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Encarna Anillo
Biography, discography, Audio and readers' comments


"I think that before, the good artist already used to have charisma in himself. Now people have to put on the artist’s mask"

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Encarna Anillo (Photo Daniel Muñoz)

The bulerías ‘No hay tiempo’ are signed by Farruquito...

With that bulería something also happened to me really similar to what occurred with Requena, because Juanito, that bulería... Well, it turned into a bulería, because it was a story told on a sheet of paper which he gave to me as a gift, something really personal. And in time I added music to it, when I was already recording at the studio. I turned it into bulerías as a couplet. He’d heard me do “soy una de esas tontas” and he got it from there. I hadn’t intended to do a song of his, he wanted to stick in footwork and in the end, I called up his brother. He’s there but not dancing, but rather in that way.

The bulería also contrasts with the alegrías; one is unaccompanied while the other is a fiesta, isn’t that right?

There’s a bulería with Diego de Morao on guitar, in which there are lyrics by Juan Requena, by my brother and by Miguel Poveda. I wanted that bulería, which is called ‘Dulce veneno’, to sound like a gathering of friends in which we were having a good time. I wanted Miguel’s collaboration and I wanted it to be por bulerías, for the two of us to have a good time. I didn’t want to be with him in a really tight collaboration, which doesn’t suit me. For him to do the lyrics he wanted, with total freedom. And the chorus at the end has lyrics by my brother Jose, which we handed intended to do as a chorus, but that’s how it came out as we went along.

It has the sensation of a live studio recording …

I did the lyrics so that Diego would do the guitars for me, but they got done that day because he shaped it. The kids stuck in the clapping and cheering and it got done that same day, Miguel’s lyrics also got done, Londro’s stuff... And I left the next day because I was exhausted. I wanted to live that day for myself, not to release energy but rather to receive. I wanted to enjoy that day, receive all the energy and the following day go and release it myself. The next day Farru went to record the footwork and we stayed up until the wee hours of the morning. That was recorded in La Alameda de Hércules, in Seville. A real party got started. There were so many people at the studio. That’s how that bulería has turned out, which is to finish and go out and get drunk.

Encarna Anillo (Photo Daniel Muñoz)

And there’s a third different bulería, ‘Homenaje a La Perla’.

That bulería is beaten out with knuckles on the table and with me alone, which is the bulería in which I feel myself the most, the one which is mine the most. Miguel’s is for sharing it with him and with everyone partying, Farruquito’s is something really special, but the way I feel por bulerías is singing like La Perla, that way, without a guitar or anything, like when old people used to shut themselves in to listen to one another. It was also achieved. I’ve been listening to La Perla since I was a little girl, but to record I plunged in all the way; I spent four days listening to her for twenty-four hours, to get into the stuff there, with Morao, with Parrilla. I like singing por bulerías so much… and bulerías from Cádiz, with that lightness, with that so light thing of ours. My father’s grandmother used to dance por bulerías really well. She was a good friend of Los Jinetos, of Los Villar, and here dancing is done with a lot of little hops, really lightly. I had that; when I got to the studio I was carrying all of that energy inside of me. I laid down a board there and they sat around me to mark the beat for me. They started marking the beat for me the way it’s done nowadays and I said “no, I want it like this”. Everyone picked up the vibes and I got ready and said “now”. And it got done on the first try, intact, in one go. That’s the bulería which fills me the most. I also could have chosen to pay tribute to Adela la Chaqueta; I’ve always sung a lot of things by her.

What women, what artists, what people …

"You have to show interest in the work left by others if you truly like this"

A huge artist I’ve also followed. She had an unbelievable personality for everything. And charisma; the kind of person you have no choice but to look at. And just a meter and a half tall. I think that before, the good artist already used to have charisma in himself. Now people have to put on the artist’s mask. And that’s not the way it is, because you can go in pyjamas and be an artist just the same and have art. You can tell who has art, paints, sings, dances, plays or makes furniture, whatever he does. Camarón went around dressed the way people dressed in San Fernando; we’ve seen him millions of times already in bad shape wearing a tracksuit, and everybody had to look at him. It isn’t about wearing Armani or anything like that; it’s about the person, about what’s coming out of the pores of his skin. Either you have it or you don’t. What happens to Estrella Morente? She’s had it since birth; if she puts on pyjamas, you have to look at her and say how beautiful. I love that.

With ‘Tangos del olivo’ you pay tribute to another woman, Carmen Montoya...

