Text: José Manuel Gómez “Gufi”
Photos & video: Rafael Manjavacas
Antonio Rey – Manuel Urbina (2nd guitar), Saúl Quirós (voice), Bandolero (percussion)
Ist Festival Flamenco de Club – Café Berlín 24/11/2017
The legend goes that in the flamenco galaxy, there’s a planet called “guitar”. The same sources say that that planet doesn’t have the shape of a guitar, nor anything like it. Older people claim it started to be called that because of Pepe Habichuela who one day said that “you have to play the guitar every day because if not, the flies will eat you up”.
On Planet Guitar there are some very fierce and harmful flies that attack any human being seen with still hands. Locals tried to resolve the problem putting their hands in their pockets. Bad idea. Nowadays on Planet Guitar, nobody has pockets, just in case.
The flies got furious when a wise man named Morente, dreampt up the strategy of putting out a plate with pigs’ feet to distract them. In a few weeks the flies learned to distinguish humans from pigs, and certain subtleties of the language such as the difference between “tripe” to eat (callos in Spanish) and “callouses” from working (also callos).
The inhabitants of the planet decided everyone would have to play the guitar. Someone called “Paco” was proclaimed the absolute god, pilgrimages took place to his place of birth in the bay of Algeciras, and prophets and archangels were named left and right. On the other side of the planet, the inhabitants, known as “guiris”, decided to proclaim someone called Farlow the deity (a little joke jazz followers will get), although there was in-fighting that started from a sect that defended “the slow hand”, his followers filled entire walls with graffiti that read: “Clapton is God”.
A “REY” AT THE BERLIN
On Guitar Planet, Antonio Rey is noteworthy, a faithful believer in Paco and his music, and in the various apostles, and that’s how he came on at the Berlin café in Madrid on Friday night, and no sooner did he begin to play, you couldn’t hear a fly.
He was presenting his new record “Two parts of me”, which is bulerías he recorded with the Cameroun bass-player Richard Bona, and the rhythm of the Makarines. But before that, Antonio came on stage alone and stopped for a moment because a string had gone out of tune; he tuned up without stopping playing, just as if he were at home. In that recording he pays tribute to Vicente Amigo to whom he dedicated “Ídolo”, to Moraíto whom he addresses as a buddy, and to the maestro Rafael Riqueni. A characteristic of bravery is to acknowledge the merit of others before proclaiming one’s own.
Antonio Rey is a virtuoso, but he knows the most important thing is to find his own path, show his personality, now he admits he doesn’t care if he misses a note. He doesn’t care if that note dances on a loose string if it fits in with the entire work.
Before the intermission, a second guitar came on, Manuel Urbina, and it became clear these inhabitants of the planet are all from outer space, searching for beauty among six strings tensed upon a piece of wood. On percussion is Bandolero, because Antonio Rey’s music is multiplied by rhythm. Rey presented a singer, his comrade-in-arms, Saúl Quirós, who sang fandangos, and stood up to sing bulerías. And for the last bulerías dance, he called out the guys, and Juan Diego, in Madrid with the group of Guillermo McGill, appeared, and the fiesta grew with the beat and Antonio gave his guitar to his friend from Jerez to whip up the rhythm a bit.
No word from the flies.