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Obit: Manitas de Plata, old 'silver fingers'

GUEST 06 Nov 14 - 02:07 PM
Don Firth 06 Nov 14 - 02:34 PM
Big Al Whittle 06 Nov 14 - 06:30 PM
Gurney 06 Nov 14 - 07:14 PM
Big Al Whittle 06 Nov 14 - 09:30 PM
GUEST,Tunesmith 07 Nov 14 - 06:56 AM
Big Al Whittle 07 Nov 14 - 07:01 AM
GUEST 07 Nov 14 - 09:22 AM
Big Al Whittle 07 Nov 14 - 10:40 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 07 Nov 14 - 11:35 AM
Helen 07 Nov 14 - 01:21 PM
Big Al Whittle 07 Nov 14 - 02:16 PM
Don Firth 07 Nov 14 - 02:17 PM
Don Firth 07 Nov 14 - 02:34 PM
Big Al Whittle 07 Nov 14 - 04:04 PM
GUEST,donmeixner 07 Nov 14 - 10:00 PM
Big Al Whittle 08 Nov 14 - 07:33 AM
GUEST,RB 08 Nov 14 - 08:14 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 08 Nov 14 - 08:16 AM
Big Al Whittle 08 Nov 14 - 08:40 AM
Don Firth 08 Nov 14 - 02:54 PM
GUEST,Stim 08 Nov 14 - 03:07 PM
Big Al Whittle 08 Nov 14 - 07:32 PM
Don Firth 09 Nov 14 - 02:11 AM
Mr Red 09 Nov 14 - 03:08 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 09 Nov 14 - 10:33 PM
Don Firth 09 Nov 14 - 10:39 PM
fuligorubin 10 Nov 14 - 02:12 AM
Big Al Whittle 10 Nov 14 - 07:00 AM
Don Firth 10 Nov 14 - 12:33 PM
Big Al Whittle 10 Nov 14 - 12:45 PM
GUEST,Mr Red 10 Nov 14 - 01:28 PM
Don Firth 10 Nov 14 - 01:40 PM
Will Fly 10 Nov 14 - 02:03 PM
GUEST,Tunesmith 10 Nov 14 - 02:09 PM
Big Al Whittle 10 Nov 14 - 02:40 PM
Don Firth 10 Nov 14 - 03:00 PM
Big Al Whittle 10 Nov 14 - 03:29 PM
Don Firth 10 Nov 14 - 06:48 PM
Big Al Whittle 10 Nov 14 - 08:47 PM
GUEST,Stim 11 Nov 14 - 01:11 AM
Don Firth 11 Nov 14 - 01:34 AM
Don Firth 11 Nov 14 - 01:38 AM
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Subject: Obit: Manias de Plata, old 'silver fingers'
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Nov 14 - 02:07 PM

Memories of seeing this flamboyant performer? Always insisted he was paid in cash which he stuffed into his guitar. Ase.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Manias de Plata, old 'silver fingers'
From: Don Firth
Date: 06 Nov 14 - 02:34 PM

Manitas de Plata. "Little hands of silver."

Watch, listen, and be amazed!!! Strings smoking a bit....

Just passed away at the ripe old age of 93.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Obit: Manias de Plata, old 'silver fingers'
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 06 Nov 14 - 06:30 PM

astonishing guitarist,   played with all five right hand fingers, three lines of simulataneous picking patterns. I only saw him once at the de montfort hall, Leicester, 1967.

the first time i saw a mass standing ovation. he had a guitar with a sketch by Picasso on the front.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Manias de Plata, old 'silver fingers'
From: Gurney
Date: 06 Nov 14 - 07:14 PM

As Big Al says, he played three lines at the same time. I watched fascinated on BBC once as they did a BIG closeup of his hands.
Still boggles my mind 40+ years later.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Manias de Plata, old 'silver fingers'
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 06 Nov 14 - 09:30 PM

so sad about Manitas de Plata dropping off the twig. Even sadder to hear that flamenco experts never rated him cos he didn't play the right number of beats in the bar or whatever.
what do these guardians of good practice get out of it. long as i can remember - i have been hearing people dissing great artists. sayings - that's not folk music; that's not what i call country music; that's not jazz........

