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XV BIENAL DE FLAMENCO. 'Diego Amador cuarteto'

October 9, 2008


Diego Amador, Manuel de la Luz, Antonio Coronel y Chechu
October 8th, 2008. 9:00 pm Teatro Central 


Text: Gonzalo Montaño Peña
Photos: © Archivo Bienal de Flamenco, Luis Castilla

Piano and cante: Diego Amador; Guitar: Manuel de la Luz; Double bass: Chechu Sierra; Drums: Israel Varela; Percussion: Diego Amador Hijo.

Diego Amador brought his vision of contemporary flamenco piano in the form of a quartet.  Eleven pieces made up the repertoire of the recital, all flamenco-inspired (alegrías, tangos, fandangos, rumbas…), with the exception of an Argentine tango. A concert in which this musician’s strength and improvisation shook the walls of the Teatro Central.

Diego is a musician without complexes.  He doesn’t worry about playing jazz, even though many people say the mix of flamenco and jazz is outdated.  Nor does he shy away from using his voice to sound like Camarón, at a time when even the Camaron imitators have been phased out. He’s a flamenco musician, with the soul of a jazzman, or maybe he’s learned his music so well, that it inexorably has led him to color his flamenco heart with broad brushstrokes of contemporary music such as that of Bill Evans or Duke Ellington.

He opened with soleá making clear that in this concert there would be plenty of room for improvisation.  The drums and bass conversed in ‘swing’, the piano chimed in speaking the same language, but the musical phrases always resolved in the Andalusian cadence.  The audio pressure reached right to our throats, although the role of the guitar wasn’t clear in the totally occupied sound space, and could only be heard at brief intervals.  It was a shame, because this guitarist is a very promising musician.


Bienal de Flamenco. Foto Luis Castilla
Bienal de Flamenco. Foto Luis Castilla

Diego continued with rondeña, where Diego’s voice reproduced the sound of his main reference, Camarón de la Isla.  In my opinion, the vocals are “Churri’s”  weakest point, not because he sings badly, he does a fine job, but because to imitate Camarón’s voice and style so overtly, subtracts personality.

Other influences were clear as well, such as Paco de Lucía’s in the tanguillo.  Even the rumbas were reminiscent of music from the film “Calle 54”

The music flowed generously throughout the theater, and Diego had a grand time, as did his audience.  You could see it in how his feet danced when he was improvising during tangos or bulerías, flamenco structures that included instrumental solos in the bebop style.  It’s here the pianist showed his technique and intuitive musical sense, in addition to his strength and self-confidence, demonstrating that he is a musician with tremendous imagination and creative sense.

But there was still one surprise awaiting us, Diego’s brother Raimundo Amador came on stage for a guitar-piano duo with his brother in which they didn’t quite manage to communicate, although it was an emotional moment.  Two musicians from the same family and with the same musical background, but two different paths.

The audience demanded an encore which Diego gladly provided to close out a concert in which everyone had a good time.