lunes, 1 de octubre de 2012

The legacy of Enrique El Mellizo

Manolo Vargas: Malagueña of Enrique el Mellizo

Enrique El Mellizo, thanks to his prodigious creative abilities, is considered one of the most prolific composers of all times. On top of this, he was also a very gifted performer, which granted him a great reputation, in a time when he was sharing stardom with the very best of the Golden Era of Flamenco. He transmitted his knowledge to the following generations that included Antonio Chacon and Manuel Torre that were just starting to stand out.

Antonio Enrique Jimenez Fernández, Enrique el Mellizo (Enrique the twin) was born in Cadiz, December 1st of 1848 and died in Cadiz, May 30th of 1906.
Apart from being a Flamenco Artist, he also worked as a slaughter man in the slaughterhouse of Cadiz and in the bullfighting business as banderillero and puntillero.

Picture of Cádiz, with the bullring

He is known to have discovered don Antonio Chacón, when he saw him in a Fiesta Flamenca held in Jerez de La Frontera in 1886, and he invited Antonio to sing with him in the famous venue of  Los Angeles de Cádiz. Chacón never forgot his kindness, and in return, in 1894 he organized a Benefit in The Eslava Theater, in order to help one of El Mellizo’s sons avoid the mandatory Spanish Military Service. That’s when he first sang the famous seguiriya: "Mira la vergüenza / que me has hecho pasar / de andar pidiendo limosna de puerta en puerta / por tu libertad".
“Look how you embarrassed me, making me go door-to-door, begging money for
your freedom”.

Cathedral of Cádiz

He was considered one of the most creative cantaores of his time, he invented a very unique type of Malagueña, new varieties of seguiriyas and soleares and he is also attributed with creating Tientos cante.

He performed mostly in family reunions and parties, even though sporadically he sang in
Cafés cantantes and theaters. He is known to have been a lonely and melancholic person, even when more recent researches seem. to prove the opposite. He was the father of Antonio El Mellizo, El Morcilla y Carlota, Flamenco artists all of them.

Next, Antonio Barberán Reviriego’s opinion regarding Enrique El Mellizo’s contribution to flamenco and the evolution of Cante and its typologies. The following comments included in the book: "Enrique Jimenez El Mellizo, Vida y Obra de un Compositor Jondo", Cádiz, Publisher in May of 2006. (Link Here) offer a comprehensive view on the singer’s life, character, Flamenco career
and Cadiz milieu. The final part of the book will be used as the structure for our own text about El Mellizo’s most important Cantes, that we will illustrate with the audios that complement the text entries.

Cante Legacy and Influence:

<<There is no doubt that Enrique el Mellizo was an prodigious singer, but it
is his composition work that makes him an outstanding figure of Cante Jondo.
His compositions had a natural and sublime musicality that conveyed the
complexity of his mind and soul. We should mention that today it is
practically impossible to attend a Flamenco Festival or concert in which at
least one of his beautiful compositions is not performed, that is why he is
the author whose creations have been performed the most.

His most relevant contributions are:

Malagueñas dobles and Malagueñas chicas. Three different types of Soleares.
Two varieties of seguiriyas. Tientos, that for a long time kept the name of
“Tangos”. The Montañesa Flamenca, a variety of Alegrías and very possibly
Saeta Flamenca.
Among the oldest recordings of his compositions and by virtue of this, the
beginning of a following and a school of imitators of his performing style,
we should mention:


El Niño de la Isla, “The child from the Island” (1910) singing “Gastas
bromas con todo el
mundo” “You joke with everybody” with Ramón Montoya  playing guitar,
Garrido de Jerez (1907)  singing “Como moro soy más moro” “As a Moor, I am
more Moorish than anybody” with Román playing guitar and Aurelio Sellé
(1929)  singing “En el carrito de la pena”,” On the little cart of sorrow”
also with Ramón Montoya.

El Niño de la Isla

Niño de la Isla 

Garrido de Jerez

Garrido de Jerez in one of his performances (link with more information)

Aurelio Sellé

Aurelio Sellé 

In the re-editing of a collection of Wax Cylinders that The Centro Andaluz
de Flamenco has turned into 2 compilation Cd’s tittled “Primeras grabaciones
del flamenco” that is,  “First Flamenco Recordings”, according to our friend
and Flamenco researcher José Manuel Martín Barbadillo, we can find a
Malagueña performed by Rafael Rico Expósito “Rafael el Moreno”,” The dark
skin one”, born in Jerez in 1867, that most likely, can be considered the
first recording to date of  El Mellizo’s malagueña. This malagueña is
tightly connected with the aforementioned malagueñas sung by Garrido de
Jerez and El Niño de la Isla.

Rafael el Moreno

In words of Blas Vega, the Malagueña Chica was created in 1903 (when Enrique
was 55 years old) in Puerto de Santa María, during a fiesta where El Mellizo
and Chacón were singing, and in a time where an older Enrique, was starting
to loose his abilities.
That is, before that time, Enrique used to sing the Malagueña Mellicera,
Once his health and strength prevented him from singing a most demanding
version, Malagueña Mellicera started to be regarded as Malagueña doble
(double) and El Mellizo offered his take on this type of song with a
simplified version that notwithstanding seems be able to transmit a bolder,
more pure flamenco experience.

It’s with the intention of helping the listener to learn to tell apart
Malagueña doble from Malagueña chica that we present you with the following

Malagueña Chica:Aurelio Sellé “En contra de mi torrente” “Against my
 stream”(1959) with Melchor de Marchena.

