The latest record by Miguel Flores
“Capullo de Jerez” was recorded live. It includes
things from concerts of his from 2002 in Madrid, Córdoba
and Barcelona. Soleá por bulerías, martinete,
fandangos, tangos, rumbas and bulerías. “I
improvise things, some of Camarón's stuff and
verses of my own” explains the singer who's very
pleased with this new experience. “I thought
it was going to be worse, but quite the contrary, I
listened to it at home and it really sounds good”.
And Capullo de Jerez is already preparing another record.
In the recording business he himself has set a very
high standard after the great success of his previous
work “Este soy yo”.
Did you expect this would be so well-received?
“That's something you never expect”,
but he passed the acid test that caused the Jerez singer
to have a good feeling about it all “when I
saw that in Jerez they liked it, I relaxed a bit and
said to myself, 'this is a good record because my people
are very demanding, they know about art and they really
|“Anyone can sing
por soleá, but not bulerías”
He believes the secret of his success
is his personality when he sings. He writes most of
his own verses and some of the music and he already
has the material for his new record where Miguel Magallanes
will be in charge of the arrangements, a musician who
has worked with other flamenco artists such as José
Mercé and El Barrio. “He's very happy
with me, but he's going nuts because I don't just give
him a piece and he does the music…I give him the music,
the verses and then he has to make head or tail of it
all, but I think it's going to be a good record”.
And although he says it's going to follow the same format
as his earlier work “Este soy yo”, it's going
to have a different sound. “The bulerías
will be completely different. It's going to have different
tones, new things, but done my way, because I sing flamenco.
One of the bulerías is with just percussion and
palmas, no musical accompaniment. Another is Jerez style,
with guitar, and another with music.”
you like to experiment with bulerías?
“I especially like seguiriya, soleá,
fandango, and so do many people, but right now it's
the youngsters who are in charge. And the youth in Jerez
want lively stuff, bulerías gives another outlook,
another kind of upbeat mood, also tanguillos, rumba.
Bulerías is very difficult. People think soleá
is hard, but bulerías is the hardest cante because
it's about rhythm, because it has a certain sound and
measure. Anyone can sing por soleá, but not bulerías”,
and that's a guy from Jerez talking. In Jerez bulerías
has something special. “We're different because
we have a different way of looking at flamenco singing,
the sound, the way of dancing, nice and slow. They've
got all that, especially compás. They might sing
better or worse, but always in compás”.
Capullo doesn't mind being called a 'festero', a specialist
in festive songs, although he has no problem with the
other styles either. “In fandangos I wait whenever
I feel like it, I lengthen a line, I have my own way
of singing” and just to make sure we got the
message…“if they say, sing a granaína,
I answer, 'I'll sing it, but to bulerías' and
they say 'how can that be? granaína is a normal
cante' but to sing it to bulerías you have to
really be smart, bulerías is like an obsession,
and I write the words too”.
|“My source of
inspiration is life, and suffering. To sing about
these things you have to work hard and get drunk
with the greats”
Capullo de Jerez is clear about where he draws his
inspiration: “it's life, and suffering. To sing
about these things you have to work hard and get drunk
with the greats like Camarón, Terremoto, Mairena,
José himself, Enrique and the guitarists too”.
He has his own system for making up verses: “there
are people who compose by writing, but I do it in my
head, because I don't know how to write, and I read
very little”. And you can see his memory is
working perfectly – at the drop of a hat he recites
any of his creations: “I looked out the window,
I saw a star approaching, I saw it shine, how it shined,
as when you look at me, how you look at me”.
His motto is you have to be truthful and expressive
when you do flamenco. “I heard my little girl
say 'I like bread and I like cheese'…wow! what did
my girl just say? I like bread and cheese, and I thought,
let's see what rhymes here, 'I don't like bread, I don't
like cheese, I like when you kiss me, kiss me please'…and
from that I worked up a really neat rumba, not that
different from the rest, but with a special flavor”.
wasn't always so sure that he was destined to become
a flamenco singer. Miguel Flores also stood out as a
football (soccer) player. “I had this 'duende'
or magic that I would put on the uniform and make goals”
but he had to make a choice. “I thought, with
football I would have a future, but I like partying
and having a good time, so I quit football. But before
I ever played football, when I was a kid I already was
singing, making 50 duros in the bullring”.