I’ve liked the Montoya family a lot since I was a little girl, listening, watching videos. And I’ve always really liked the tangos on the album ‘Yo soy agua’: what nice lyrics, what nice intentions, how Carmen’s voice sounds... And I had to sing them for the album. I couldn’t see myself doing a song, a tanguito, a rumbita. No, no, some proper tangos. And out of the friendship joining me to that family and to her daughter Carmelilla, it was also a tribute to Carmen Montoya because nobody remembers that woman. Everyone remembers La Negra, her sister-in-law, but she’s been gradually lost. You can like her more or less, but she’s a huge artist. Since that filled me, what better tribute could there be than to record the same thing that she did, but twenty-four years later. And on top of it, having her with me at the studio, cheering me and the three of us doing the choruses. It was a gift she gave to me and I gave to her. She can’t even listen to them because she breaks down and cries; she doesn’t know how to thank me for it... and I insist that it’s an honor for me. And it’s a matter of recalling that work which has been there for so many years. You have to show interest in the work left by others if you truly like this; you have to investigate, listen, get information... And not talk about an album after having just listened to one song. On my album there are just two new songs and sets of lyrics. The rest is folk with my adaptation; it’s all been done already. The difference lies in the information each one has managed to take on. You can’t settle for the gift you’ve been given.

Encarna Anillo and Juan Diego (Photo Daniel Muñoz)

The soleá has a really vintage guitar; that of Rafael Rodríguez…

I consider cante por soleá as one of the hardest ones. It’s taken me a long time to find myself por soleá. But soleá, soleá, not soleá por bulerías, which is another world. The soleá, no matter what style it is, is a cante really thrown back and really about troubles, really about guts... just like the seguiriya. The thing is that the seguiriya has much more open times; the soleá is always more measured-out. But if you’re not truly singing soleá, you’re never going to find yourself por soleá because it’s a very big cante, just like fandango, which is where soleá comes from. Cantes from so deep inside that when I heard that guitar por soleá by Rafael Rodríguez, my soul shriveled up. And from the first day on I was really sure that if I recorded a soleá, he was going to accompany me. That man with the nut at ten, he did eight takes because he thought he was coming to do an outline for another guitarist... When my brother told him that he was going to play, he couldn’t believe it. It was the first time that man had been in a recording studio to do something by himself! It’s really shocking. Another person that some people haven’t noticed after spending a lifetime at Los Gallos, with Milagros Mengíbar, playing for cante, playing for baile... The thing is that singing por soleá, I wanted to hear guitar like when you play Juan Varea and those guitars by Melchor de Marchena, by Ramón Montoya... Oh, you go to another era. There, I was going to find myself singing por soleá.

And how does the milonga ‘Si llegara a suceder’ come to you?

The milonga is very special, it has a story, too... I began listening to the one by Chacón in Japan with Miguel Poveda and Israel Galván in the hotel room. We’re always involved in listening, we always have cantaores in the background. Israel stuck it in the show we were doing there with Kojima. And from then on I started getting information, listening. After some time, Andrés Marín called me up for the premiere of ‘Asimetrías’ at Seville’s Bienal and he’d put together a milonga by Marchena. The only thing I needed was to listen to Marchena por milonga, since I’d been searching and I hadn’t managed to find that record. I learned the two milongas and I was really certain; those two plus the one by Chacón would be the milonga on my album. I worked on it with Requena and my brother commented to me that if we stuck in some strings it would turn out lovely. We called up Miguel, it sounded great to him, I asked for Olvido Lanza on violin, who knocks me out with the feeling she has, and since both of them are friends of hers, she was delighted to come. The arrangements were done by Enric Palomar. When he told us he wanted to do them, we flipped out. She, moreover, suggested Lito Iglesias on contrabass, who I love... It was one present after another.

With all that Marchena has been criticized...

"Each cante has its door and if you open one for this cante, you have to close it for another and open another door; its door"

And I love Marchena. You have to be very bold to do what that man does. He’ll crack his voice a lot and all, but he knocks me out because he sings really well and he stands my hair up on end. Just like Borrico por seguiriyas and Juan Varea por soleá and Manuel Torre and Tomás... Everyone has something. Now, if you just want to like one thing, you can’t listen to anything else but that. If you just like cracked voices, go to the cantaores who have them. There are cantaores who have another music box, each one has a different register, but it’s really hard; each one is a world. The nice thing is that you can never perform a milonga as a cante por soleá with a really broad, booming voice. The milonga is something very sensitive, very delicate, very subtle, very uttered, very romantic, very intimate... just like the vidalita or the malagueña. They’re very close-up cantes, very personal. Each cante requires its technique, too. Each cante has its door and if you open one for this cante, you have to close it for another and open another door; its door. If you do the fandango by El Gloria it has nothing to do with a fandango caracolero or a fandango by Macandé with one by Alosno, which you need to have huge power for in order to perform. Each cante has its feature and its door. Nobody has any reason to do a milonga speedily and with lyrical vocals because they don’t, because Rancapino sings for you por malagueñas with a short, cracked voice which sounds like it’s going to be stifled and he sings it for you with a palate and good taste… There are a lot of confused cantaores. You can be very wild singing por seguiriyas but you can’t show me the same thing as in a serrana. No, each cante has its thing. And besides, they make you learn as you go along. With each cante, I’ve discovered registers I didn’t know I had, tessituras in my voice and in my throat which I hadn’t experienced before. You learn from your throat with each cante. When you start discovering yourself in new melodies, you flip out. Then later on, I try and take it to my ground and feel it inside, perform it in the way I’ve felt it, with all my respect and of course, without any intention of imitating. And I think everyone has all that variety of registers. When you have to split, don’t worry that you have to split, since you aren’t ready to split anywhere else. If it comes from the heart, one thing’s going to come out after another for you.

