Enrique Morente: His Voice Lives On

Enrique Morente passed away this evening shortly after 5pm at La Luz clinic in Madrid. Flamenco aficionados the world over had kept fingers crossed for over a week now, ever since the news came out early last week that he had been taken into intensive care in the wake of what appeared to be a routine operation. Few would dispute that he was truly a maestro, a grande amongst the greats, the likes of which we may never see again.

Born in the Albaicín in Granada in 1942, Morente’s singing career began early and he became well known after moving to Madrid, where, for a while, he sang in tablaos. Over the last thirty years, Morente systematically forged new horizons for flamenco. He was a nuanced, gifted and incredibly daring singer. He mastered tradition and embraced innovation. He carried the deep song from sky to sky, unearthing links between cante and poetry — that of Lorca, Miguel Hernández and others — and even to art. His last project was an approximation through flamenco to the work of Picasso. He leaves an enormously rich legacy. Sad though we may be to see him go, we should also be grateful that he shaped his daughter Estrella into another dazzling singer and has also guided his two other children, his daughter Soleá and son Enrique into the world of song. In 2009, he released the opening song of a new album, Nana del oriente, in which his entire family, two grandchildren included, took part.

Many will feel that Morente went before his time. He was not yet seventy years old. Yet, it is said that we all die twice, not once. The first time we die a physical death; the second and final death comes only when we are forgotten, when we cease to live in the memories of those who knew us. In Morente’s case, that second death will be long in the coming. Like Camarón, Morente was a pillar of contemporary flamenco. He set parameters, broke boundaries and shaped new talent. He unearthed old songs, reworked known ones and invented others. His voice will ring in our ears for many years to come.  Hasta siempre, maestro…

December 13, 2010 Post Under General - Read More

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