Enrique Morente. La voz libre

‘La voz libre’, the new biography of cantaor
flamenco Enrique Morente, comes out

The book by Balbino Gutiérrez synthesizes his forty-year career as an artist

Silvia Calado. Madrid, May 29th, 2006

Such was the leap in Enrique Morente’s artistic career as a result of ‘Omega’ that his biographer, Granada-born writer Balbino Gutiérrez, found himself obliged to rewrite and update ‘La voz libre’. Ten years after the first edition, “a new book” comes out which culminates in Enrique Morente’s performance with the New York group Sonic Youth in Valencia. A deep biography, hundreds of journalistic references, interviews, comments by other artists surrounding him, lyrics to the cantes… make up the contents of this book which was presented at the Madrid headquarters of the General Society of Spanish Authors (SGAE) on May 29th, in the presence of the author, filmmaker Carlos Saura and the cantaor of ‘La voz libre’.

With the promise of “reading the book this very week” and recognizing how exciting the act was, Enrique Morente burst into the presentation of his second biography, ‘La voz libre’. And the thing is that he justified his delay in reaching the SGAE’s jam-packed hall by blaming Ramón el Portugués. In front of colleagues such as Carmen Linares and Juan Habichuela, the Granada-born cantaor uttered words more for flamenco than for himself. Not without first recalling the shooting of ‘Flamenco’, where he endeavored to sing a seguiriya instead of the malagueña that Isidro Muñoz had in the script, he alerted of the troubles cante faces to make its way in the world. “But I’d rather we were lesser known and more loved”, he judged. And he pointed out that “the important thing is for creation not to stop, since flamenco is kept standing by professionals who study to be able to create”.

Click the image to enlarge:
 2006 edition
Frames from “Enrique Morente: La voz libre”

Carlos Saura devoted his turn to speak to underlining the parallelisms between his biography as an artist and that of Morente: “I see my own reflection in his life, especially during the period following the Spanish Civil War, in the desire to soak things up from the maestros, in knowing how to learn from the critics’ incomprehension”. And remembering the two shootings with the cantaor – ‘Flamenco’ and ‘Iberia’ – he admitted that “he makes me cry when I see him and I hear him, since I like his so extreme sensitivity, which makes you feel swept off your feet”.

Balbino Gutiérrez made a show, above all, of humility in the presentation of his book: “I don’t know if what I’ve done is up to the level of someone who’s already gone down in history”. And he spoke of the ins and outs of the three hundred new pages feeding on interviews with Enrique Morente himself and those surrounding him, hundreds of clippings from the print and digital press, lyrics to the cantes, discography and photographs by several authors in black-and-white prints. Moreover, he dropped the hint that as he is “a personage who’s still alive, very much alive, there might be a third book”.

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