Does the same thing happen to you as Carmen Linares, who says each guitarist brings out something different in her?

Always. In time, I’ve stuck to my guitarists. I’ve worked with many and each one gives you something different. If you reach a point where you can choose for an album, that’s good luck. But it’s necessary for a cantaor to have his guitarists because you need personal and professional feeling. I have a connection with every guitarist who’s on the album: Chicuelo, Diego de Morao, Juan Requena, Juan Diego... And the same thing happened to me afterwards with José Manuel León. They’re presents life gives to you as you go along.

Encarna Anillo with Carmen Linares (Photo Daniel Muñoz)

And you didn’t want to stick in hardly any other instrumentation on the album…

No, just guitar, vocals and clapping. The only thing arrangements were done for was the milonga. Not the rest because due to the type of album it is, it doesn’t need it. It’s flamenco, classical cante, and it’s always been guitar, clapping and vocals.

What mirror do you look at yourself in for the malagueña ‘Haciendo por olvidarte’?

When I began singing por malagueñas, I did the one from my native land, the one by El Mellizo. And I’d really worn it out. When I started learning the different styles of malagueñas there are and I listened to Carmen singing the malagueña by La Trini on her ‘Antología. La mujer en el cante’, my soul tossed and turned. That woman’s so strong. Where does it take you? And I was sure that the day I did a malagueña it was going to be that one because it’s the one I feel the most. I’ve tried the one by El Canario, the one by Chacón, the one by Mellizo, the one by Juan Breva... but for the album the one I wanted was that one with the verdial which I heard Bernardo el de los Lobitos do, which I sang a long time ago for Rafaela Carrasco in a show and I loved it. I was learning a mariana by him and on that same album, in the anthology, there was that verdial which is what got through to me; it’s very mighty.

And in the end, the zambra ‘Carta de una Salvaora’...

I knew I wanted to record a zambra but I didn’t know which one. I’ve listened to every zambra by Caracol and by La Paquera. The ones by La Paquera never won me over to see myself in that role. And all the ones by Caracol won me over, but they all spoke to women. I’ve never had the ability to change the lyrics myself. So I left the zambra for the end because it was one of the most special songs, because my brother and I grew up listening to Caracol with my grandfather. That’s why I chose my brother as the special guest singing the zambra. And he called me up one night telling me he’d written a zambra. He’d been listening to ‘La Salvaora’ by Caracol and he put himself in her shoes, and she tells the story of what Caracol has sung to her all his life. So I was able to carry it out like that. It’s called ‘Carta de una Salvaora’ and my brother plays Caracol’s role, and I play that of the woman he sang to all his life. And that wasn’t planned or anything. We were there with the zambra like the card up our sleeve; it was there but we didn’t know how we were going to play it. And in the end it was much more special, composed by my brother, he did the music with Juan Diego, and he also did the lyrics with two or three changes by Javier Blanco, a poet who lives in Los Caños and my brother called him up for him to check them and see the rhymes. The zambra came out in one evening. The album was finished with that song.

What role did Miguel Poveda have on this album? It isn’t usual for an artist to provide financial backing for a colleague’s work.

The role played by Miguel stemmed from friendship, from the enthusiasm he has for the art form. Without any ego whatsoever, nor did he get involved in something which wasn’t going to benefit him; he’s a very intelligent and very good person. He knew he was going to enjoy himself and that it was going to be worth his while personally and professionally. We’ve worked a lot together and he knows that as an artist I always take on a great responsibility on my part; he was sure of it, he was going to be at ease. He led me by the hand to the first studio with all his heart and it’s a very big gift he’s given me. Then because of his life he lost contact a little bit with the album, but he didn’t want to leave it. He chose executive production to be inside the album, since the truth is that he was the only one of us able to take on the expenses. And the musical responsibility, since there were so many leaps in time, went to my brother José Anillo, knowing it rested on a good professional.

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More information

The record company Flamenco World Music premieres with cantaora Encarna Anillo and guitarist Jesús Torres

Festival de Jerez 2008. 'Flamenco World Music', Jesús Torres, Encarna Anillo & David Lagos. Review, photos and videos

Interview with Encarna Anillo, cantaora (August 2006)

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