`En Directo Corral Del Carbón´
Granada singer Antonio Campos, whom we’ve been seeing for several years singing for dance in such shows at the recent «Mujeres», has now brought out his recording debut which also represents a declaration of intentions based on honest singing, knowing where he is and where he wants to go, not thinking he’s already arrived but rather that this is a long-term commitment and you have to make your mark to avoid falling through the cracks.
«Corral del Carbón» is recorded from a live performance, in the wonderful Granada setting of the same name which each summer offers flamenco shows. Antonio Campos accompanied on guitar by Dani Méndez, with the palmas of Carlos Grilo and Luis Cantarote gave an excellent recital of seven cantes which encompasses different flamenco latitudes: from Lebrija-style romance to malagueña and abandolao, the sound of Cádiz in cantiñas, soleá de Alcalá, rhythmic siguiriyas almost obsolete, tientos, where he recalls Gaspar de Utrera and tangos canasteros. The recital of a knowledgeable singer who aspires to be a good professional and defend what he truly believes in.
1. Corral del Carbón – Romance por bulería
Considering the sort of voice this singer has, the possibilities of doing other kinds of singing are somewhat limited, but for flamenco, it’s perfect. Especially in the so-called gypsy styles such as the romance that opens the recording and in which he recalls Lebrija and Utrera in the person of Perrate with his «Me hago la ilusión…» in the style of Quino. Antonio’s influences are clear, Lebrija and Utrera for bulerías. There are also Cádiz references in the alegrías, and a strong Alcalá pull in soleá. It seems obvious to depend on such influences, but sounding authentic isn’t as easy as it sounds.
Another interesting element of the recording is the siguiriya interpreted in compás, a style not used by singers for some time and which requires a good command of compás not required by free-form styles. This is yet more proof of this singer’s taste for traditional cante.
One of the best pieces is the tientos tangos titled «Gaspar en la Memoria», and it is to be assumed he means Gaspar de Utrera, considering that Gaspar Fernández was a maestro of this style. Although the voices are different, Campos does a fine job with this difficult cante.
Dani Méndez’ guitar has a rhythmic structure that backs up the cante at every moment. It’s a guitar that dialogues with the singer and pulls up beautiful melodic phrases that add color, making good use of harmony without seeking out dissonance, but rather giving the right support to the melodies.
Overall, this is a cante recording in the classic style from a Granada singer who has his gaze fixed on what is known as the «triangle» that includes Sevilla and Cádiz. He’s not after fame and success as such, but rather seems to have made up his mind that the end is the road itself. He has some outstanding qualities that make him one of the important figures of cante at a time when the elders are no longer with us, and backed up by one of the best accompaniment guitars of the moment. Who could ask for more? Certain small things could be improved, but without a doubt this is a fine piece of work.