A summary of what the year 2014 brought in the way of flamenco publications, recordings of guitar, singing, dance, instrumentals, DVDs, books
Although it's hard to believe, flamenco music output has not stopped. Despite the many difficulties within the recording industry, particularly with regard to distribution and sales, the production of records continues to be noteworthy, although to be sure, many have fallen by the wayside before being made, and artists who might have recorded, were unable to do so.
The actual records are there, it's a necessity for artists to get their work out there. Getting known continues to be the main element for promotion, the best calling card of all. Most of the time the artists themselves, with or without crowdfunding, have had to pay production costs. Multinationals only take a chance on artists they can count on to generate income that justifies the investment. Online platforms such as Spotify, iTunes and Deezeer continue to be the new channel that coexists with the physical format, at least for now.
Unfortunately, as far as records go, 2014 is also Paco's year since he left us his last masterpiece, “Canción Andaluza”, released posthumously and which won Latin Grammys for “Best Record” and “Best Flamenco Recording”, not to mention the film “Paco de Lucía: La Búsqueda”, without a doubt the most popular products of 2014, and most likely 2015 and coming years as well. Like Camarón, the guitarist from Algeciras will always be at the forefront of the recording industry.
As far as flamenco singing, noteworthy was David Lagos' second recording, “Mi Retoque al Cante Jerezano”, which topped up an excellent year for him, not only because of the record, but also the show of the same name which he debuted in the Festival de Jerez, and for having won what is now the most coveted singing prize, the “Lámpara Minera” of the Festival del Cante de las Minas. Also within the context of the mines, the previous year's winner, Jeromo Segura, debuted his second record related to mining cante, “La Voz de la Mina, Antología de los Cantes Mineros de La Unión”. Another winner of the Lámpara, Ricardo Fernández del Moral, also waited until 2014 to launch his first recording, “Yo Solo”, on the independent label “Droguería Music”, a company that also brought out the first recording of La Yiya titled “Morisca”, and that of Manuel Cástulo, last year's winner of the Concurso de Córdoba, with his record titled “El Corazón por la Boca”.
Another young singer, David Carpio, made his debut recording this year, “Mi Verdad”, released by Karonte, an independent label that each year brings out a good number of flamenco and flamenco-jazz records. Curro Piñana with “El Alma Lastimada y otros Poemas”, David de Jacoba with “Jubileo” and Blas Córdoba ‘Kejio’ & Chano Dominguez with “Bendito” and maestro Diego Clavel “A mis Hermanos” are other recordings from Karonte. Another noteworthy record of cante is Guadiana's “Jaleo”, that includes the participation of Ramón el Portugués. In guitar and also from Karonte, is the hidden treasure “Paseo de Ensueño” from guitarist Miguel Rivera.
Pedro Sierra's record company “La Voz del Sur” also brought out several recordings this year, such as La Tobala's “Entre Enaguas”, and guitarist Manuel Parrilla's “Pa' mi Gente”.
Before getting into the multinational record companies considered “major”, we must take note of Salao's record, “Jara en el Camino”, released by Taller de Musics, people who know what they're doing, so this is a Catalonian singer to watch. Also of great interest is the record “Azafrán” of Antonio Muñoz, official guitarist of the Cante de las Minas, and although he is not well-known among the general public, his music is worthy of a place in the collection of flamenco guitar followers.
As earlier mentioned, 2014 was the year of Paco de Lucía. “Canción Andaluza” was one of the most celebrated records, the last great work of the genius from Algeciras that unfortunately came out posthumously. But Universal continues to place its bets on flamenco with artists like Pitingo, “Cambio de Tercio”, his return to flamenco, and also Montse Cortés, “Flamencas en la Sombra”, the excellent debut of guitarist Juan Habichuela Nieto with “Mi Alma a Solas”, and the first record of Mariángeles, daughter of Tomatito, “Mírame”. In September, the company released “El Niño”, one of the major records of the year, in which Rocío Márquez takes inspiration from the great Pepe Marchena.
In 2014, guitarist Juan Manuel Cañizares recorded a trilogy bringing Falla to flamenco with three records: “El Sombrero de Tres Picos”, “El amor brujo” and “La Vida Breve”.
José Mercé also has reason to celebrate, having brought out his “40 Años de Cante”, made up of 3 CDs that will be the pretext for the Jerez singer's next tour.
Another singer who “returned” to flamenco is Diego el Cigala, although he moved to the Dominican Republic and recorded with his own record company. “Vuelve el Flamenco” is a tribute to Paco de Lucía with the accompaniment of Diego del Morao. Others who recorded are Estrella Morente, with two recordings, el Amor Brujo with the Orquesta Nacional de España, and another with Niño Josele, “Amar en Paz”, which recreates classics of Brazilian music thanks to Fernando Trueba, a work which will tour in 2015.
Likewise with Chano Domínguez and Niño Josele and their record “Chano & Josele”, also with Trueba, and which is the basis for a lengthy tour that began in autumn and will continue throughout 2015.
Lastly, we would like to highlight the beautiful work “Razón de Son”, the result of Raúl Rodríguez' musical investigation and which was presented at the Festival Etnosur, having been made into a book/CD towards the end of the year, a real jewel.
It hasn't been a prolific year for flamenco books, many of which were only published in digital form given the major problems being withstood in the publishing business. Noteworthy are two books from our colleague Pablo San Nicasio, “Contra las Cuerdas I” and “Contra las Cuerdas II”, and “Universo Morente”, the catalogue of the exposition that contains all the work being shown at the Carlos V Palace at the Alhambra in Granada through March 2015. Without a doubt, instructional books are the ones most in demand, and for that we have David Leiva, who keeps churning out books and DVDs, both instructional and of music transcriptions, being of special interest the books of Paco de Lucía's work.
The DVD output hasn't been very good either, barely 4 DVDs were released, not counting instructional material for guitar which produces more year after year. Noteworthy is “Paco de Lucía: la búsqueda”, absolutely necessary in order to understand the genius from Algeciras, the documentary “Triana, Pura y Pura” of Ricardo Pachón and one DVD that practically went unnoticed, “Afectos” of Rocío Molina, the only commercial recording of the dancer from Málaga. Towards the end of the year, Huelva singer Argentina presented “Sinergía”, a DVD recorded from two of her performances.
If we had to make a choice, it would be Paco de Lucía's “Canción Andaluza”, “El Niño” of Rocío Márquez and “Razón de Son” of Raúl Rodríquez
And what's in store for flamenco in 2015… we'll be watching…