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Happy Birthday Manitas de Plata 90 today

Murray MacLeod 07 Aug 11 - 12:49 PM
Will Fly 07 Aug 11 - 01:47 PM
Big Al Whittle 07 Aug 11 - 03:53 PM
Steve Parkes 07 Aug 11 - 04:12 PM
Will Fly 07 Aug 11 - 04:14 PM
Big Al Whittle 07 Aug 11 - 06:30 PM
Valmai Goodyear 08 Aug 11 - 03:11 AM
Valmai Goodyear 08 Aug 11 - 03:21 AM
Will Fly 08 Aug 11 - 03:39 AM
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Subject: Happy Birthday Manitas de Plata 90 today
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 07 Aug 11 - 12:49 PM

Possibly the finest flamenco guitarist ever.

Right up there with Doc Watson in the longevity stakes.

May they both be with us for many more years.


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Subject: RE: Happy Birthday Manitas de Plata 90 today
From: Will Fly
Date: 07 Aug 11 - 01:47 PM

If I recall correctly, Manitas de Plata was not considered a good flamenco guitarist in the strictly traditional sense of the term. A fantastic guitarist - yes. An amazing and inspiring improviser - yes. But too much in his own world, too irregular and too eccentric musically to participate in and be part of the true flamenco tradition.

But may he live many more years.


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Subject: RE: Happy Birthday Manitas de Plata 90 today
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 07 Aug 11 - 03:53 PM

is that the 1954 definition of flamenco? He sounded pretty damn good to me.


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Subject: RE: Happy Birthday Manitas de Plata 90 today
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 07 Aug 11 - 04:12 PM

Well, flamencish ... I thought he was the bee's knees (as we used to say) when I was a young ham-fisted chap; and now I can play the guitar, I know he was damn' good.


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Subject: RE: Happy Birthday Manitas de Plata 90 today
From: Will Fly
Date: 07 Aug 11 - 04:14 PM

The problem is that pure flamenco is a very strict art - strict so that dancers, singers and guitarists can do the same things at the same time. There's a very solid rule about playing the soleares, for example - with a beat pattern called a compas, which divides the music into sections of 2, 4, 8 beats and so on. If you play it correctly, then the musicians, singers and dancers can play, sing and dance together - each one knowing what to do and when to do it. And they can fit in with each other because the format is known and understood.

So, in short, you can't go off on your own thing, slow down, speed up, improvise out of the box ignore the compas, etc., without buggering up the whole performance - all of which Manitas did. He ignored the art form and concentrated on himself - which is why you won't find him in books about flamenco. As you say - there is almost a "1954" definition of flamenco! I'm not criticising him as a guitar player - he was in a class and world of his own, if you like that sort of thing - but, as a proper flamenco player, he wasn't in the action. It's a bit like jazz musicians improvising together around a collectively known sequence in Bb and then one of them arbitrarily screws around in G. Interesting but possibly annoying! :-)


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Subject: RE: Happy Birthday Manitas de Plata 90 today
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 07 Aug 11 - 06:30 PM

He was pretty damn weird. i remember he played with the little finger of his picking hand.

However I can remember him playing a did in Leicester back in '68, and he had a troupe of dancers and handclappers with him. Perhaps they had to put in an extra buck and wing in for Manitas....


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Subject: RE: Happy Birthday Manitas de Plata 90 today
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 08 Aug 11 - 03:11 AM

What Will says corresponds exactly with what my classical guitar teacher told me. Flamenco is dance music. There is a huge range of flamenco tune types which belong to individual dances and improvisation has to be done within the requirements of a dance. When he plays solo M de P moves beyond that, which is fine, but isn't flamenco, so the dancers Al saw probably did have to adapt to him unless he made an exception and observed the rules for them. This doesn't alter the fact that he is dazzling (if a bit noisy).

Can you imagine what would happen to a musician who played a foxtrot for a Morris jig, or even the wrong pattern of As and Bs?

Sabicas and also Paco Pena were held up to me as supreme examples of how true flamenco can be played.

Valmai (Lewes)


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Subject: RE: Happy Birthday Manitas de Plata 90 today
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 08 Aug 11 - 03:21 AM

Sabicas plays a Granadinas

Pity about the daft toupee, but the playing is fabulous.

Valmai (Lewes concertina player)


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Subject: RE: Happy Birthday Manitas de Plata 90 today
From: Will Fly
Date: 08 Aug 11 - 03:39 AM

Great minds think alike! After I'd added my post last yesterday, I sauntered off to YouTube and watched just those same clips! Wonderful stuff - as was Ramon Montoya (unlike nephew Carlos Montoya who also wandered away from the flamenco line)

Shame about the rug, though... :-)


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