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The flamenco cantaor Antonio de la Malena has released his first cante por derecho recording: Para ti mi cante…que es mi libertad


This double-CD offers two hours of powerful, expressive and moving flamenco cante, often simply accompanied by a solo flamenco guitar but with a range of guitarists, who are all excellent and are a part of the Jerez flamenco ‘cradle’: Manuel Parilla (Manuel Fernández ‘Parilla de Jerez’ – part of the Parrilla flamenco lineage of Jerez), Domingo Rubichi (from a family of cantaores), Malena Hijo (the son of Antonio de la Malena) and Santiago Moreno (the brother of the flamenco dancer María del Mar Moreno).

The recording offers much variety in the flamenco styles and they way in which they are interpreted. It opens with a flamenco style which is not often heard, the trilla, with fine accompaniment from the guitarist Manuel Parrilla as well as a chorus of singers and palmas.

In the bulerías a golpe, Los Matojos, Antonio de la Malena’s singing is accompanied by the rhythmic rapping of knuckles on the table top, and of course, the intermittent calling out of encouraging jaleo (¡arsa!, ¡ale!, ¡vamanos ya!) from those listening. In contrast, the martinete, is sung completely unaccompanied, not even by the ominous sound of the hammered anvil of the forge. It has a religious intensity about it, almost like a saeta.

Antonio de la Malena is joined by a guest singer for the very special tarantos – his brother Manuel de Malena. The two are accompanied by Antonio’s son, Malena hijo.

Antonio de la Malena pours out his heart as he sings throughout this recording. He is accompanied by his son Malena hijo with great sensitivity. Malena hijo has a strength and individuality that is distinctive. His seguiriyas, bambas and serrana are all equally good.

Para ti mi cante…que es mi libertad doesn’t feel like a studio recording – there is always plenty of jaleo and general chat but more importantly each of the 16 tracks lasts as long as it takes to complete the performance, which gives the essential freedom of expression that good flamenco needs.

Antonio de la Malena (Antonio Moreno Carrasco) was born in Jerez de la Frontera. He comes from a family with strong flamenco roots: his mother, La Malena, was a flamenco dancer and singer, his older brother (Manuel de Malena) his cousin (Curro Malena) and his brother-in-law (Mateo Soleá) are all flamenco singers. The photograph on the CD cover shows Antonio de la Malena with his father Morao.

Jerez de la Frontera was the home of the flamenco guitarist Moraíto Chico. Here is a very young Antonio de la Malena being accompanied by Moraíto!

The excerpt comes from the documentary film* called El cante bueno duele – Homenaje a Moraíto was made by the Dutch director/cameraman Martijn van Beenen and Ernestina van de Noort, who is the director of the Flamenco Biennale Nederland.

Para ti mi cante…que es mi libertad has been released on Palomino Productions.

* originally from the Spanish television series Rito y Geografía del Cante – a series of weekly half-hour porgrammes which began in 1964 presented by José María Velázquez-Gazteu and directed by Mario Gómez. This programme, featuring Antonio de la Malena was called Niños Cantaores.

© 2012 Thérèse Wassily Saba