be named after some flamenco star: El Planeta, Lázaro Quintana, La Mejorana, Enrique and Gabriela Ortega, El Raspao, El Mellizo, Patiño, Fosforito, El Caoba, Aurelio Sellés, Manolo Vargas, La Perla, Chano Lobato, Juan Villar… Not to mention other cities in the province of Cádiz, such as Jerez, El Puerto, Puerto Real, Sanlúcar or Algeciras. Juan José Villar Jiménez, the full name of this master of the cante of Cádiz, is among the most renowned flamenco artists and his voice is etched with fire in the history of cante.

I celebrate the fact that on July 6th he will be honored in the town of Conil (Cádiz province) in a festival — the Festival Flamenco Atún Rojo de Almadraba— which seems to have become well-established with just two editions (including the upcoming one on Saturday). While last year maestro Rancapino was honored, this year is the turn of Juan Villar. We at ExpoFlamenco celebrate this, a compás.

Juan Villar photo: Canal Andalucía Flamenco



Arahal, Sevilla, 1958. 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...