As I was writing about the death of Moraíto with deep sadness last August, at the back of my mind was that we were soon to have a double blow, as I had heard that the flamenco guitarist Enrique de Melchor was very ill.
Here we are on 3 January 2012, the start of a new year and not yet the 12th Day of Christmas, and Enrique de Melchor died this morning.
Enrique de Melchor was the son of the flamenco guitarist Melchor de Marchena. He was born on 15 July 1950 in Marchena, Seville and lived there until the age of 12, before moving to Madrid. Melchor de Marchena was one of the finest guitarists of his generation and he worked in the tablao of Manolo Caracol called ‘Los Canasteros’ in Madrid, so Enrique had endless inspiration from a young age. He was noted for his ability to accompany flamenco cante and during his career accompanied flamenco singers such as Antonio Mairena, Camarón de La Isla, La Perla de Cádiz, Pansequito, Rocío Jurado, Chiquetete, El Lebrijano and José Menese.
Apart from collaborating on innumerable recordings of other flamenco artists, his own recordings included: La guitarra flamenca de Enrique de Melchor (1977), Sugerencias (1983), Bajo la luna (1988), La noche y el día (1991), Cuchichí (1992) and Raíz flamenca (2005).
Enrique de Melchor also spent a number of years touring the world and performing with Paco de Lucía. Here they are performing a fandangos together called Viejos Tiempos (Old Times) on Enrique de Melchor’s recording called Arco de las rosas (Fonomusic, 1998).
In the Winter 1999 issue of Flamenco International magazine, we published an interview of Enrique de Melchor by Vicky Hayward – he had just released Arco de las Rosas, which won the Premio Toque de guitarra de la Asocación Nacional de Criticos de Arte Flamenco.
It was an excellent interview by Vicky Hayward; here is a short extract:
Vicky Hayward: What is the most important thing that you inherited from your father’s playing?
Enrique de Melchor: His sound was important to me, although mine is different. But his advice was more important. I remember after spending a year in Japan, I came back and played to him and he said, ‘It’s going to be a struggle for you to succeed.’ I asked him why. He said, ‘Because when somebody does something well, it’s always a struggle.’
© 2012 Thérèse Wassily Saba