Flamenco entrevistas »

Interview with David De Jacoba, cantaor

"The only thing that lasts is flamenco"
February 12, 2011
Interview: Pablo San Nicasio
Photos: Rafael Manjavacas

The discerning eye of Paco de Lucía discovered him three years ago, and since then his name has circulated so much that his brother, his “alma mater“ as he himself calls him, encouraged him to make a first recording that’s now in the works.  In a few months “Jacobeo”, the recording debut of David Maldonado Santiago, “David de Jacoba” (Motril, Granada, 1985), will be released.  For the moment, and with the invaluable help of the Amor de Dios flamenco school, in December he’ll be with his brother Carlos, Lucky Losada and Isaac de los Reyes, also present at Madrid’s “Caracol”.  Just to get things underway.

How’d it go in Turkey with the maestro (Paco de Lucía)?
Terrific…absolutely great.

It looks like flamenco is in your family.
My father was always singing, my mother too, but never professionally.  The thing is, my brother is a tremendous flamenco fan, and sort of the one who guided me in the beginning, three years ago he told me to come to Madrid because this is where I might have a chance.  And I started out in Las Carboneras.  Afterwards, I worked with Niño Josele at Casa Patas, with Lucky, with Joaquín Cortés, Tomatito…

Who was Jacoba?
My grandmother, the most flamenco of anyone.

Is there a flamenco ambience in Motril and Granada?
Well, more for Carlos, my brother, than for me.  He studied guitar there with Eugenio Bermúdez, a terrific guitarist.  But for me, in Motril and Granada, not much, I’m mostly learning here in Madrid.

I suppose it was through Josele that you came to be with Paco de Lucía.
Yes, one day he said, “we’re going to rehearse everything together, come along”.  I got there and saw Paco was looking at me, he seemed interested.  That was the test.  No one said so, but I could tell.  Josele didn’t prepare me at all for anything in particular, but I knew something was going on…and so it went, we were singing to the click track, everything was measured out.  Well, I did what I could and here I am.  The first concert I did with him I was a bundle of nerves, he noticed that and it made him laugh…but he’s a real easy-going person, humble, and very helpful.

And the idea of making a recording?
Between all of us…Lucky, Isaac…and mostly my brother, like I said before, he’s sort of my tutor, the one who gives me the cantes, he says “sing this”, “listen to this singer”…and just like that, he said it was the right moment.  We went by the Cinearte studios, and they thought it was a good idea.  We haven’t decided on any company yet, because that would limit our freedom, although with the collaborations we’ve got…Pepe Habichuela, Tomatito, the maestro Paco…there shouldn’t be any problem.

Isaac de los Reyes:  You’re going to see how this record makes a big splash.  Just look at me, I have my flamenco hopes and dreams, I don’t mean about singing or making a record, just about flamenco as an absolute as it occurs in David.  This is a guy who is very expressive, all heart, a love of looking back and listening to the historic singers…he’s going to surprise you all.  I saw it a lot in my much-admired Enrique Morente with whom I was lucky enough to spend some time.  I wish he could be here right now, he appreciated this thing of where we flamencos come from.  In my generation there’s a lot of talent, but you have to always be looking back, I never get tired of repeating that.

Isaac de los Reyes with David De Jacoba

At the Caracol you’re not going to sing everything, are you?
No, we’ll do a few pieces.  The polo, the taranta, malagueña, bulerías…but not everything.

“It’s important to remember and be grateful to Amor de Dios for everything they’re doing for me, and this recital is partly thanks to them”

“The maestros I’ve been with said so… I feel supported by them in the idea of doing traditional, pure, orthodox flamenco”.

When do you expect the record to be out?
I think in February or March.  I’m just waiting for the maestro Paco de Lucía to play the taranta…it’s a fantastic gift.

Taranta?  He wasn’t doing it lately, that’s great.
Yes, we saw he was playing improvised bits and pieces in collaborations with other artists, but I asked him this favor.  I said: “Maestro, the taranta is one of your greatest creations, for me it would be a dream come true”.  And in the cante, I want to follow the model of Cojo de Málaga.

What else is there on the record?
There’s a fandango de Huelva in the style of Niño Gloria, a siguiriya with Pepe Habichuela, a bulería of Juan Antonio Salazar, what a bohemian he is.  There’s another bulería, some tangos with Tomatito, a rumba with Alaín Pérez and most likely Antonio Serrano, following an idea of Valderrama’s.  There’s a polo that I hope will surprise people, the taranta I was talking about and a malagueña of Chacón.

So it doesn’t seem to be a record of pop songs.
It’s that flamenco is the only thing I know how to do.  And the maestros I’ve been with said so.  I feel supported by them in the idea of doing traditional, pure, orthodox flamenco.  These are the concepts that last over time, not the other stuff.

Paco for example is adamant about this.  He wants me to do flamenco, because that’s what lasts.  He talks about El Chozas, Pepe Palanca, Tío Borrico, Carbonerillo…  He talks about people who went to his house with his father and he played for them when he was a boy.  But of course, they’re such odd names, and I ask “who’s that?”, and there’s no way you find these things in stores on on-line.  And he says “don’t worry, I’ll try find something at home for you”.

My brother also guides me like this.  The record is being produced by my brother Carlos de Jacoba, Lucky Losada and myself.

I’m calling it “Jubileo”, which represents the years of peace scrupulously respected in the Holy Land.  I like that idea.