The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #156004   Message #3676220
Posted By: Will Fly
10-Nov-14 - 02:03 PM
Thread Name: Obit: Manitas de Plata, old 'silver fingers'
Subject: RE: Obit: Manitas de Plata, old 'silver fingers'
Don Firth has made the point very clearly in this thread, and I can't see what all the dispute and quarreling is all about.

Nobody, as far as I can tell, has said that Manitas de Plata couldn't play, or that he was a poor musician. In fact, it's blindingly obvious that he was a stunning, individual and brilliant musician.

However, contrary to what many people think, flamenco is not just about stunning, individual and brilliant guitar playing - it's a cohesion of music, singing and dance. And for that cohesion to work within the format, all these elements have to come together. There's room for a great deal of self-expression on the parts of the musicians, the dancers and the singers, but it's essential that the form and structure is adhered to for it to work.

Manitas would not or could not work within that structure, preferring to take the music and interpret/extend it in a totally personal way. That was his choice - nothing wrong with that whatsoever - and it's why he was never considered to be a true flamenco guitarist in the formal interpretation of the word. Someone earlier on mentioned Sabicas - an utterly brilliant player who played within the form and was acknowledged as a master (and a great influence on Paco de Lucia).

Al - you've talked about not wanting a striker of that calibre in your eleven - but imagine a brilliant striker who wasn't a team player, who did just what he wanted and ignored the other players. Would you actually want him in the team, for all his brilliance? Take a parallel in jazz. This is also a musical form with conventions - and they can, of course, all be broken - conventions which, when gone along with, can produce exhilarating music when soloists and ensemble are working together within the framework.

Same thing. They can all exist side by side - but Don has given a perfectly reasonable answer to the question why Manitas didn't cut it with the flamenco fraternity, superb though he was. So why all the fuss?