only slight and basically irrelevant modifications with regard to the
original (Gráficas Olimpia, 1992), Ángel Sody de Rivas’
“El Eco de Unos Toques. Diego del Gastor”, the only biographical
sketch to date of guitarist Diego Alejandro Amaya Flores (1908-1973) with
any semblance of seriousness, has just been reprinted.
The author begins with a brief overview of the guitar tradition in Morón
de la Frontera, with Pepe Mesa and Pepe Naranjo as the most immediate
influences. Likewise, he describes the most characteristic elements of
the guitar style that has made Morón one of the most original enclaves
in the world of flamenco guitar, not without taking note of the tremendous
influence of Diego, then and now.
Giving some biographical background, he delves, perhaps excessively given
the context, into the Amaya Flores family tree, and the various stages
that led to the family’s eventual settling in Morón where
the artist lived out his entire artistic life. It was there, from 1963
up until his death in 1973, that he was the most fundamental element of
the Gazpacho, the town’s annual cante festival, participating with
best artists of the time as the author points out, “from Antonio
Mairena, Juan Talega, la Fernanda and la Bernarda, José Menese,
Fosforito, Perrate to Joselero as well as the Gastor family, Anzonini
and others, an almost interminable list”.
Book & CD
Along with the admiration the guitarist so deservedly received, particularly
in the last years of his life, Sody de Rivas gives some very interesting
data, much of it relating to the artist’s contemporaries. Likewise,
Morón writer Alberto García Ulecia recalls the many afternoons
spent alongside the Espartero river: “And we felt the music mixed
with blood, and once again the taste of tears”.
Another addition to this reprinting is an emotional poem by El Poeta
de Alcalá titled “Roots of the Art in Morón de la
Frontera” from which the following is excerpted:
era como un fino cuchillo
que con desgarrada fuerza
abriendo un surco en el pecho
hasta el corazón penetra.
was like a fine razor
with heart-rending strength
that opened a gash in the chest
penetrating straight to the heart.
Some thirty excellent black and white photographs are included in this
new edition – nineteen of them new – handily surpassing the
quality of the earlier work. Most of the images are from the private collections
of William Davidson and Steve Kahn, Americans deeply interested in our
art and who in their day had the good fortune to capture many unforgettable
moments with their cameras.
Last but not least it must be mentioned that this edition comes with
a CD that complements the text. Part of the recording is from “Misterios
de la Guitarra Flamenca”, a single recorded in the early sixties
with soleá, and an assortment of recordings from private flamenco
parties at the end of the sixties and released by Pasarela in 1990 with
the title “Evocaciones”. Although the inclusion of this audio
material with the book is to be applauded, it must be noted that to a
certain degree the deficient sound quality trivializes the importance
of this historic document.
Cover photo: Steve Kahn
Colección. Nuestro Flamenco 2 –
Cultura Jonda 21. A Diego el del Gastor de Morón
with Don Pohren
Interview with Son
de la Frontera