Sons and heirs

morente hijo y habichuela hijo

On Thursday, April 15th, the Teatro Echegaray in Málaga will house a joint performance by two new flamenco artists who recently appeared on the horizon: the singer Enrique Morente hijo, son of Enrique Morente and the guitarrist Juan Habichuela nieto, grandson of the Habichuela, whose photograph appears in previous posts. Both are native of Granada and are close friends. They are the scions of Granada’s two most powerful flamenco families. Enrique Morente hijo and Juan Habichuela nieto made their debut some three years ago, but both are still very young and it would not surprise me if, in fact, the twenty year old Enrique Morente hijo’s voice were to change in the next few years. That does not stop him from being a nuanced singer who is beginning to venture beyond the inherited repertoire. Not surprising, perhaps, when you consider who his father and sister are. As for Juan Habichuela nieto, he too reveals a considerable dexterity and range on the guitar, again in keeping with the exceptional artistic standards of his background. One suspects that there are also long years of rigour here and discipline in the practice of the art.

Of course, for long-standing flamencophiles like me, there is something quite moving about seeing this young duo. They are not merely the bearers of a lineage: given whose sons they are, they also portend new limits to flamenco. Will they irrevocably alter the contours of the arte? For precisely some thirty or so years ago, their fathers, Enrique Morente and  Pepe Habichuela brought out their album, Homenaje a Don Antonio Chacón. In so doing, the two rendered tribute to another great duo in flamenco history, the turn-of-the-century singer Don Antonio Chacón and the wonderful guitarrist who accompanied him, Sabicas. However, this gesture towards the past also served as a powerful signal of the versatility of flamenco, for the collaboration between Enrique Morente and Pepe Habichuela also proved beyond doubt the versatility of flamenco, whereby tradition becomes wedded to innovation. What novelties, we may well wonder, will these two young performers bring to flamenco?

As for those of us who spend our lives aspiring to be flamencos, well… This is a gentle, if mildly annoying, reminder that some things are perhaps best kept in the family!

April 8, 2010 Post Under General - Read More

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