Qrnette Coleman, Tom Paxton, Manitas de Plata, Dolly Parton....in my time I have hears them all dismissed in similar terms. how can anyone imagine their artistic movement will be strengthened by excluding talents like this....?


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Subject: RE: Obit: Manias de Plata, old 'silver fingers'
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 07 Nov 14 - 06:56 AM

Interestingly, he was nowhere near as good as any of the great - and not so great - Spanish flamenco guitarists.
I think even a novice could tell that!
I remember the guitar guru Ivor Mairants writing something along those lines following Manitas's appearance on a Rolf Harris tv show back in the 60s.
But, he did turn a lot of people on to flamenco...and he certainly looked the part!


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Subject: RE: Obit: Manias de Plata, old 'silver fingers'
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 07 Nov 14 - 07:01 AM

well he had me fooled...


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Subject: RE: Obit: Manias de Plata, old 'silver fingers'
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Nov 14 - 09:22 AM

He seems to have burned the candle at both ends at parties by Brigitte Bardot and got the Gypsy Kings started! But managed to die without a penny to his name sadly.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Manias de Plata, old 'silver fingers'
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 07 Nov 14 - 10:40 AM

money's not everything...he was transcendental as a performer. i never saw anyone play like that ever again. it was a hell of an achievement.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Manias de Plata, old 'silver fingers'
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 07 Nov 14 - 11:35 AM

Big Al Whittle said:
"i never saw anyone play like that ever again. it was a hell of an achievement"
You are joking!
Manitas wasn't worthy of carrying Paco de Lucia's guitar case!
You are entitled to your opinion - I suppose - but nobody who knows anything about flamenco is going to agree with you!


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Subject: RE: Obit: Manias de Plata, old 'silver fingers'
From: Helen
Date: 07 Nov 14 - 01:21 PM

I remember seeing him a few times on TV some decades ago, and I never forgot those experiences. As a performer, he was amazing. I had his vinyl album and played it a lot.

Whether he fits the rigid rules of flamenco is one question, but whether he is a performer worth watching and listening to is another.

I count him as one of the best musical performers I have ever seen - although sadly, I never saw him perform live.

Rest in Peace, Manitas de Plata.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Manias de Plata, old 'silver fingers'
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 07 Nov 14 - 02:16 PM

no i don't know anything about flamenco...thank god!

but i know about guitar playing and i recognise creativity.

don't worry - you're not on your own. there are loads of people who think Dylan Thomas as a poet wasn't a patch on the dreary gits reading their odes at the eisteddford. plenty of people think Alex Higgins was a crap snooker player - not worthy to lick Steve Davis's boots. Bix Beiderbecke - not a patch on Alex Welsh. Tom Paxton - not really entitled to call himself a folksinger.

pity you lot couldn't hold back on the occasion of his death, and let those of us who respected him, grieve.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Manias de Plata, old 'silver fingers'
From: Don Firth
Date: 07 Nov 14 - 02:17 PM

Manitas de Plata (Ricardo Baliardo) was a gypsy, but he was not Spanish, he was French. And one of his idols was Django Reinhardt, who was also a gypsy born in France and played jazz.

Flamenco guitar, which is used to accompany dancers and singers, follows a strict form for each of the song and dance types, and if the guitarist (or any of the ensemble) depart from those forms, it throws the others off and makes the whole thing crash and burn.

And one of the tests of a good flamenco guitarist is how well he follows—and works within—those strict forms.

Good "primer" on Flamenco HERE. Read especially the section on Compás.

Manitas de Plata use flamenco technique, but he's all over the place as far as the forms are concerned. He's more jazz than flamenco. Hence the lack of regard from genuine flamenco guitarists.

What makes me such an expert on Flamenco? I'm not. But during the Seattle World's Fair in 1962, I took four months' lessons from Antonio Zori, one of the flamenco guitarists who accompanied dancers at the Spanish Village exhibit at the fair. During those four months, Antonio taught me four of the flamenco forms, the Soleares, Allegrias, Granadinas, and Farruca. Each of these follows a strict rhythmic and harmonic form, and if you depart from this—it ain't flamenco anymore, even if it sounds like it to the untutored ear.

