El Mito de la Caverna
2018 JMC Music Productions
As a metaphor, Platon’s Allegory of the Cave accurately expresses my feelings and attitude about the writing of flamenco music. Since I was a child, I have always felt that my musical experiences lie across two pillars: flamenco tradition, on the one hand, and study-driven musical theory, on the other.
Flamenco was always present when I was growing up; it is there in my earliest memories: my parents sang, my brother played the guitar… it was something natural, almost instinctive, like breathing; a feeling that was always there in the family and our environment.
Following the Platonic metaphor, Flamenco tradition taught me the language of shadows in the cave: that tenuous light, those mysterious sounds, which reached me as they floated down the river of tradition. A very rich language, expressive and deep, which became an irreplaceable inspiration for me. Years later, with the academic discipline of the conservatoire, I learned musical theory, what we can call, in the terms of our metaphor, the light of the sun: an intellectual perception that allowed me to travel in to a different musical world. There is little doubt that the incomparable experience of transcribing and interpreting works by such masters as Albéniz, Falla, Granados and Scarlatti has broadened and enriched my musical vision.
In this way, when I am writing flamenco music, I always experience a sort of internal struggle to balance these two languages, these two worlds. Musical theory, as intense sunlight, sheds its bright light upon the musical universe, but I feel that I should filter it bringing in parts of this world of shadow, in case the tenuous light of the cave is distorted and its characteristic context disfigured.
This constant quest for balance between the classical light and the chiaroscuro of flamenco is an act of respect, a heartfelt tribute to my roots, to the tradition I come from. I am firmly committed to fusing inspiration and knowledge in an attempt to make this wonderful music that is flamenco even richer, while making sure that its essence is left intact, and that it remains recognisable to other flamenco musicians as much as it is to me.
In this album, I have tried to illustrate this balance between light and shadow, and I hope that the speakers of both languages, classical and flamenco, or of any other musical language, for that matter, will enjoy the outcome.
Juan Manuel Cañizares