Capullo de Jerez, flamenco cantaor.
“A lot of things
are called flamenco
now which really aren’t”
Silvia Calado. Madrid, September 2006
de Jerez is ready to make it big. None other than Paco
de Lucía has offered to take part on his upcoming album
with some bulerías and tangos. It’s all a question
of mutual admiration. The Jerez-born cantaor has spent all
year combining performances with recording the new album.
He says there’ll be flamenco for the young and old alike.
And of course, the long-awaited lyrics all his own, whether
they are fresh everyday ones or critical ones with a message.
If he is asked to analyze today’s cante scene, he doesn’t
get involved: “I mind my own business”. Though
he recognizes there are more craftsmen than artists. And it’s
like Capullo de Jerez says: “Flamenco jokes around a
apullo de Jerez was surrounded by huge microphones
following the press conference of Cumbre
Flamenca Metro de Madrid 2006. And one journalist asked
what he intended to sing...
I do what people ask me for. I always play it by ear. I’m
singing and any old song comes to mind, because I get inspired
really fast... And the fans in Madrid really love me; they
give me a really good response.
And now without any radio or TV reporters, we’re
alone with the Jerez-born cantaor to find out about his new
Right now we’re doing the summer festivals; Ronda,
Lebrija... a lot of towns in Andalusia. And then when the
galas finish in September, I’ll get down to finishing
the album — all I have are three more songs to do. I’ve
recorded everything in Madrid and I’ll record what’s
left in Ubrique with Pepe, where I did the first album, ‘Este
soy yo’. It might be released by Paco (de Lucía).
How did that collaboration with Paco
de Lucía come about?
Because I’ve known Paco for many years. I’ve
been an admirer of his since I was a boy. And the other way
around... I’ll tell ’ya. He’s great to me.
The thing is I’ve been singing since I was twelve years
old. I came to Madrid, worked at Los Canasteros... And in
the Himno de Andalucía (a not-for-purchase commemorative
recording in which many flamencos did new versions of the
song by Blas Infante) Paco played the bulería
for me. And since I was tied up with my album, I asked him
if he could stick in some tune for me. He said yes. And I’m
really happy. Let’s see if I make it big once and for
What’s he going to play?
Some bulerías and tangos.
Are there any new lyrics of yours?
Of course. There are some really nice lyrics. There are some
about a pair of jeans. Ha ha ha. How does it go, Miguel? “She’s
got a fascinating body, when she lifts her arms and wiggles
her waist, with those slender jeans, they look great on you,
girl” (he sings softly).
Flamenco’s lyrics need to be brought up-to-date,
Yeah, of course. Different things have to be done carrying
the rhythm, soniquete... If you have soniquete, you can sing
whatever you want. The cante’s there and the flamenco’s
there, but they’re evolving more and more.
Capullo de Jerez and Niño
(Photo: Daniel Muñoz)
You also like critical lyrics with a message...
I’ve got a commemoration of the attack in Madrid, a
really nice tune por tangos, which doesn’t say anything;
it just talks about freedom, about how we should all be equal.
Flamenco has always reflected its own troubles. Not anymore
because everyone more or less has work. Right now I feel really
good; I really feel like working.
What other musicians take part on the album?
Rubichi on box drum, Manolito Jero, Luis de Periquín,
Nono and Bo. And I want Manolo Nieto to come and play electric
bass in a rumba I’m going to put together with drums,
too. I want to make an album for old people and for young
people, to give everyone a little something.
You’ve always been a cantaor really in touch
with young people...
And with kids! The kids go crazy. Everywhere I go, “Daddy,
Daddy, look at El Capullo”. Ha ha ha. I’ve got
charisma for little kids, which is far out. I really identify
with young people. And I get them to identify with flamenco
through my lyrics. Though if you sing in Lebrija and you have
to do stuff by Antonio
Mairena, then you do it. Artists have to react according
to the audience. Imagine, I even sang at Espárrago.
There, partying, punks, leaps... You had to party it up. What
young people really want is partying, flamenco... but partying
it up. You start singing por seguiriyas and they might like
a few lines of lyrics, but if you spend half an hour singing
por seguiriyas people leave; they don’t listen to you.
How do you size up today’s cante flamenco scene?
Do you see any young people with possibilities in Jerez?
People come out, stop coming out, the ones who’ve come
out will start to go down... This is like anything else. If
you go along letting people know, they’ll realize what
flamenco is. A lot of things are called flamenco now which
really aren’t. Flamenco jokes around a lot. And you
only see that at the festivals. I’ve participated in
a lot of them with flamenco’s best. As you go along,
the artists comment on each other. I go to work and I come
out and sing and don’t worry about the others. I mind
my own business and that’s it. There are young people
singing in Jerez, but this is like anything else. It even
happens in soccer, which has had eras with really good players
and other eras when no stars come out. And there’s work
in flamenco, but few good people.