Sordera and Family in Conversation

Web original  London, 1999, 3,000 words; extracts  


That's how I learned the full range of cante. It took me seven or eight years. I needed to work flat out to feed the seven children. When Vicente was seven I went to Madrid. Thanks be to God, I found good work. I opened Los Canasteros, Café de Chinitas and El Patio de Reyes.  When the children began to work then I could afford to concentrate on doing recitals.

V: Which was the best tablao from a cantaor's point of view?

Sordera: Caracol's was the best because of the atmosphere and the artists who performed there. Caracol would sing once a week with Arturo [Pavón] on the piano. That was something to hear.

Vicente: Caracol had a temperament, like many gifted people. I began playing guitar in his tablao when I was 13 or 14.  That’s how I began, as an accompanist.

Manuel: Caracol would make me go on and sing just before him.

Sordera Chico: He was a singer with a lot of personality and he liked to hear good cante before he went on - it would bring him alive and then he’d come in on that.


V: Vicente, the sound on your album Entre Dos Mundos is very contemporary although it also respects the flamenco canons.

Sordera: You have to respect the rhythms and sense of the song-styles. That means each song is hermetic, with its own strength. It's like building on rock.

V: How was the record produced? It's a mosaic with so many different elements and musicians - was it difficult to pull them together?

Vicente: We were in the studio for three months, but by that time I'd written the music for each song on the guitar at home. I’ve recorded before with Enrique de Melchor and Moraíto, who play on the album, and with Sorderita, my younger brother, who co-produced. That made things much easier. We'd arrange each song as we went along in the studio.The emphasis on rhythm and melody in different tracks was deliberate, but it came from my brother, who's more of a musician. I'm more orthodox and can miss those things.

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