Del amanecer, José Mercé. Diseño: Jennifer Ancízar / Magazine AM:PM.
Del amanecer, José Mercé. Diseño: Jennifer Ancízar / Magazine AM:PM.

The Scratched Record: Del Amanecer

6 minutes / Carlos M. Mérida

01.10.2020 / Worn-out record,  Reviews

A flamenco mutation almost 20 years before Rosalía; from within, from the very gypsy nobility. Perhaps what the one from Barcelona is doing today (not with flamenco, because she hasn't done anything to flamenco, as many believe, rather flamenco does to her) would not have been possible if one day José Mercé had done another thing instead of calling Vicente Amigo and Carles Benavent. I say this because of the mass phenomenon that this 1998 album represented, making the album from Jerez de la Frontera a best-selling artist not only in the genre field.

So it happened to me. I stumbled upon the album casually. I was crouched in a motley CD that I inherited from my friend in Miami when it came out in 2008. A rock CD, basically (I remember, to give you an idea, that there was the Matando Güeros de Brujería, the Chicano band), where at It seems that there was plenty of space at the time of the burning and its owner, future listener, decided to enrich his musical culture and ask the owner of the computer if he had any flamenco. He searched his 20 gigs of music, which at that time you thought you were Zero Freitas, and the closest thing he found was Fito & Fitipaldis, the first Melendi and —one of three— Del Amanecer.

Así me ocurrió. Tropecé con el álbum casualmente. Estaba agazapado en un CD variopinto que heredé a mi amigo de Miami cuando se largó en 2008. Un CD de rock, básicamente (recuerdo, para que tengan una idea, que allí estaba el Matando Güeros de Brujería, la banda chicana), donde al parecer había sobrado espacio a la hora de la quema y a su propietario, futuro escucha, le dio por enriquecer su cultura musical y preguntar al dueño de la computadora si tenía algo de flamenco. Este buscó en sus 20 gigas de música, que en aquel momento con eso te creías Zero Freitas, y lo más cercano que encontró fue Fito & Fitipaldis, el primer Melendi y —uno de tres— Del Amanecer.

I think it was fortunate to get into the genre here first, because then taking the blow to special people like Camarón becomes a more padded process. Camarón cost me. I had to listen to him several times, pay him differentiated and conscious attention before the first tingles appeared. Maybe if I hadn't heard this album before, I would have just given up.

Do not believe anyone who tells you that in art (in a broad sense) things either hook you the first time or they do not hook you, that you strive to make something like you (now because it is a classic, or because someone you care about you admire, or, as almost always happens, because a select cool minority you want to belong to has legitimized it) it is a superficial and frivolous act, like when we tried to smoke as teenagers even though we did not like the taste of the cigar. Who says that does it from his own, overwhelming, bourgeois, mediocre and believing superficiality. Those are the same ones who presume —as if it were something to brag about— of having cried when they first read “Slow is the mule. His mission does not feel ”, a phrase that, thanks to the upset spirits of these people, seems to be the only thing poor Lezama said. Don't be intimidated by those shits. Do not settle. Fake with the difficult, whenever you see there, minimally, some gesture that triggers your voracities. Delete phrases like this from your mechanism of cultural appropriation: “elite art” or “music for musicians”. (I heard the latter recently in a television material of José María Vitier, when he spoke, proud, of what he wanted to achieve with a certain album of his. Anyone will miss a phrase, but, truthfully, you have to reach a point of tremendous aristocratic bragging to remain so enthusiastic and then not ask someone related to the production to edit that part). The worst thing that can happen by persisting in that you like something is that, ultimately, you don't like it, and in that case nothing happens, you will be in the same place where you started.

Del Amanecer sounds fantastic, very balanced; the clapping, the guitar, the backing vocals, the voice, the percussion, the bass by Carles Benavent that I never tire of praising. It doesn't have much, but what it does have can easily be squared, scanned, and superimposed back into the whole, an auditory maneuver that is sometimes very difficult to perform when the sound space is saturated and one cannot make out anything in the haze. That is a long way from happening in this registry.

I like all the themes. Those who laugh and those who cry, those who say "spring is here" and those who demand a "serenity that I seek and cannot find." Everything is done well here; it is sung, played and written. It is always advisable not to try to repeat the experience in the shower, because there is nothing more pathetic than the lay emulations of cante, and the neighbors could get scared. Listen to yourself, grieve, drown the desire to go live in Cádiz or open a tablao in Centro Habana, but above all go to the eighth track, to the heartbroken guitar of Vicente Amigo and to the true complaint of José Mercé when he says: “Sendero of my hope / There are days that I can't find it / Path of my hope / made of coal and sighs / soleá that gets tired in me, oh / and crazy I retire ”.

Carlos M. Mérida

Oidor. Coleccionista sin espacio. Leguleyo. Temeroso de las abejas y de los vientos huracanados.

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