Suma Flamenca – Tomatito – Soy Flamenco. Madrid Sala Roja Teatro Canal
José Manuel Gómez Gufi
The great flamenco expert J. González one day told me that Tomatito’s secret had to do with his fingernails. He explained it to me alongside a traffic light near Cibeles, and ever since then I’ve paid greater attention to the detail, and discovered that guitarists are extremely picky about their instrument, and when they cut their nails they’re as precise as a piano tuner. Then they spend countless hours practicing, and shortly before performing, they put a final touch of the nail-file and glue here and there.
Tomatito came on stage first, gave a last touch to the tuning and he repeated this attention before each composition. There are other musicians such as Rycardo Moreno who prefer to connect their pieces so as not to lose the aroma and the ambience. So you see, it’s a question of taste; remember that Enrique Morente was taken to court for having linked songs, and in the contract were all the pieces to be interpreted, and Morente did one by one for the judge (pity the trial was not recorded).
The thing is, one night Tomatito confessed to me that he had stopped running after the notes…but in the presentation pieces, in a very rapid variation, crash! Tomatito missed a note that got left by the wayside. I love when that happens because a guitarist isn’t like a tennis player who when he missed a ball he stares at the racket as if looking for the hole. A guitarist is an artist who just keeps going, reconstructing the scale and the composition, reinventing himself each night.
And last night was one of those nights…tremendous with three solid singers: Kiki Cortiñas, Morenito de Íllora and Saúl Quirós. A percussionist, Piraña, and second guitarist José del Tomate, the heir, who already has his first recording prepared, and perhaps that’s why, because it’s imminent, his father still hasn’t officially asked him to take over, and is still giving him the last few lessons before pushing him out of the nest.
In the first bulerías, Tomatito was only there to leave his mark on artistic work we’ve incorporated on our hard disk as a living monument, and in the following ones, he sat down with his son for a delicate slow composition, another lesson. Then the percussion returned, the singing, and with an “idea y vuelta” feeling Juan de Juan appeared like an exhalation, dancing energetically at first, and afterwards as well.
It was the night of Tomatito who played a wonderful introduction to “La Leyenda del Tiempo” which without a doubt sounded “prettier” and more logical than the original version (if you go back to the documentary on “La Leyenda del Tiempo”, you’ll see what I mean). In any case, it’s quite a deed to fill in the voices of three singers as a single voice to achieve a choral arrangement. This was done with the cha-cha, then with soul music, why not with flamenco? The good thing is that, in the case of Kiki, Saúl and Morenito, these are good solid voices of their own.
The entire concert began well, and just got better until reaching ecstasy. It makes you feel good to see a full house with all the flood of flamenco in Madrid these days, and to see the enthusiasm of an audience that managed to draw out another encore that allowed us to glimpse the qualities of José del Tomate. And then the clamoring.