(Friday December 21, 2001) A friend of mine who works in a public library set aside for me some flamenco records that were recently donated.
I took a look at one of them, The Soul of Flamenco (Nonesuch Records HS-72002), and had one of those rare moments where I could name drop. So I said, "I know _____ _____, he's the singer on this record."
Who is this mystery singer?
For a hint, here's an excerpt from the bio in the liner notes by Cynthia Gooding:
...He has run a restaurant in Paris (where flamencos make a better living than they can in Madrid) where he was chef and cantaor alternately. He is decided, amused by the passing scene, full of the gestures of a flamenco singer whose role is to vocalize the emotions called forth from the guitar and the dancers. When he bursts into the ritual of the dancers with a copla, their attitudes change, their hitherto blind, inward-seeking eyes see and they listen as he tells them what they feel, what love will bring, what life will bring, what gives life its shape, Death. What his voice lacks in color and nuance, he makes up with his embellishmnents. He is a most manly and direct singer...
Stay tuned for the answer tomorrow.
Duende Camarón guitarist José Oretea was inspired to sing a few letras while everyone provided palmas.
I didn't know which letras he was going to sing so I just listened carefully and tried my best to follow his tones and phrasing. Of course, our little performance was technically imperfect but very satisfying. It had a certain energy and level of excitement that you can never achieve with something rehearsed.
I've noticed that when I accompany something I have seen or heard before, I sometimes tune out and "fall back" into my routine. But when I'm put on the spot to accompany something I've never seen or heard before, I am more focused. I am more sensitive to the subtleties of the cante or dance in a way that allows me to accompany at my best. Athletes know what I'm talking about--it's like being "in the zone."
I'm not putting down the idea of rehearsing. I still enjoy the process of putting together a clean polished piece, but I especially love it when I occasionally surprise myself in a situation where I don't know what's coming next.
Hmmmm....this sounds like a metaphor for "living in the moment." Don't you agree?
(Photo by Michael Long)
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