Carmen Linares, the only cantaora with a National Music Award, has been holding shows for more than 40 years with her seasoned and penetrating voice. Turned into a living legend of flamenco, she returns to the stage to continue celebrating that event with a spirit of continuity.
“Retired? I’m very happy right now and I feel good singing, it gives me a lot of good energy and I still have things I can offer. No, I’m not thinking of retiring right now,” certifies the artist born in Linares (Jaén) in 1951 in a talk with Efe.
The reason is the concert that this Wednesday in the Madrid musical cycle Inverfest will upload her again to some tables to celebrate her four decades as a solo artist, accompanied for the occasion by Joan Manuel Serrat as an exceptional guest.
“I wanted to take someone that I admired and that had something to do with me. It also seemed appropriate now that he is going to do his retirement tour, which makes me very sad. He is a super close and affectionate person with all my family,” says Linares. about Catalan, with whom he will sing the emblematic “La saeta”.
He called this tour, which has been lengthened due to the stoppage of the pandemic, “Cantaora” (1988), as one of his most important albums, in addition to being the only path in life that he considered.
“I’ve always seen myself in art, singing, and although I like baile very much too, I didn’t have the opportunity to be taught by anyone, because you really have to learn that, not like cante, which I learned as a self-taught person, listening to others”, recalls who came to act in memorable spaces, from New York to the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, from the Maestranza in Seville to the Teatro Real.
He came to Madrid very young, after his family moved following in the footsteps of a railway father, and so he began to frequent the most important tablaos in the capital, such as Torres Bermeja, where “the best of that time were”. A contemporary of Enrique Morente, Camarón de la Isla or the Habichuela brothers, she is one of the few women of her generation who has managed to reach such heights.
“When I was very young and starting out, the career was done more slowly, more step by step, to make yourself known in tablaos and peñas, which is also very good, because it allows you to act, which is where an artist becomes Now, although there are more media outlets and one can record an album at home, it is almost more difficult, because there is too much information. But the youth is intelligent and willing to fight, they will arrive,” he says optimistically.
Linares, really called Carmen Pacheco, was always looking for new forms of expression. Citing the names of recent performers who are going beyond the purely flamenco scene with revolutionary proposals, such as those of María José Llergo or Rosario La Tremendita, he encourages them to “make their own career, what they feel”.
“I don’t dare to say where the genre should evolve. What I do think is that the artist has to have an important base, know the roots, the tradition, because that is the DNA that you have to squeeze with your fists so that you then allow them to do other things. As Juan Ramón Jiménez said: ‘Roots that fly and wings that take root'”.
Distinguished among many other awards with the National Music Prize in 2001, an “honor and a success for this art”, she affirms that her purpose as an artist has always been to “dignify” it, as Federico García Lorca did, to whom she paid tribute in her discography and keeps alive in his shows.
“I have been an honest artist and I have given the best of me, always wanting to enhance the style and always contribute with my truth,” she says.
In her spirit she has been “transcending and being close” to the public that comes to listen to her. “The important thing is to transmit and move. What I like is that people remember that emotion and touch their hearts. And then to be worthy of having this position and give back to flamenco everything it has given me”, he adds .
As he passes through the Teatro Circo Price, within Inverfest, he anticipates that he will pay homage to Paco de Lucía, also to the version of “The legend of time” made by Enrique Morente and “Thanks to life” by Mercedes Sosa. “A phrase that we should have on the headboard of the bed to read it every morning when we get up,” he highlights.