farruquito, baile, flamenco, entrevista
Interview with Lole Montoya,
"Lole and Manuel have made a kind of
that still isn't understood"
Silvia Calado. Jerez, March 2004
Photos: Daniel Muñoz
Lole Montoya is half of that duo which foretold the future of flamenco in
1975, the year when a 'Nuevo día' ('New Day') dawned for Spaniards. Although
they each went their separate ways years ago, the cantaora still keeps the spirit
and Manuel alive. Both in her recitals - unfortunately few and far between
- and on the album which awaits its release, the cantaora vindicates the innovation,
personality and creativity of a group whose school continues to feed. Lole Montoya
keeps on betting on music, on the regard to northern Africa, on messages: "After
'La mariposilla' ('The Little Butterfly') I can't sing just anything; shallowness
doesn't do it for me". And that is what she showed at the recital she offered
at Bodega de los Apóstoles - in the 2004 Jerez Festival - where she set
"the almond tree blossom" free.
The public misses you. Where is Lole?
I've been recording a new album, but it got stopped. It was supposed to come
out in November. We don't know what's going on with the record company EMI. We're
afraid they might end up withdrawing it now that the record companies are paralyzed.
Let us in a bit on the contents of that album.
Of course, you can tell that I come from the Lole and Manuel school. I did
'Nana de la cebolla' ('Onion Lullaby') by Miguel Hernández and lyrics by
other authors. I sing alegrías, slow bulerías, more flamenco bulerías...
With the voices of my daughter Alba Molina and my mother (La Negra) I do a flamenco
Arab song called 'Tercera generación' ('Third Generation'). Along those
lines is also 'Niña hermosa' ('Beautiful Girl').
Are you still exploring the relationship between flamenco and Arab music
that you started in 'Nuevo día'?
Yes. In fact, the first song in my recital is 'Las mil y una noches' ('A Thousand
and One Nights'), which is an Egyptian classical song. 'Niña hermosa' is
Arab but very, very flamenco, like very Andalusian; it goes through tangos. On
the new album there's also the song with strings 'Soledad' ('Solitude'), with
the guitar of Diego de Morao, a very dense song in contents which goes through
bulerías; alegrías played by Manuel; a song in Hebrew played on
a zimbal, a Turkish instrument...
Not only how you sing but what you sing has stood out about you. Do you
go on with your commitment to messages?
The texts are very important to me. I can't sing just anything. Shallowness
doesn't do it for me. "That disconcerting lady, solitude". They're lyrics
by Cuban Rubén Alix. After 'La mariposilla' ('A story for my boy'), I can't
sing just anything. Look, the lyrics in 'Soledad' say: "My vanity is my failure,
that disguise". I blow off vanity.
Looking back now from a distance at the impact of Lole and Manuel, are you
still anxious to burst out, to innovate?
Lole and Manuel set the doors wide open. Flamenco fusion came afterwards. Lole
and Manuel have made a kind of music that still isn't understood. There are thousands
of musical details to be discovered in our repertoire. We brought innovation,
personal creations, we created a school...
How do you weigh up the current scene of new flamenco?
There are things I like more in baile as well as in cante and guitar. I don't
understand some of the rhythms, but they're there. And getting back to Lole and
Manuel... Now I play with other people and I tell myself: "My God, what have
we done?". And I'm willing to learn from anyone. I like how Alejandro Sanz
composes, I like how José
Mercé and La Macanita sing, very gypsy. I'm told: "Your mother
sings better than you; I like her more". And I answer: "So do I".
But she can't sing 'La mariposilla'.
Lole Montoya in concert