Pericón de Cádiz and Aurelio Sellé in a homage to Enrique El Mellizo

Malagueña Doble:Malagueña Doble: Pericón de Cádiz “Por lo mucho que te quiero” “Because of
my big love for you”(1971) with Félix de Utrera

Seated, in front, Pericón de Cádiz and Aurelio Sellé

Some People attribute El Mellizo with the invention of  a third malagueña
type to which they refer to as “media” because it is half way betweeen Doble
and Chica, in my personal opinión, this malagueña can not be considered a
creation of him because it does not adjust to the creative canons of


Antonio Chacón. “El Señor de la humildad”” The Lord of Humbleness” (1909)
with Juan Gandullas “Habichuela” “little bean” playing guitar.
Manuel Torre “Hablo con Jesús y le digo” “I talk to Jesús and said to him”
(1909  as well accompanied by Juan Gandullas “Habichuela”
Niña de los Peines “Al escucharlo temblé” “When I listened to him I
 trembled”(1910) with Ramón Montoya.

Antonio Chacón

Manuel Torre

Niña de Los Peines


Following the precise indications offered by D. Luís Soler Guevara y Ramón
Soler Díaz in their book "Antonio Mairena en el Mundo de la Siguiriya y la
Soleá" Published by  Fundación Antonio Mairena and Junta de Andalucía, we
should mention the following recordings:

Style #1: “Niña de los Peines” (1914) “Bayetita de la negra” “Little towel
of the black lady” with  Luís Molina playing guitar.
Manuel Torre “La fe mía de bautismo” (1929)  “My christening certificate”
with Borrull Jr.
Aurelio Sellé “Que la ausencia causa olvido” “Absence creates forgetfulness”
(1929) with Ramón Montoya
Tomás Pavón “A mi madre de mi alma” “To my beloved mother” (1959) with
Melchor de Marchena.

Niña de Los Peines

Pastora Pavón, La Niña de Los Peines, when she was 20 (link with more information)

Manuel Torre

Aurelio Sellé

Tomás Pavón

In the second style: Manuel Torre “Mira que cosita más sensible” “Check this sensitive thing out”
(1909) with Juan Gandullas and “Tan pobre era mi pena” “My sorrow was so
poor”(1929) with el “Hijo de Salvador” playing guitar.
Tomás Pavón “Le pido a Dios” “I beg God” (1959) with Melchor de
Antonio Mairena “A pesar de mis fatigas dobles” “despite my big pains”
(1959) with the same guitar player

Manuel Torre

Manuel Torre

Tomás Pavón

Tomás Pavón with his family (link with more information)

Antonio Mairena

Style # 3:

Niño de Cabra “Ya sale la Luna llena” “The full moon is already out” (1907)
with Enrique López playing guitar.
Paca Aguilera “Hombre ¿qué quieres de mí? “ Man what do you want from me”
(1909) with Ángel de Baeza.
Niña de los Peines “Amarillo sale el Sol” ‘The sun is yellow” (1910) with
Ramón Montoya
Juanito Mojama “Las que en silencio estén” “The ones that are silent”(1929)
also with Ramón Montoya.

Cayetano de Cabra

Pastora Pavón

La Niña de Los Peines


Making use once again of the thorough research by The Soler we present you
with the following songs;

Style # 1: Antonio Mairena “Y que vergüenza” “What a shame” (1965) with
Melchor de Marchena
Pepe el de la Matrona “Como la tortolita” “ Like the little turtle dove”
(1976) with Félix de Utrera.

Antonio Mairena

Antonio Mairena

Pepe el de la Matrona

Style #2: Antonio Mairena “Dinero” “Money” (1958) with Juan Moreno
Pepe el de la Matrona “En contra” “Against it” (1976) with Félix de Utrera.

Antonio Mairena

Pepe el de la Matrona
Pepe el de La Matrona (link with more information)


Niña de los Peines “Le di un duro al barquero” “I gave the boatman a coin“
“Que bien te pega la gorra” “That cap suits you fine”(1913) with Luís Molina
y Aurelio Sellé “El agüita no la aminoro” “ I don’t stop crying” (1929) with Ramón Montoya.
We would also like to mention the singularity of the recording that Manuel Torre made in 1929 of the song “I gave the Boatman a coin” with Borrull Jr. Playing the guitar.

La Niña de los Peines

Aurelio Sellé

Manuel Torre

Santa María neighbourhood (link with more information)

Montañesas flamencas:Niño de la Isla “Tengo que subir al Puerto” “I have to go to the Port”
(1910) con Ramón Montoya.

(We include this version from Carmen de La Jara, with the original lyrics of El Niño de La Isla)

Saeta: Even if we have written records of the fact that El Mellizo used to sing
Saetas we also know of the existance of some other singers, contemporary to
him, that performed that type of song in Cadiz as well.
Regarding this matter we should mention The song that according to Vergara
Achives is titled “Saeta de la Mónica” sung by Antonio Mera “Almendrita” in
1968, in which the artist payed homage to Monica Llamas Arrabal, the great
Saeta singer from Cádiz, an artist that that should be considered the finest
example of the Saeta singing tradition in Cadiz>>



With these songs and many other examples of other artists.


Other sites with information about El Mellizo

Biografías Jondas, in youtube

And a similar post in this blog:
Callejón del Duende
where you will find a lot of information about flamenco world in Cádiz

This post has been translated from spanish by Abigail Lazkoz. Thank you very much, Abigail!

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