Antonio Rey: Flamenco Guitar – Rondena

Here’s another Blane Ebersold share, of Flamenco guitarist Antonio Rey with Rondena.

“Neither in Jerez, nor in Madrid, nor in Seville. Antonio Rey learned how to play the guitar out there in the big wide world. He was just a nine-year-old boy when his father, cantaor and tocaor Toni Rey, went off to Mexico to work at tablaos, galas and theaters. And he took him with him… straight to the stages. That was how “I at least learned the bases of rhythm and technique, accompanying cante and baile”. Five years later, he made a stopover in Jerez to leave for a tour of Japan with Yoko Komatsubara. And in the land of the rising sun he found another school. “I spent a year in Tokyo and since there were several tablaos, I went in search of all the guitarists who were going there to work, like Miguel Iglesias, who taught me a lot of stuff. If Manuela Carrasco came for a week, then I went after them. Joaquín Cortés came, and I went after his guitarists. I was nicknamed ‘the Spy’. I was always after them picking up on their falsetas. Ha ha ha”.

He was already seventeen when he got to Madrid. He performed at Casa Patas accompanying his sister, bailaora and cantaora Mara Rey, unaware of the presence of an ‘observer’: Antonio Canales. The Sevillian bailaor signed him up for his company, where he discovered another school; that of Cañorroto. “When I saw that way of playing, I flipped out. I hadn’t seen that in my entire life, that such great technique, that really true devotion to guitar, hours and hours, besides that musical quality”. The one acting as a guide for him was David Cerreduela, but he stresses that “you mustn’t forget El Nani, David’s father, who is one of the creators of this school, or El Viejín, Ramón Jiménez, Jesús de Rosario or Los Losada”.

And there, while he was broadening his knowledge, he began an intense phase dedicated to accompaniment and composing for baile. The guitarist relates that he worked “with Rafael Amargo, Rafaela Carrasco, Manuela Carrasco, Farruquito… and also doing the music for ‘Romeo y Julieta’ and ‘Tierra’ by the Nuevo Ballet Español, and music for Andrés Marín, who has helped me a lot”. And he doesn’t mind the contrasts or the styles: “I would just as easily play for Manuela Carrasco, the most flamenco artist in the world, as for a pop group”. The question was to grow in this profession. And there was a lot to learn at the baile school: “Above all, to value flamenco and enjoy flamenco without the need to put on a play. I think that to do flamenco, you don’t have to jump off a diving board. You watch Manuela Carrasco dance… and that’s the flamenco I like, just like that. I dance por soleá, you accompany me and let’s go. Nowadays there are really complex, really heavily rehearsed shows, but everything’s a little more fictional”.

-Is it demanding to play for Manuela Carrasco?

-“And more so for Farruquito. With Manuela, you know more or less where she’s going to lead you. But with Farruquito, the thing is that you don’t know which way he’s going to go and many times you like him dancing so much that you even forget you have to play. He’s flamenco at its purest; you don’t know what he’s going to do, he never sets up anything. He’s one of my idols, he’s collaborated with me on the album, we’ve done the bulería ‘Tacones y bordones’ together, which he recorded on a tiny little board we found in the garbage… He worked wonders. I’ve learned a great deal from them, especially how to be up on stage; never to relax, to be a little tense, but knowing how to enjoy yourself”.  more of the interview here