PUSHING FLAMENCO

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the Dutty Artz digital familia grows! Sisters and brothers let’s welcome Carlos! Like Cauto, Carlos is based in Barcelona, a city he calls home alongside Houston, TX. Carlos and I first vibed out over chopped & screwed Houston rap gems like S.L.A.B. but we quickly discovered shared affinities for drone/noise, flamenco, and I’m happy to say I introduced Carlos to the wonder of Bcn’s Moroccan music shops… He starts off in style with a post about flamenco. – /rupture

Flamenco is a famously conservative style of music. The voice, the guitar, clapping, stamping and jaleo (literally ‘ruckus’) are the key ingredients, and new additions to the mix are often met with some skepticism. This is less true now than it was before 1979, when Camaron de la Isla‘s album La Leyenda del Tiempo pulled sitars, rumba, jazz, and electric guitar into the music, but to this day, most flamenco acts willing to open their palettes to new colors do so tentatively, ultimately sounding like polite, virtuosic jazz fusion music.

This makes Enrique Morente‘s artistic path all the more remarkable. A veteran and patriarch (see: daughter Estrella Morente) of the flamenco game, he’s brought out the duende in its traditional form:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZr4YfVopH8[/youtube]

But in recent years, he’s been more interested in seeing what other shapes the duende can take, often through collaborations with surprising artists. Take this duet, with Rebel of Rai Cheb Khaled, where he gives proponents of the Flamenco is the Arabian Blues Declaration a reason to salivate, in appropriately regal settings (the Alhambra, which I used to live right next to). What I like most about this tune is how relaxed it sounds, when a meeting of two giants so often tends to be an overblown affar:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DM2wC7sv6xU[/youtube]

But for freaky noiseniks like me, perhaps the most mind-blowing project(and definitely the riskiest, in terms of flamenco cred) was his collaboration with Sonic Youth. They played several concerts together, but to me the gem is the performance below with just Lee Ranaldo, Steve Shelley and Morente’s “family”. Here Morente takes a more subdued role, clapping and wailing and staying in the background and Lee Ranaldo does his thing (the video’s out of sync with the audio and you can’t see Morente, but it’s the only uncut video of the whole thing):

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-SSBK9rNrw[/youtube]


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2 responses to “PUSHING FLAMENCO”

  1. canyon cody says:

    awesome post, much appreciated. very interesting figure, esp re: race vs authenticity. we did some experimental hiphop academic work w/ Enrique Morente –> http://gnawledge.com/granadadoaba/?p=92

  2. RRSalceda says:

    Ostras! Muy bueno Carlos. No tenía ni idea de la colaboración que plantas al final. Me interesa más la fuerza de la retaguardia entre palmas y quejíos que el torpedeo con la guitarra. Anda Jaleo! Jaleo!