Writings and essays about flamenco

Category — Flamenco Singer Manuel Vallejo

Flamenco Singer Manuel Vallejo – A 2 1/2 Year Old Recalls a Very Private Last Recital – translated by Brook Zern

Last August, the flamenco expert Manuel Bohórquez wrote an unusual and poignant entry in his excellent blog at http://blogs.elcorreoweb.es/lagazapera/2013/06/27/vallejo-y-el-nino-de-la-casita-de-cristal/

Here’s an approximation of what he said:

“I’ve never told the story I’m recounting today in this blog that already takes more of my time than I’d expected.  But if I have to give my life to stay with you for years, I’ll do that.

When my father died I was just thirty months old.  For some time, he had been in the Seville Central Hospital, but leukemia ended his life when he was just 33.  He died at the end of July, 1960.  By chance, while he was dying I was in the same hospital with anemia that was threatening to send me, too, to the cemetery.

Nonetheless, I withstood the Pale Rider’s charge and while my mother took my father to be buried I was still there, where today stands the Andalusian Parliament in the La Macarena neighborhood.  In the room beside mine, a few days before, they had admitted a true genius of flamenco song, Manuel Vallejo, who my father had admired and whose singing he copied.

While I was still there, on the seventh of August, the singer’s heart gave out.  I didn’t know this story until a few days ago when, as I was listening to a recording of Manuel Vallejo in my house, the woman who brought me into the world saw that I was crying and told it to me.  She told me that my father, on his deathbed, realized that the famous singer was nearby on the same floor.  As best he could, he took my hand and led me to the singer’s room so I might see him.  “I present to you the King of Flamenco Song”, my father said.  I remember nothing of that, of course.  When, a few days after she had buried my father, my mother went to the dispensary, a nun told her that Vallejo had twice visited me in my room, the last time just two days before he died.

And now I know why, when one morning my uncle Antonio played a song of Vallejo’s and showed me a picture of him, I felt an incredibly intense trembling and burst out crying.  I remembered that one night I had dreamed  that the man in that photograph drew near my bed and sang me a beautiful lullaby.  And now I knew it wasn’t a dream at all — that in fact on that evening, the genius of song Manuel Vallejo felt pity for a poor child who had lost his father and who was fighting for his life in a little glass enclosure.

I don’t know if the last part of this story is absolutely true or if it’s just a dream, but I do want to tell about it.  And if perhaps it may not be true. I’m convinced that it deserves to be.  Do you understand that, my friends?”

Thank you for the story, Señor Bohórquez.  There is literal truth, there is indisputable truth, and there is something else that rings even truer.

Brook Zern 

March 27, 2014   1 Comment