Soy flamenco

Flamenco octet concert

Auditorium of Palma de Mallorca, Friday 19th of July at 10pm

Tomatito started his career when we was only twelve years old. He played as Paco de Lucia’s accompanying guitarist, reaching the highest point of his career alongside Camarón de la Isla, accompanying him during the late singer’s last 18 years of life. The master guitarist, and winner of the 2010 Latin Grammy Award for best flamenco album for his Sonata Suite, is going to present in the Auditorium of Palma de Mallorca his latest album Soy Flamenco (I´m Flamenco).



“Flamenco is roots, it’s authentic. It’s the music we offered from Spain to the world”

Your latest album “Soy Flamenco”, is it a reaffirmation of what Tomatito is, a person that lives by and for flamenco, a person dedicated body and soul to his guitar?

It’s not an album reaffirming what I am, it’s just a title. The title for this album is “Soy Flamenco” because I think I produced a flamenco record, especially after recording with the National Orchestra and with Michel Camilo. Nothing more, it has no greater meaning for me.

In “Soy Flamenco” we can find the different flamenco styles of bulerías, soleas, tangos, rondeñas, seguiriyas, rumbas… Is this the most complete album by Tomatito?

Well, it’s the result of what’s coming to me at this time. In the past I did what I had to do, songs that came to me at that time. In the future, if I keep recording, it will be something else. I don’t think too much about those things.

The spirit and the voice of the master Camarón reappear in this album in the songs “El regalo” and “Corre por mis venas”, which was previously recorded in the style of tangos, and now is a bulería. Is this a way to pay tribute to your great friend?

Of course, it’s an opportunity to remember him, and for the Camarón fans to listen to him once more. It’s a gift for our ears and for all the enthusiasts. We must always remember the great genius and master.

What aspects of Tomatito can we find in “Soy Flamenco”?

In this album we can see my romantic aspect, and also that wild aspect that I carry these days, which I show when I’m playing. This album contains a lot of me, of my character and of my personality.

How was the experience of working again with Camarón?

It was wonderful, very emotional. Alongside Paco de Lucía, to once again listen to Camarón, record and enjoy it as if it was his record. When you listen to the bulería it’s like it was his album. His voice, Paco and me playing again, it was a very emotional experience.

In a performance in Seville, when you were playing, suddenly all the audience got up. Camarón had gotten up on the stage, he sat down next to you and started singing without anyone hiring him. When later he was asked why, Camarón said YOU DON’T ALWAYS SING FOR MONEY. Apart from sharing the stage with him during eighteen years, Camarón was your friend, your confidant? You two had an unbreakable bond, didn’t you?

Camarón was very humane and generous. The truth is that he was a genius in every sense of the word.

In “Soy Flamenco” you also have the collaboration of your children Mari Ángeles and José. How was the experience of working with your family?

It’s always extremely pleasant for your little ones to be there. I hope they take it seriously because they’re still very young. They have my full support and I’m delighted to be working with them. Who better than my children, right?

What does it feel like to share the stage with renowned international artists such as Frank Sinatra, Elton John or Michel Camilo?

It was a long time ago, but it was very important for my career. A truly unforgettable experience.

What does flamenco have in order to interact so well with other genres?

Flamenco is a music that, because of its rhythms and of its character, couples very well with other genres. It’s a very rich and lively music style, flamenco is roots, it’s authentic. It’s the music we offered from Spain to the world.

FLAMENCO IS TIME is a festival that just came to life, what do you think about this initiative?

It gives me great pride that flamenco festivals keep being organized in any part of Spain or the world. We have the advantage that this music is praised throughout the world. To me, specially, it brings me great joy that people still listen to flamenco and that it has a place to go, because it’s a very beautiful music. The great musicians of other countries, when they look for inspiration in Spain they go to flamenco music and from there they get all the richness it has.

FLAMENCO IS TIME is a festival financed through private resources, receiving no grant or help whatsoever… What’s your opinion regarding that culture, specifically in this case flamenco art, receives no government subsidies?

I think it’s wrong. In times of crisis it’s important for people to be entertained and have good times. The first thing they did in this country was to cut back on everything related to culture, and culture is what makes a country. With no culture, it’s like… nothing… it’s like a jungle.

Do you think that the flamenco artistry is more regarded in other countries? Outside Spain?

I don’t think so. Spain is a country where we are very aware of what we have. It’s inevitable that maybe in a blacksmith’s house you can find a wooden spoon, but this doesn’t mean that the genre of flamenco isn’t valued in Spain. What is true is that other countries are more experienced in the cultural and musical aspect and they have flamenco in high regard; with this I’m not implying that in Spain we don’t value culture, but considering how things are at this time… Regardless, flamenco is remains very strong in Spain. We have one of the greatest musicians of the world, Paco de Lucía, and he’s a flamenco guitarist.

Flamenco… is it tradition or evolution?

Flamenco is a little bit of both. It’s tradition because its origins are there and we mustn’t forget them. But it’s also evolution because flamenco is a wise music where new things that are worth it are incorporated and those that aren’t are left out. Paco de Lucía introduced the flamenco cajón, which was originally South American, and he brought it from there. And now, there isn’t a single flamenco group that doesn’t play without one. It was proved that this instrument is valuable for flamenco music, and that is why it’s used. If it hadn’t, then it would’ve been cast out.

Is one born flamenco… or made?

I think one is born flamenco, but with time you also have to work on it. When a child is born with that special grace, to dance flamenco for instance, that spark you see in them, it’s like they’re born with that artistry. But this doesn’t mean that later you don’t have to develop that gift with consistency and discipline. I don’t agree with that notion that you’re born with a gift and that’s it, you have to work that gift.

And finally, what would you tell the people that are going to be present at your concert in Palma de Mallorca, July 19th?

I’m very pleased, and it brings me much joy to perform at the Auditorium of Palma de Mallorca. I’m going to have a great time, play what I honorably know and I hope that the audience has a real great time, because that’s truly the greatest satisfaction for an artist.