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Dani de Morón: "If more were known in Spain about music, we'd see there are even more good guitarists than the ones you hear about"

The guitarist is presenting "21" on May 26th at the Auditori in Barcelona with Duquende, Jesús Méndez and Antonio Reyes within the program of Ciutat Flamenco.
May 26, 2017
Silvia Cruz Lapeña

The recording Dani de Morón is just finished up, is called “21”, and he would have liked it to be the first of his career.  “It was my dream to have debuted with a record made by Paco de Lucía, Manolo Sanlúcar or Vicente Amigo, but it made no sense without first having recorded something on my own”.  And that’s what he did, with Cambio de Sentido, El Sonido de mi Libertad and now 21, where he takes on the accompaniment “of very different singers, creating a back-drop for them”.  The line-up includes El Pele, Miguel Poveda, Estrella Morente, Arcángel, Rocío Márquez, Marina Heredia, Pitingo, Esperanza Fernández, Jesús Méndez, Duquende and Antonio Reyes.

With the latter three, the guitarist is coming to Barcelona to present his credentials within the framework of Ciutat Flamenco.  “They’re singers with very different registers, and that’s the challenge, to adapt to each one’s style of singing”, says the man from Morón, who has no qualms in describing Méndez as “powerful and racial”, and Reyes as “caramel”.  He points out the that the singer from Chiclana has shown himself to be open to new ideas thus allowing him to develop his guitar-playing: “He told me to play in my own style, not to play like others.  And it was sheer pleasure”.

The case of Duquende is special; “I give him more classic accompaniment, but the thing is, he’s different from all the rest.  I look at him and I see Camarón and Paco, and it appeals to my feelings” says the guitarist who was chosen by De Lucía as second guitarist for his tour Cositas Buenas.

Demanding, but not obsessed

The guitarist from Morón has a rare ability with the guitar.  He sounds very old, but composes in the future.  The key isn’t only in the different way he uses his hands; the traditional right hand for “cuerda pelá”, symbolic of his hometown, and the imagination he shows with the left one and what he invents at lightning speed.  The key is also in what he listens to from the world of jazz: double bass player Avishain Cohen; singer and laud-player from Tunisia Dhafer Youssef and trumpet-player Terence Blanchard are his references.  “Their music drives me crazy, all three are great instrumentalists, but what most interests me is how they compose, it’s out of the ordinary”.  He finds inspiration in those musicians to construct the outlines of his work, which isn’t easy, neither creating nor listening, they’re very complex, a challenge, but for that same reason they are also fulfilling, and make your hair stand on end.

Dani de Morón speaks passionately about what he does, although he doesn’t have obsessive tics that make him lose control.  “I’m very demanding, but not obsessed” says a man who claims to have no problem coordinating the guitar with his personal life. “My late nights have always been related to having fun, never to working or studying. For those pursuits, I prefer to take advantage of the early hours of the day, and sacrifice sleeping late in the morning” he says, while assuring us it’s absolutely necessary to devote time to having fun.  “I have to jog, have a beer, spend time with my girlfriend… I’ve learned to take time out because it’s very important”.

And he does all that where he was born, in Morón de la Frontera, where he again played at the “Gazpacho” in 2015 after a twelve-year absence from the program.  However, that return he directly calls “a conspiracy of fools”.  “There was a great fuss about whether to set up the bar within the venue where I played, or outside.  I didn’t want it to be inside, and there were even officials quitting their jobs”.  He talks about it laughingly, without melodrama, it’s the town he lives in and where he returns whenever he finishes a job, and that’s where he heads for this interview, having just performed with Rocío Márquez at the Peña El Taranto in Almería.

He’s also meticulous about his recordings, although he doesn’t beat up on himself.  He says when he finishes recording, he lets the result settle a while.  “I’m particular about things, although I don’t seek perfection, but rather naturalness.  Everything has to flow.  When I finish making a record, I’m like a demanding spectator, but I don’t go crazy about it.  I don’t love myself either, because I know that’s worse” he says laughing.

Anxious to take on Barcelona

Dani de Morón doesn’t do much teaching, but he has directed the occasional master-class.  “I like it better than giving a continuous course, because in two or three hours you can communicate many concepts, play a variety of pieces”.  That also defines him: the way in which Dani plays and speaks is eloquent, his speed answering, thinking and getting things right, reveal a quick mind that causes many people to consider him extremely gifted.  He doesn’t think much of such things, nor does he subtract importance from them because he is where he is based on his own hard work.

Another characteristic is the freshness.  He’s unafraid of playing tricky pieces, and he applies a touch of humor to everything, not seeking distance, but health.  When asked whether he believes there are as many good guitarists in flamenco as we’re told, or if we just don’t know much about music, he reverses the issue: “It’s the other way around, if people in Spain knew more about music, we’d see there are even more good guitarists than those you hear about”.  And why is that? “Many go unnoticed because the technical and compositional evolution of the guitar moves more quickly than listeners’ ears”.

Regarding the reluctance of some spectators to attend a guitar concert, Dani de Morón thinks he knows the reason.  “The thing is, the guitar is a bitch, because you need a lot of information, for a large part of the audience it’s difficult to catch, and I realize that at times we ourselves also make the mistake of overloading the listener, especially in live performance”.

However, he believes in what he does, and in the audience, which is why he has the highest expectations about his performance May 26th at the Auditori in Barcelona.  “I’m anxious to take on the audience in Barcelona, where I performed a great deal when I was playing for Antonio Canales.  It’s an audience I’ve always liked, intelligent, knowledgeable about music, and I like them because I actually believe it’s easier to win over intelligent people” says Dani, again laughing, but very serious.

Dani de Morón - Festival de Jerez