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Diego del Gastor
Photo © Bill Davidson


El Toque de Morón

a quote from Raul Rodriguez

...from Carl Nagin: Here is a quote from guitarist Raul Rodriguez, born in Sevilla, some six months after Diego's death, son of the pop singer Martirio and leader of the contemporary flamenco group Son de la Frontera. Rodriguez actually spent time in Morón with Diego's nephew Dieguito and his relatives. This assessment cuts to the core of what defines Morón toque, in a way that goes beyond the rather pedantic flamencoloco discussions of which falseta came from which brother or teacher or precursor of Diego.

For me, the guitar of Morón de la Frontera, and more specifically the guitar of Diego del Gastor, is a school in which the old and the contemporary styles of playing are conceptually united. It is a concept of total music. Key roles in its creation were probably played by the geographic situation of the town, the personal history of Diego del Gastor, and the guitar tradition of this locality, together with the magical sense "que lleva aparejada" (that it prepares? for which these things lay the groundwork?). Diego del Gastor had a very special way of understanding the guitar, and this led him to create a whole arsenal of musical conceptions, of approaches to flamenco's established rhythmic system or compas, of melodic variations or falsetas, and of concrete forms, the fruit of which was a tremendously original repertoire. All of this was achieved with a technique that was completely his own and with a musical concept that, in my view, is much more modern than that of today's players, because it is "super-synthetic", ["super-sintetico", a word implying the combining and synthesizing of ideas and materials in a broader and more effective way than contemporary fusion-minded players have achieved.] It goes directly to the very definition of things, and doesn't waste even one minute "en dar baratijas" (on the unimportant, on trifles). In every moment of his playing, Diego offers the essence of every one of the ideas that one could ultimately hope to have, elaborating and expanding upon only that which is required to transmit everything possible; because, at bottom, the ultimate goal of art is communication. It's for this reason that I identify so completely with the guitar playing of Morón de la Frontera and the guitar playing of Diego del Gastor. For me the man and his music serve as a model which draws close to the concept I have about all of modern music, whether pop, or flamenco, or rock: It places the communication of emotion above everything else. ("El fondo sobre la forma.") The fundamental purpose is more important than the form. It always goes directly to the essential, seeking a mimimalist message.

The technique of Morón playing is characterized by its stress on the most fundamental elements of all, because the guitar never says anything it doesn't have to say, never expresses anything it doesn't need to to express. It is a technique as old as speech itself: Never say anything you need not say, and never play anything that cannot improve upon silence. It is a totally functional ("util") music, because it can make people laugh, cry, play and dance. ("Tiene una naturaleza totalmente popular y sin embargo culta.") It incorporates a naturalness that derives totally from the people and their folk traditions, yet at the same time embodies the high art and high culture of a civilization. This is the "vertiente musical" (musical wellspring, or: musical aspect) that I find so compelling and interesting, because it seems much more reflective of an entire society and for that reason all the more true and authentic. It is a music that is intimately linked to the people, to the streets, to life and to love -- in a way that shares all this richness. ("No es una music cortesana sino proletaria".) It is not a music of the upper classes, but of the common people.

English translation by Brook Zern


El Toque de Morón

una cita de Raul Rodriguez

Para mí, la guitarra de Morón, y más concretamente la de Diego, es una escuela en la que se unen conceptualmente la guitarra antigua y la contemporánea. Es un concepto de música total, en el que probablemente haya tenido mucho que ver la situación geográfica, la historia de Diego del Gastor y la tradición guitarrística de esta localidad, junto al sentido mágico que lleva aparejada. Diego del Gastor tenía una forma muy especial de entender la guitarra, y ésta lo llevó a elaborar un arsenal de músicas, compases, falsetas y formas concretas, que dieron como fruto un repertorio propio tremendamente original. Todo ello hecho con su propia técnica y con su un concepto musical, a mi entender, mucho más moderno que el que se maneja de hoy en día, porque es super-sintético. Va directamente a la definición de las cosas y no gasta ni un solo minuto en dar baratijas. Diego da en cada momento la primera idea de cada una de las ideas que puede llegar a tener, elaborando justo lo necesario para transmitir todo lo que puede porque, en el fondo, el fin último que se persigue con el arte es la comunicación. Por eso me siento tan identificado con el toque de Morón y el toque de Diego. Para mí es un modelo que se acerca al concepto que tengo de la música moderna, ya sea en su vertiente pop, flamenca o rock, priorizando la comunicación de la emoción sobre todo lo demás. El fondo sobre la forma. Va siempre a lo esencial, buscando el mensaje minimalista.

La técnica del toque de Morón se caracteriza fundamentalmente, porque la guitarra nunca dice nada que no tenga que decir. Es una técnica tan antigua como la misma palabra. Nunca digas nada que no debas decir y nunca toques nada que no pueda mejorar el silencio. Es una música útil porque hace que la gente pueda reír o llorar, jugar y bailar. Tiene una naturaleza totalmente popular y sin embargo culta. Esa es la vertiente musical que a mi me interesa, porque me parece mucho mas social y por lo tanto mucho mas verdadera y autentica. Es una música que tiene que ver con la gente, con la calle, con la vida, con el amor y con la forma en la que se reparte la riqueza. No es una música cortesana sino proletaria.

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