Manitas da Plata possesses a prodigious technique, but among other things, he does not use the thumb and all four fingers of his right hand, except in the rasqueados (rolling the backs of his nails across the string in the characteristic "strumming" technique. He does not pluck with the little finger, and not very often with the ring finger. The rapid scale passages are done by alternating index middle index middle. The little finger is too short for this kind of plucking and attempting to use it throws the rest of the hand out of position.

I have watched the videos carefully, and even though I can't do it anywhere near as blazingly fast as he does, I DO know what he's doing.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Obit: Manias de Plata, old 'silver fingers'
From: Don Firth
Date: 07 Nov 14 - 02:34 PM

Al, this is not to put him down as a guitarist. He was fantastic!

But even though he used the same technique as flamenco guitarists, he played fast and loose with the forms that make it flamenco.

[A twelve-bar blues that contains fourteen bar phrases is no longer a twelve-bar blues.]

Carlos Montoya got the same flak from flamenco guitarists when he stopped accompanying dancers and started doing solo concerts--and diddled with the forms themselves.

Dig up some old Sabicas records. Or one primarily classical guitarist who can play some damned fine flamenco is Pepe Romero.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Obit: Manias de Plata, old 'silver fingers'
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 07 Nov 14 - 04:04 PM

the guitar is the national instrument of Spain. all the rest of are just messing about.

the flamenco purists of course have their traditions which they guard and police zealously. fair enough. but you only have to be in Spain a short time to be aware of all kinds ofvariations Spanish traditional music that sound flamenco-ish to the outsider.

i suspect about as many Spaniards. recognise a bulerias, as English people recognise a slip jig.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Manias de Plata, old 'silver fingers'
From: GUEST,donmeixner
Date: 07 Nov 14 - 10:00 PM

i don,t care what he did or how he did it. he had style and played a lot better than i. i am sorry he has died.

Don Meixner


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Subject: RE: Obit: Manias de Plata, old 'silver fingers'
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 08 Nov 14 - 07:33 AM

woke up this morning with various thoughts....

1) i can't think of a single folk blues singer/guitarist who played strict twelve bar blues.

2) a query - seeing as we seem to have some people who know about flamenco. that cante hondo style, that sounds very like blues singing. the singer waves his hand about and seems seems to be extemporising. are they all frantically counting? keeping to a strict form.....


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Subject: RE: Obit: Manias de Plata, old 'silver fingers'
From: GUEST,RB
Date: 08 Nov 14 - 08:14 AM

zha devlesa Rom baro


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Subject: RE: Obit: Manias de Plata, old 'silver fingers'
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 08 Nov 14 - 08:16 AM

These true flamenco singers, dancers and guitarists certainly won't be counting!
Maybe, when they were eight year olds and developing their skills, but as adults the flamenco forms would be part of their very beings!


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Subject: RE: Obit: Manias de Plata, old 'silver fingers'
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 08 Nov 14 - 08:40 AM

but they are working to a strict pattern.......


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Subject: RE: Obit: Manias de Plata, old 'silver fingers'
From: Don Firth
Date: 08 Nov 14 - 02:54 PM

Flamenco leaves a lot of room for improvising within the patterns. That goes for the whole group, guitarists, singers, dancers....

If you're playing with an ensemble and you start doing your own thing outside the pattern that everyone else is working within, you could throw everyone else off. Either that or suddenly you'd stand out like a doofus as you go off on your own tangent.

A flamenco troupe--or an impromptu get-together--is very like a group of jazz musicians getting together for a jam session.

The flamenco forms are not all that hard to learn, and they leave plenty of room for individual creativity.

If a guitarist works solo, and shows a general disregard for the established forms, he just won't be invited to join the juerga (orgy?).

That doesn't mean he's a lousy guitarist. It means he either disregards or doesn't know the forms.

So what's the problem?

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Obit: Manias de Plata, old 'silver fingers'
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 08 Nov 14 - 03:07 PM

Ricardo Baliardo was a great musician and a wonderful entertainer. One of my favorites.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Manitas de Plata, old 'silver fingers'
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 08 Nov 14 - 07:32 PM

well to be honest with canto honde - it sounds very loose. as though the singer and guitarist are trading licks. extremely indeterminate. you tell me there is a mathematically precise form, and of course i will take your word for it.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Manitas de Plata, old 'silver fingers'
From: Don Firth
Date: 09 Nov 14 - 02:11 AM

This [CLICKY] is an excellent article on flamenco, with a general explanation of its structure (Wikipedia really came through with this one). Among other things, it gives a good rundown of the structure of some of the forms in terms of rhythm (sometime fairly complex) and harmonic structure (not really too complicated when you get the hang of it).

