5 flamenco guitarists that we recommend listening to
We have compiled a list of 5 flamenco guitarists that we recommend listening to: Paco de Lucía, Vicente Amigo, Manuel Sanlúcar, Pepe Habichuela and Tomatito. They are not the only guitarists who have contributed their talent to the history and evolution of this art, but they are real geniuses of interpretation.
Although in its origin, the only component of flamenco was sing, with time new elements were added that have enriched this art as we know it now. One of these incorporations was that of the guitar, an instrument that joined cante in the early nineteenth century and whose fusion led to the rise of this artistic expression in flamenco shows.
The guitar, in addition to accompanying flamenco singing and dancing, is an instrument that has evolved over time, being in the 70s when it reached its maximum splendor thanks to performers like Paco de Lucía, teacher and reference for many guitarists and artist revered by flamenco lovers.
Although to describe the figure of Paco de Lucía missing qualifiers, has not been the only artist who, guitar in hand, has contributed to the dissemination of this music. If we review the history of the flamenco guitar, we find that there have been many performers who have squandered their talent on stages around the world.
In this article we are going to remember some of these flamenco guitarists, whose talent and dexterity with this instrument places them in the list of the best performers in this artistic facet.
Characteristics of flamenco guitar
The flamenco guitar is one of the many varieties that exists of the classical or Spanish guitar and, although in appearance, it is similar to this one, the flamenco guitar has a series of characteristics, both in its external aspect and in the sound, that the differentiate from the rest: has a brighter and faster and easier execution. Let’s analyze these differences in more detail.
The box is generally narrower than the classical guitar, an aspect that makes it more comfortable and agile when it comes to playing it, something that facilitates the performance of flamenco guitarists.
On the strings we find another of the peculiarities of the flamenco guitar. They are closer to the fretboard, so the guitarist has to do less pressure on it and can concentrate his attention on the hand in charge of strumming.
Another difference of the flamenco guitar lies in the wood with which it is made, which is usually of rosewood, sycamore or cypress for the hoops and the background, while German fir is used for the lid. In addition, the rosette usually has a cape to protect the wood from the rasgueos and blows characteristic of the interpretation of flamenco music.
As for the sound, the flamenco guitar is brighter and more percussive than the classical guitar, which allows it to adapt better to the demands of the flamenco styles.
Recommended flamenco guitarists
Elaborate the list of the best flamenco guitarists is a complicated task because there have been many artists who with their talent have enriched the history of this art. However, we have decided to remember some of these interpreters who, for one reason or another, form part of the collective imaginary and the history of flamenco.
1. Paco de Lucía
They say that Paco de Lucía was everything in this art and is responsible for bringing improvisation to flamenco. He began to play with seven years and managed to give the flamenco guitar the prominence that it has today, separating it from cante.
He formed an artistic couple with Camarón, the most prodigious flamenco voice of all time, with whom he recorded twelve albums. He composed melodies that went around the world and among multiple successes, the Fuente y Caudal works (in which his famous song Entre dos aguas), Siroco and Zyryab stand out.
Tomatito belongs to one of the most important flamenco sagas in Almeria and is the son of the legendary guitarist Niño Miguel. He debuted in front of the public as an artistic couple of Camarón with the album La leyenda del tiempo and from then until the death of the singer, he was at his side.
It has been claimed by flamenco artists of the likes of Enrique Morente, José Mercé, Vicente Soto or Carmen Linares, but has also shared the stage with Frank Sinatra or Elton John, as well as with guitarists like Carles Trepat.
He is a very versatile guitarist and throughout his artistic career, as well as composing, recording and performing flamenco pieces, he has played other musical styles such as jazz or tango.
3. Manolo Sanlúcar
Manolo Sanlúcar is another performer who has taken the flamenco guitar to the top. As a child he began his idyll with this instrument and broke molds with Enrique Morente, before composing his world trilogy and forms of the guitar or leaving for the history of music his work, Tauromagia.
National Music Award, the guitar of Sanlúcar perfectly combined melody and tranquility. An artist who has contributed to the flamenco guitar being even richer in interpretation and musicality.
4. Vicente Amigo
Vicente Amigo is another of the artists who have contributed their work to enrich the flamenco guitar. Student of Manolo Sanlúcar, this performer is a reference for younger guitarists.
He has played solo since 1988 and with his first album De Mi Corazón al Aire he has already won several awards. The artistic career of this flamenco guitarist is full of successes and recognitions, as well as collaborations with the most outstanding figures of music.
He has performed in multiple events such as the International Festival “Legends of the Guitar”, where Bob Dylan, Keith Richards, Paco de Lucía and many others also participated. He has shared stages with Al Di Meola and John Maclaughlin and Stanley Jordan, among others. Vicente Amigo has also been nominated for the Latin Grammy in the category of best flamenco album.
5. Pepe Habichuela
Pepe Habichuela is considered a genius of classical flamenco. He began playing the guitar in the caves of Sacromonte in Granada, where he spent his first years as a tocaor, accompanying cante and baile. He emigrated to the tablaos of Madrid and then luck smiled on him. He has accompanied artists such as Caracol or Valderrama and spent decades with Enrique Morente.
His works include A Mandeli, Habichuela en rama or Yerba Güena, an album with which he managed to fuse flamenco and Indian classical music.
We leave to many other flamenco guitarists who have contributed their talent to magnify this universal art.
And although we have not included them in this list, of course we recommend listening live to the guitarists who participate every night in our flamenco show. Other artists who spread their troll every day on the stage of the Tablao El Palacio Andaluz.