Now there are some professional football-players who
are his fans. “I know this guy Joaquín
who plays for the Betis team and is from El Puerto,
and when they ask him what bullfighters he likes, he
says 'Curro and Paula', 'and singers?', 'that guy who's
not too well-known, Capullo'”.
His very flamenco family has had a lot to do with his
passion for flamenco. “Every one of us does
something, it's in the family. My mother used to really
be a personality, they called her “la moza”
and she was close friends with Adela la Chaqueta. She
sang fandangos, and some very old cantes por bulerías
no one else knew. Now she's 87 and she says when she
listens to her Capullo everything falls into place because
she's lived through it”. His mother isn't gypsy,
but for el Capullo there's no difference between ethnic
groups when it comes to singing flamenco. “That's
something you've got inside, it doesn't have a name”.
He has his philosophy: “Anyone who sings from
the heart has it made”.
favorite singer of all time is Terremoto senior.
You couldn't possibly sing better, he was the best,
he made you vibrate”
When asked which singer made the greatest impression
on him he doesn't doubt for a second: “My favorite
singer of all time is Terremoto senior. You couldn't
possibly sing better, he was the best, he made you vibrate.
After that they got lost because you don't study flamenco,
that's what we've got now, studio flamenco, everything
“I'm a singer who sings
from the gut, which is very difficult, the strongest
person is even stronger when inspired”.
What's your opinion of flamenco today, do you like
what's coming out?
“Yes, I like the fresh stuff these kids are
singing, but that novelty is only good for three days,
it doesn't last a lifetime. I like to listen to a record
that you don't get sick of in a week but which keeps
sounding better every time you play it, and when you're
feeling down it lifts you up, a meaningful record you
want to keep all your life. Everyone's so modern now
with their cante, and the same thing in dance. It used
to be there was a singer and a guitarist, some backup
palmas, and a dancer would dance por soleá, but
nowadays there are people who don't even know what to
do at a fiesta, they don't know how to join in, because
everything they do is rehearsed. You don't have to study
twenty years to make a record. I get into the studio
and record the first cante, the second… That's how
flamenco is, not this thing of 'now you do this, I stand
up, you sit down'. I sit down how I sit, and that's
how I stay. A singer who doesn't make ugly faces isn't
singing well”. There's no question that the
gestures and faces this singer uses in his interpretations
is an added factor in his art. “It's that I
get excited when I'm singing for people. You like it
when everyone cheers after a certain line, that's when
you think 'the stage is mine' and you give it everything
Like most flamenco singers who sing solo, he's done
time singing for dance as well. “I sang for
Farruco 25 years ago, for the Montoya family, Carmelilla,
I've been singing for dancers since I was 12, and now
I'm 50. I'm the same person I was when I was 20, the
same thoughts and opinions, but now I'm more together”.
|“You don't study
flamenco, that's what we've got now, studio flamenco,
Do you feel your voice is better now?
“I feel stronger than ever. I was working with
la Tati at Los Canasteros in Barcelona when I was very
young and one day I went to see her. We went for a drink
at Candela down in the cave and we surprised each other
and she said “how can this guy do this?”,
because now I take a little better care of myself. When
I'm home in Jerez some mornings I go cycling with a
mountain bike or I go jogging in the country. I'm a
singer who sings from the gut, which is very difficult,
the strongest person is even stronger when inspired”.
And you can tell he's more raring to go than ever, so
you could really say his career is going full throttle.
“Capullo is a nickname my dear mother gave me,
because I was very small when I was a boy, so she was
thinking of the silkworms with their cocoon, or 'capullo',
because obviously everyone calls me Capullo and they're
thinking of the other meaning, like 'oddball', but the
word 'capullo' has many meanings and doesn't have to
be derogatory…capullo is also the bud of a flower”.