I once asked my friend Eduardo, a flamenco purist & aficionado, who the most intense flamenco singer was when I was prepping a Music Salon evening devoted to great voices. Without hesitating, he said “Manuel Agujetas”. I showed a video that night, along with some unbelievably powerful singing. Cante Jondo-–the deepest expression of the flamenco soul–is blindingly intense. The maestro, now over 70 years old, Agujetas comes from a great flamenco family. His son, Antonio, won a singing contest while in prison and won a recording contract (see my earlier post titled “Cante Jondo”. Agujetas worked in his fathers shop forging metal until 1970, when he made his first recording. Gypsies have traditionally been blacksmiths, and there is even a flamenco rhythm based on the blacksmith’s hammering out horseshoes on the anvil called “martinetes”.
He comes with a guitarist and a dancer. Los Angeles has been very lucky lately: there have recently been some great flamenco shows in LA: El Cigala, Vicente Amigo, Anoushka Shankar. This is an even rarer opportunity to see one of the greats, somebody whose voice has been described in various ways:
Agujetas’ singing is rough like the first sip of whiskey.” From the film “Agujetas Cantaor”
“a well-modulated primal scream – an exquisitely controlled shriek of anguish and despair. I have heard it described as inhuman, and it does have a sheer animal quality to it” – Village Voice 1976
The Barnsdall venue is a small one so if you want to go, I suggest making reservations now. This will not happen again.
He also performs in Santa Cruz Tuesday, May 15th 7 p.m. and Berkeley Sunday, May 20th, at 8 p.m.
go here for details: http://www.laninaflamenco.com/HOME.html
Here is a video from back in 1972, when Agujetas was just starting to establish his flamenco credentials. It is very intense.