text: Estela Zatania
The world of flamenco mourns the passing of a legend
The great Parrilla de Jerez passed away Saturday night. And with his passing, a guitar institution: half a lifetime accompanying la Paquera, his extraordinary contribution to rescuing classic folk Christmas songs of Jerez, his years in Madrid at the tablaos of Pastora Imperio and Manolo Caracol… But above all else, we have lost that unmistakable way of playing that was such an important part of the Jerez school of guitar.
The Parrilla dynasty has lost one of its most respected and representative artists. He was related to the legendary Frijones and Juanichi el Manijero, son of Tío Parrilla, nephew of a golden generation of singers that included Borrico and Serna, and brother of dancer Ana Parrilla and guitarist Juan Parrilla. In Jerez, when one leaf falls, the whole forest weeps.
Five years ago, only a few months after saying the definitive goodbye to Paquera, he was stricken with the cruel illness that finally took his life at the age of 64 on Campana street where he was born. In addition to Paquera and his illustrious family members, he played for the greatest stars of his era including Antonio Mairena, Manuel Agujeta, Chocolate and Terremoto, among many others.
He’d started out as a dancer, and never lost the ability, especially for bulerías. At the closing of Seville’s Bienal Flamenco in 2004, the entire audience was moved when he danced alone to the recorded voice of Paquera who had only recently died.
Parrilla’s reputation crossed the frontiers of his country. In 2005, the representative of an internet forum of American guitarists managed to collect an important sum of money that he delivered personally, making the trip to Jerez for the purpose. There were other acts of formal tribute as well, most notably on June 11th, 2005 at the Jerez bull-ring with the participation of more than forty top flamenco artists, including José Mercé, Moraíto, Paco Cepero, Lebrijano, Tomatito, Rancapino, el Capullo and Niña Pastori among others.