For Morente: The Deepest of Deep Song

Estrella Morente sang for her father Enrique Morente last night. It was her last song for him.

She sang the poet Carlos Cano’s unforgettable homage to his city Granada, ‘Habanera imposible.’ The crowded theatre rose to its feet as her majestic cante por cabales filled the air. The cante por cabales is, for many, the deepest of deep song. Very hard to perform, it usually comes as the remate of a siguiriya and requires from the singer a final, last effort more powerful than all that went before and a distinct change of tone. This is why it is also called la siguiriya cambiá or the changed siguiriya. Few singers can carry it off with force.

We all know that the siguiriya is deep song and that deep song is about grief, loss and mourning. Yet, for many of us who ‘learn’ flamenco, the siguiriya is lived in the studio, performed, but not really felt. If ever there was a doubt that flamenco and deep song really did spring from the grief a people bereft, then all we need do is to watch Estrella Morente as she sang last night. Perhaps flamenco is at its most powerful when performance coincides with genuine expression.

December 16, 2010 Post Under General - Read More

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