The key to those blazingly fast scales and runs is practicing them very slowly until you can do them perfectly, then speeding them up slightly and practicing them again. And again. And again. Until finally you can do them fast and clean.

Trying to play them up to speed at first is a good way to braid your fingers….

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Obit: Manitas de Plata, old 'silver fingers'
From: Mr Red
Date: 09 Nov 14 - 03:08 PM

What's all this crap about flamenco?
If the guy played stuff no one else could play, then he was great. If you want to compare him with "flamencista" then maybe he is not flamenco. In the same way Clapton ain't no Blind Lemon Broonzy. Mind you - Segovia couldn't play like Clapton or Robert Johnson.

The message here is, was he worth the praise as a musician?
NOT was he a flaming flamencoista?

Never having seen him but spoken with those who did in 1970, he was adored for his virtuosity. Mind you the girlfriend at the time was a little surprised at being mistaken for a groupie - if you know what I mean.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Manitas de Plata, old 'silver fingers'
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 09 Nov 14 - 10:33 PM

I learned A LOT from this thread ! ! !

Stuff I never imagined, nor had a clue to before.


Sincerely,
Gargoyle

thank you


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Subject: RE: Obit: Manitas de Plata, old 'silver fingers'
From: Don Firth
Date: 09 Nov 14 - 10:39 PM

"Manitas de Plata" was born in France and lived most of his life in France. He admired jazz guitarist Django Rheinhardt. He played with the same technique as flamenco guitarists, but he ignored the strict forms that define flamenco music—hence the objection that actual flamenco guitarists make when people insist on calling him a flamenco guitarist.

His technique was spectacular and very flashy. And he was a very entertaining performer. To object to his being called a flamenco guitarist is not to denigrate him as a very entertaining performer.

Look him up in Wikipedia. Very interesting character….

Also: CLICKY.

Don't kill the messenger! Lighten up, folks.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Obit: Manitas de Plata, old 'silver fingers'
From: fuligorubin
Date: 10 Nov 14 - 02:12 AM

My father heard him play at the Saintes Maries de la Mer Gypsy gathering back in the 60s -- said it was the most amazing guitar playing he had heard.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Manitas de Plata, old 'silver fingers'
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Nov 14 - 07:00 AM

It bears a striking similarity to the ongoing row between Jim Carroll and me. Jim swears that Bob Dylan isn't folk music. The flamenco connosieurs say that Manitas isn't flamenco - despite the perception of the world at large, in both cases.

Either you see the folk process as something frozen in rules, or you see it as a living evolving thing.

Imagine not wanting strikers like this in your first eleven....!
Don't let's have an argument on the man's grave though.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Manitas de Plata, old 'silver fingers'
From: Don Firth
Date: 10 Nov 14 - 12:33 PM

Al, at one time, everyone thought that the world was flat. That didn't make it flat.

Question:   Did Ricardo Baliardo ever say that he played flamenco? Or is that what people assumed because, to the untutored ear, it sounded like flamenco?

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Obit: Manitas de Plata, old 'silver fingers'
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Nov 14 - 12:45 PM

when i was a kid, they used to say about Ornette Coleman - just because he squeaks at the same time as the other guy doesn't make it jazz.....


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Subject: RE: Obit: Manitas de Plata, old 'silver fingers'
From: GUEST,Mr Red
Date: 10 Nov 14 - 01:28 PM

Paganini wrote stuff no one else could play, at the time. Now any violinist worth their salt has to master Old Page Nine (a Gladis Morgan joke). Was he a pop musician of his day? Is he archetypal "classical" now? Was Django's music: gypsy, gypsy-jazz, jazz, or hot club? Or was it uniquely "Django", and do we refer to such riffs precisely that way?

Give it 100 years and Manitas will be either Manitas, Folk, Gypsy or Flamenco. Tick three of the above. When serious musos can do what he did, that is.

