Flamenco 17 – Solo Artists (1)

Welcome back to Friday Night Flamenco. After our stroll through the different palos, or styles, before the summer, we felt it was time to pay tribute to some of the most influential solo artists who bring them to life, many of whom, of course, are personal favourites. Cantaores, guitarists and other musicians. This week we thought we’d start with a guitarist and a pianist.


Víctor Monge "Serranito"

This self taught guitarist and composer was born in Madrid in 1941 and started playing professionally at the age of twelve. He is considered one as one of the true virtuosos of Flamenco history who has coupled enormous natural ability with dedication and a restlessness that has led him to continually strive to achieve artistic perfection. He learnt the basics from his father and brothers, playing with them in the group Los Serranos when he was only eight years old. His stage name “Serranito” (the little Serrano) comes from this time.

Here he is playing Alegrías. Notice the way he combines the bass and treble notes so cleanly and conveys the spirit of the Alegrías that we saw back in the first post of this series. Mrs Maki was lucky enough to be invited on stage by the bailaora La Chunga (who will be seeing in a later post) in Café de Chinitas to dance something similar to this in the early seventies with Serranito on the guitar before he became famous.

At the age of twenty one he was invited by both Andrés Segovia and Narciso Yepes to join them in concert. Curiously, the invitation arrived via the guitar maker Juan Ramírez. He made his international debut at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in 1970; he was also the first Flamenco guitarist to play in India and has been ever present on the international stage since then. He has since won just about all the major prizes a Flamenco guitarist can win and has written the scores to both films and documentaries. In a nutshell he is considered to be one of the best guitarists in the history of Flamenco.

Here’s a clip from his 1995 show, Strolling Through Triana.


Felipe Campuzano

Felipe Campuzano was born in Cadiz in 1945. He studied classical piano in the Conservatory there, named after the great Manuel de Falla, and was winning prizes by the age of sixteen. Despite his broad classical training, he always had a tendency towards Spanish composers Falla, Albeniz and Granados being favourites. One fine day he got fed up with playing classical music and decided to compose something different. It was the sixties and he came up with the Miniskirt Sevillanas that even today are something of a favourite sung by Manolo Escobar. The transformation into Flamenco pianist happened almost by chance and since then he has managed not only to compose some of the more famous Flamenco pop hits of the seventies and eighties but also developed a unique (and perhaps surprising to many of us) incorporation of the piano in far more serious Flamenco compositions.

Here is one of his most famous compositions: Las Salinas (The Salt Flats)

And here is his Melancolías

Next week: more soloists.

One Response to Flamenco 17 – Solo Artists (1)

  1. Pingback: The Flamenco Series « Casa Maki

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