Mayte Martín, ‘De fuego y de agua’

Martín Guijarro, September 2008

Folk, classical and flamenco are historically connected worlds. That’s how La Argentinita understood it a century ago. And that’s how Mayte Martín understands it today. On the album ‘De fuego y de agua’, she responds to the request by French pianists Katia and Marielle Labèque to provide the vocals for a record inspired in the Spanish. In the end, the cantaora has made the album her own (even with the teamwork). So much so, that she has even written some of the songs.

The rest of the pieces are by Spanish classical composers such as Joaquín Rodrigo, Enrique Granados and Manuel de Falla, plus ‘Canción de amor’ by Paco de Lucía for two pianos, Juan Valderrama’s vidalita and a tango by Carlos Gardel. The one providing the disc with unity - which it has, and a lot of it - is composer and arrangement writer Joan Albert Amargós, an old acquaintance.

‘De fuego y de agua’ emphasizes Mayte Martín’s most intimate and most sentimental side. The cantaora nails the performance and puts it in tune with the Labèques’ prodigious playing, the three of them achieving the right assembly between vocals, piano and lyrics, whether they are Lorca’s or anonymous ones. The fact that it is not just a popular repertoire but rather a familiar one contributes to making it even smoother listening.

And that even happens with the songs by Mayte, at least for those who know her for ‘Querencia’ (2000). The truth is that her strong artistic personality marks the identity of the disc, which projects nearly a single climate throughout its fourteen cuts. Elegance is the prevailing note, besides the absolute simplicity: there’s not even one instrument added to the vocal chords and pianos.

Cultured music doesn’t come knocking on flamenco’s door very often. And this time, promoted from Europe by the Labèque sisters with their own label, KML Recordings, should be congratulated. At this stage, the genre doesn’t need any international endorsements, but it does need signs that it is in the music world... and has been for well over a hundred years.

Further information

Interview with Mayte Martín, cantaora (August 2008)

  CD. Mayte Martín, 'De fuego y de agua'

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Mayte Martín
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"‘De fuego y de agua’ emphasizes Mayte Martín’s most intimate and most sentimental side"

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