Now isn't Flamenco all about self expression? Not running to the whim of non-gypsy? The dancing certainly has that "personalised" approach.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Manitas de Plata, old 'silver fingers'
From: Don Firth
Date: 10 Nov 14 - 01:40 PM

It's amazing the number of people who don't know diddly-squat about a particular subject suddenly become instant experts.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Obit: Manitas de Plata, old 'silver fingers'
From: Will Fly
Date: 10 Nov 14 - 02:03 PM

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?


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Subject: RE: Obit: Manitas de Plata, old 'silver fingers'
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 10 Nov 14 - 02:09 PM

Well, the only way that anybody posting on here knows about Manitas is because he was lionized by those famous music critics Brigitte Bardot, Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, and Jean Cocteau!
The media picked up on that and the next minute he's the greatest thing since sliced bread, and being flown all over the place to appear on the Rolf Harris Show ...and the like!

If you want to hear what a really great player can do with flamenco listen to Paco de Lucia.
On every level, Paco is a far, far greater musician and guitarist than Manitas.
Paco took all sorts of influences and incorporated them into flamenco but without trampling all over the form and the tradition.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Manitas de Plata, old 'silver fingers'
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Nov 14 - 02:40 PM

When I saw Manitas - he had a troupe of flamenco players and dancers with him. i don't recall any of the dancers saying.....ooooer, i can't follow that bit,

go down the carihuela beach round dinner time, you'll see loads of flamenco guitarists in the sun painting their nails till they're hardened like bricks. that night they'll be working -m some in serious tablaos , some in various bastardised versions of flamenco for the tourists.

and will that is exactly what some people are saying here, that he wasn't fit to carry some other guy's guitar case.

okay - so once they read a book about something or other. once again the rule book is being trundled out as an excuse to get rude and snotty.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Manitas de Plata, old 'silver fingers'
From: Don Firth
Date: 10 Nov 14 - 03:00 PM

Al, you're not getting the picture, and you've descended to being insulting.

I've said my say. I've explained the situation and why flamenco aficianados, while admiring his technique, are not that enthralled with him. Take it or leave it.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Obit: Manitas de Plata, old 'silver fingers'
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Nov 14 - 03:29 PM

of course i understand and appreciate that point Don.

my point is that in Spain, there are lots of guitarists playing fast and loose with the flamenco style. i used to love the work of Manuel de Canno - he played guitar and made itsound as big as a cathedral with primitive spring reverb.

either way - the blokes just died. he did nothing that deserves saying he wasn't fit to carry the guitar case of any other artist. it is disrespectful of a great artist's lifetime of endeavour.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Manitas de Plata, old 'silver fingers'
From: Don Firth
Date: 10 Nov 14 - 06:48 PM

Al, that was a bit extreme, but I'm certainly not saying that he wasn't fit to carry the guitar case of any other artist.

By the way, have you ever listened to Paco de Lucia? Or Sabicas? Or Mario Escudero? Or Pepe Romero when he's playing flamenco?

Sabicas has an lp out entitled "Flamenco Puro" which contains real virtuoso flamenco guitar technique while holding strictly to the flamenco forms. Currently available on CD.

Or, for that matter, have you ever listened to a recording of--or seen--a whole flamenco troupe in action? A couple of guitarists, a couple of singers, and several dancers? I have, several times. Another good lp: "Juergo Flamenco."

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Obit: Manitas de Plata, old 'silver fingers'
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Nov 14 - 08:47 PM

i don't get to Spain as often as i used to. my wife's ill health has prevented us from travelling.

but yes i am aware of some of those artists. and yes i knew several artists in the Malaga/Grenada area.

most of them were typical folk musicians - a gig was a gig, and a living had to be made.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Manitas de Plata, old 'silver fingers'
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 11 Nov 14 - 01:11 AM

Gosh, Don, you're the only one of us that knows anything.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Manitas de Plata, old 'silver fingers'
From: Don Firth
Date: 11 Nov 14 - 01:34 AM

Well, apparently.

Anybody else on this thread taken lessons from a flamenco guitarist who actually played with a flamenco dance troupe?

I don't know a helluva lot about the rules of cricket. But flamenco, without having making a lifetime study of it, quite a bit, actually....

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Obit: Manitas de Plata, old 'silver fingers'
From: Don Firth
Date: 11 Nov 14 - 01:38 AM

"...without having made a lifetime study of it...."

Don Firth


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