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Pastora Pavón and Chacón

How well did Pastora get along with Chacón? They got along great. They even performed together, side by side, in theaters of Seville like the Cervantes. They also often sang together in private parties. And they felt mutual admiration for each other, to the point that Chacón once called her “fiera del cante”.

Niña de los Peines had her own personal tastes in cante, like every artists, and her favorite cantaor was her brother Tomás. Yet, she never though he was better than Antonio Chacón or Manuel Torres, who were her main references. When she started performing in the early 1900s, Chacón was already a well-established star in all Spain, adored by aficionados. Born in Jerez in 1869, he settled in Seville when he was very young, in 1886, and soon after he became the boss of cante. When Pastora was between 8 and 10 years old, she would sing songs she heard in her own home from her brother Arturo and from her parents.

When she was a little girl, she admired La Juanaca, cantaora from Málaga who was her neighbor in Seville’s Puerta Osario district. Soon after, she discovered the cantaores who inspired her to sing in a different way: Chacón and Niño Medina. Both already lived in Seville when Pastora moved to Alameda de Hércules, were she would live until the end of her life, only leaving the city to perform or to flee the hardships of the 1936 Spanish Civil War, when she stayed in Madrid.

«When maestro Chacón passed away on January 21st, 1929, Pastora became so sad that she lost the will to sing» 

In a well-known interview of Carmen de Burgos that Pastora gave when she was very young, she admitted that her favourite cantaor as Chacón, as attested by her mother. And her favorite guitarists were Montoya and Habichuela. When the hurricane that was Manuel Torres arrived in Seville, in the early 1900s, Pastora fell in love with his way of singing. It was not just her, as her brother Tomás felt the same way. Talking about Manuel Torres in the Pavón household was like taking about God.

When maestro Chacón passed away on January 21st, 1929, Pastora became so sad that she lost the will to sing. Then she decided to make some records at the Polydor label, with Ramón Montoya at the guitar, to pay tribute to that great master. She recorded granaínas, malagueñas (Del convento, las campanas), caracoles and milongas, all cantes from Chacón repertoire. That was her way to honor the one who was one of her guiding lights in her career as cantaora.

How well did Pastora get along with Chacón? They got along great. They even performed together, side by side, in theaters of Seville like the Cervantes. They also often sang together in private parties. And they felt mutual admiration for each other, to the point that Chacón once called her “fiera del cante”.

It’s been ninety years since Pastora made those five records for the Polydor green label, with Montoya at the guitar so the tribute would be complete.

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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