I remember it as if it was yesterday. It was a few years ago. Maestro Enrique Morente and I were on the high-speed train to Seville, to film Carlos Saura’s film “Flamenco”. I was touched like never before by my friend Enrique. I remember the day we filmed, in a Seville station, as if it was yesterday.
A few weeks earlier, the musical producer, my friend Isidro Muñoz, contacted me and told me that Enrique would be singing Malagueñas for the film. That was the idea and the honour was mine. I was happy to accompany the Maestro in the film. I spent weeks with my guitar, practicing the nicest falsetas (the short melodies played between sung verses) that I could so that my music would be capable of adorning Maestro Enrique’s voice.
The day finally arrived and my fingers knew exactly what they had to do. I was looking forward to it immensely.
But, just when everything was ready to film the Malagueñas, Enrique turned to me and said “Cañi, I know you’ll want to throw me out of the country, but I feel like singing Seguiriyas…”. “But Enrique, I’ve been rehearsing for a Malagueña, but if you’d rather sing a Seguiriya, I’ll do my best”, I answered. The director and the producer unsuccessfully tried to persuade the Maestro, saying “But Enrique, we all agreed that you were going to sing Malagueñas, not Seguiriyas. Everything’s ready”.
But there was no changing the genius’s mind. I had to forget all the falsetas that I had spent so much time rehearsing. I had just one hour to adjust to the new plan and work out some falsetas to accompany the Maestro’s Seguiriya! My brain was working faster than a high-speed train, because I wanted to play well, but to tell you the truth I was also a little annoyed!
To top it all, it was all live. If I were to make a mistake, we would either have to shoot again or my mistake would live on forever. In spite of all the pressure, however, the result was exciting. The Maestro’s voice inspired me so much that I effortlessly produced all the necessary falsetas and melodies. It was so satisfying that, when the filming ended, I couldn’t even remember the music that I had been preparing for the Malagueñas for several weeks.
We went to dinner afterwards and then to a bar with some of Enrique’s friends. After a while the bar was closed so that we could have a flamenco session between just a few of us. I had my guitar with me. There was just Enrique and I and three or four friends. I accompanied him has he sang Bulerías, Tangos, Fandangos, Soleá… and we were really enjoying ourselves when the Maestro suddenly said “Cañi, get ready because I’m going to sing Malagueñas”.
It’s about time, I thought. I accompanied him with the falsetas I had composed at home, especially for the film. Listening to the Maestro’s voice, on distant horizons, floating in the sky, I became submerged in his universe, the Morente Universe. It was tremendously emotive and unrepeatable! Tears came to my eyes and I was paralysed. There came a time when I could simply not continue playing, hypnotised as I was by his voice and his duende. My guitar fell silent, because I was unable to play the chords that the moment demanded. I was completely blocked and needed to compose myself. With his voice at rest, my soul played the falsetas that I had composed just for him. He listened to me with his eyes closed and a smile on his lips, and started to sing again. It was a magical moment. Even as I write this, a tear is falling down my throat, as I struggle not to weep…
After singing the Malagueña, Enrique stood up and said “Cañi, if I’d known that you were going to play like that, I would have sung Malagueñas in the film! Why didn’t you tell me? I think we’ve made a mistake. I should have sung the Malagueñas.”
Maestro Enrique means a lot to me. We have shared a lot of marvellous moments. We were practically family. He taught me a lot about music and a lot about life.
Can you hear me, Maestro? I’m in debt with you, but I’ll pay you when I see you again some day. I owe you the music that I was unable to play when your voice silenced my guitar…
Please don’t leave. I still have music to play with you and experiences to live with you. Thank goodness that I’m mortal and will be able to embrace you eventually. I will always remember those words that you liked to repeat: “It’s a miracle that we are alive”. You are alive, Enrique, and you will always be alive in my heart. I love you, Enrique. Rest in Peace.
Enrique Morente - seguiriyas