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CANO in concert. Flamenco guitar - Sala Clamores

May 9, 2011

Cano en concierto
Sunday, May 8th, 2011
Sala Clamores, Madrid


Clamor to high heaven

Text and photos: Pablo San Nicasio Ramos

He’s the most interesting guitarist of his generation.  The guitar counterpart of Andrés Marín, Israel Galván or Rafael Estévez and company in dance.  Ah, but look out, we’re talking about guitar, and around these parts we’re still living in the prehistoric era.  So if it doesn’t sell, forget it.

Cano reminded us of this when he presented himself to the audience, noting that is was a special experience for him to be on a stage in Spain where guitarists continue to be largely overlooked.

Last night the Catalonian musician brought a 24-carat band to leave no doubt that his concept, despite not yet being a mass movement, has the support of the some of the most select musicians of today’s panorama.  And thanks to them, but above all to him alone, the hour and a half of contemporary music went flying.

Good atmosphere in the legendary “Clamores” where you could see the illustrious Félix Grande, one of Cano’s fans.  The poet was lavished with praise from the star of the night.

Juan Antonio started out with his malagueña to Enrique el Mellizo, a guitar composition with reciting.  Free-form music, like everything this musician plays, noteworthy for its complex texture and great difficulty.  Not only in the right-hand technique, very interesting because of the great range he manages, but because of the richness of a brutal left had.  Needless to say, this is not within reach of those who only go for speed and more speed.

In this vein, he played six more solo pieces.  Everything from his “Son de Ayer” and “Flamenco Crossover”.  Recordings that are a reference for anyone looking for truly new guitar work.  First point in his favor.

A version of Los Cuatro Muleros, minera, rumba, soleá…  It would have been easier for him to play more with the group, but compared to the solo parts, he hardly did.

And he had at his disposition two first-class Pablos, Martín on double bass, and Suárez on piano.  Real hot-shots of the new flamenco, ably backed-up by José Luis López, perfect on the cello, and by Karo Sampela on percussion.

There was the cante of Antonio Campos, a voice we ought to hear more of around Madrid, and the surprise of Diana Navarro, with her sublime interpretation of a Niña de la Puebla milonga.

Bulerías for the fiesta finale where you could sense Cano’s inimitable way of accompanying the wonderful Navarro.

The technical resources of Cano could be the subject of a study, because not only has he many, but some are completely novel in flamenco guitar, with things taken from classical and electric guitar.  That makes the guitar sound different from start to finish. From the moment he picks it up, to the end of the last compás.  Without a doubt, the only one of his crop able to sound different from everyone else, and have his own identity.  Self-sufficient and aesthetically a novelty, with his unmistakable leather bag and cutaway guitar, Canito is a guitarist for all audiences who, I insist, is being discovered by programmers who pride themselves on being able to sniff out talent.

A guitarist who runs the risk, or even more so, it’s flamenco running the risk, of his passing unnoticed precisely at a point in time when the guitar needs creativity more than ever.  The next step is for Cano to get into the loop, and he’s working on it.