“It's hard for me to create. And now that I've coughed up everything I had in me since I began playing, I've got nothing left”



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In 2004 you did recordings with José Mercé, Niña Pastori, Montse Cortés, La Tana, Potito... You can't complain about work, can you?

Now I'm doing just fine. I'm a bit of a bore (he jokes). I'm very happy to have been able to work with all those artists. We'll see where I get more flourishes from now. The truth is that producer Javier Limón is showing a lot of confidence in me and that's good. If things keep going this way, I'm going to have to raise my fees (he laughs). I also owe a lot to Isidro Sanlúcar because he's given me a lot of confidence and he himself has also had confidence in me. He's given me very important productions.

Diego del Morao with Montse Cortés (Photo: Daniel Muñoz)

A few days ago you were in Madrid recording La Tana's album. You were able to work with someone very special to you there, if I'm not mistaken.

I've had the chance to be with maestro Paco de Lucía. Javier Limón told me he'd heard a bulería of mine and he'd liked it. Then he decided that I'd be the guitarist to produce La Tana's album. The truth is that having worked beside the maestro was incredible. I didn't get used to seeing him, even though I spent all day with him at the studio. He pierces you just with his regard. His regard is that of a genius. The experience I had was unforgettable. We shared the music, we put together things between the two of us. He even made me sing to do some choruses of reference. He taught me something new every day. Being with him, you learn as a person and as a musician. This has been a privilege life's given me. Christmas came twice for me. I'm never going to forget this in all my life.

Is it complicated for you to accompany so many artists?

You always have to go with your colors, with your way of playing. If they call you, it's because they want to hear that guitar. The artist calling you is seeking that material, that music. Nevertheless, it's a very big responsibility every time you're called to record, with there being so many guitarists. You have to focus on your work and listen to it to know where it's going to go. But as I said, always keeping up your trademark, your toque.

With so much work, do you have time to go on studying?

Not really. It's hard for me to create. And now that I've coughed up everything I had in me since I began playing, I've got nothing left. That's what worries me the most right now. I have to create new things in order not to get bogged down.

Was 2004 your year?

I played on some important albums, but we have to keep on creating. It was an important year for me because I played with artists I used to listen to when I was little. Three years ago I was buying albums by the artists I'm now playing with and doing very important collaborations with. It's not a track or two but rather half an album, or even an entire album. But you have to keep on creating. It's going to be harder from now on. You set your sights higher and higher and there's greater responsibility.

"I'd have loved to accompany Terremoto or to have played a bit of bulerías for Camarón"

Do you have any idol in flamenco?

I really like Terremoto. I also like Camarón and Paco de Lucía. It's a sin for those in our generation to deny that we like these two great artists. I love the album ‘Canta Jerez’. I like Sordera, Borrico... I'd have loved to accompany Terremoto or to have played a bit of bulerías for Camarón.

Who have you enjoyed accompanying most?

It's hard to say. They're moments. And the artists I like are precisely those who have their moments. For example, at the latest Bienal when I accompanied El Torta, I really enjoyed myself. He nearly made me cry. As soon as I'd gotten off stage, I called my father to tell him about it. El Torta got something across to me that nobody had ever done before. I got emotional on stage, a place where your very nerves hinder those feelings from appearing. I also enjoyed myself a lot with José Mercé. There were a couple of times that my father couldn't go and I had the privilege of accompanying him at a theater in Valladolid. My hands trembled there. With Niña Pastori, Montse Cortés, Diego Carrasco, El Cigala... there are a lot of moments. The truth is that I really enjoy myself with everyone I accompany.

You're young; how do you size up today's guitar scene?

We have to worry about playing seguiriya or soleá the way it used to be played before. Flamencura is being lost a little. That doesn't mean playing more flamenco is strumming or the way playing was done twenty years ago. Diego Carrasco insists a lot on that. Playing flamenco doesn't mean playing like Manuel Parrilla. You have to know how to get that flavor out of it and not lose the roots. You have to play with the harmonies there are at this time. Guitar is now at unsuspected, incredible limits. I think very little strumming is done nowadays.

Diego del Morao with Niña Pastori (Photo: Daniel Muñoz)

Do you think excessive technique and virtuosity work against artists?

Not at all. Nothing in excess is good (he laughs). One of the things this profession has taught me is that you have to study a lot of harmony and technique in order to capture it later in your way and your air. A picture can't be done with three brushstrokes no matter how good the painter is. You have to reach a moderate point. The more you study, the better. Obviously the more hours you spend on the guitar, the more you can get out of it.

Is guitar the most self-sacrificing aspect of flamenco?

Guitarists are usually all very paranoid; they're always worried. Guitar makes you anxious. It's really hard for me to study, but you have to do it. You have to make the self-sacrifice and learn because that's what's going to bring you a great deal of satisfaction. A musician who's obliged to create always has that restlessness, those nerves. If a flamenco guitarist doesn't create, he doesn't say anything.

"Guitarists are usually all very paranoid; they're always worried. Guitar makes you anxious"

What do you have that your father doesn't and what does your father have that you don't?

Having been born in different periods provides a different vision. I see flamenco a way that he doesn't, and vice versa. I'd point out my father's cleanness and clarity when performing strumming. His way of accompanying through soleá, the arpeggios. He plays a very well-rounded way.

Do you think young people are moving along too fast?

Experience gives you position. I don't really know if they're moving along too fast or not. What's clear is that we have to stop and listen and see that the roots are there. You shouldn't move forward out of control.

Is it time to make an album?

I think so. You have to study and bring out new things because nearly everything's been recorded. The sooner I make an album, the sooner I'll have the restlessness to create new things. Once you've recorded something you then have to worry about seeking different things. The truth is that I'm very excited. There are already some projects out there. I might possibly record something this year.

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More information:

Interview with Moraíto Chico, guitarist (October 2000)

Niña Pastori. Presentation of ‘No hay quinto malo’

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