The work of Enrique Morente has the grace of all great musicians, the honesty of the music for the music, that which comes from those that are born to make music. Morente’s conquest was to bring more life to flamenco through his own vision of this art. He had the curiosity and courage to open its doors and extend its wings to become friends with other kinds of music. Among these experiments the most applauded of them all it’s the fusion he made with rock on Omega, his most popular album. With Omega he opened new musical spaces, linked different generations, and extended the vocabulary for rockers and cantaores (flamenco singers).
On the 60’s with Franco ruling Spain, Enrique Morente started his career exploring flamenco from its very origins, after his first album was published on 1967 he became quickly a star of cante jondo because of his comprehension of the traditional flamenco and his natural talent as cantaor, his gipsy voice was loaded, drunk, rough, dark, and sweet, like smoked at the penumbra, made for flamenco.
It’s been discussed that the whole evolution of his career is founded on his dedication to the lyrics which took him to explore poetry and poets that eventually he added to his work. He sang poems with political topics against Franco, turning him on the favorite cantaor of the left-wing opposition. He explored deeply the Spanish poetry and convert the work of classic poets to music. And that’s how he arrived to the moment when Omega was created. Omega features lyrics by Federico Garcia Lorca’s book “A poet in New York”, recreates songs of Leonard Cohen, and was created in collaboration with the Spanish rock band Lagartija Nick.
On Omega flamenco and rock combine their different tones of strength and passion and melt into a piece of art that has a rare, fine, and delicate soul. Electronic and acoustic guitars play and duel on flamenco riffs, longing passion, breaking paradigms. Drums and claps join forces to create the best possible ground for Morente’s interpretation of Lorca’s and Cohen’s lyrics. Omega is simply one of the best albums of music history, because each one of the elements composing the album are already a piece of art, by themselves, because the artist that took these elements had a right sense about each of them, because he had the art to combine them with a beautiful style, and the technique to create a solid work.
Morente was exploring music, further from flamenco, before Omega, but Omega was the definitive turning point of his career. when he became an international, global musician. Among all the musicians that had the fortune to play with him were Pat Metheny, and Sonic Youth, to name the most popular ones around the world of rock and jazz. Besides Omega, El Pequeno Reloj (The little clock), and Suenos de la Alhambra (Dreams of Alhambra) are his most famous albums when exploring into other styles of music, but his discography counts with other seventeen albums as creative as these three. Enrique Morente was curious, creative, adventurous, interested, and dedicated to his passion. He brought life to music, and used music to communicate, and he opened new paths for music to express. In summary, he was a great artist.
Listen to some songs of Omega , choose “Manhattan” to start.