on jazz drumming

"Paco died learning" - Soleá: The flamenco of Seville

by Tim Lake

 solea: flamenco in seville | jazz drumming inspiration | on Jazz drumming

"Paco died learning" is one of the salient moments in the short documentary Soleá. The speaker is a flamenco instructor and she is, of course, referring to Paco De Lucia, the great guitarist and godfather of flamenco. She says clearly that in flamenco there is always something more to learn; you never finish learning, no matter how great you are are. The same is true for jazz and jazz drumming - you die learning, and that's the way it should be.

Soleá follows a day in the life of Juan Ramírez a flamenco guitarist from Colombia now living in Seville, the home of flamenco. He recounts how the music he learnt back home is a world a way from the music he lives and breathes there. Intending to stay for just a month, he has now been there thirteen years. He spends his days crisscrossing the city with his guitar on his back, from practicing in the early hours of the morning to accompanying numerous dance classes to playing a show in the evening, while still finding time for a friendly jam with a singer in the park. This music can't be learnt at a school not what you can learn, it's music as life, and the film is a homage to that.

The comment about Paco is one of the great takeaways. It highlights that music is a journey, it's not a destination that can ever be reached. That is both humbling and inspiring. We must keep learning, keep pushing and keep growing. That's all we can do, and hopefully make some wonderful music along the way. The other noteworthy point is when Ramírez says as a flamenco guitarist you typically spend "10 years playing for dancers, 10 years playing for singers, and only then can you be a soloist". If that is not paying your dues, I don't know what is?! Playing flamenco requires that you put in the time playing with other musicians, dancers, singers, humbly honing your craft over the years. There are no short cuts. As aspiring jazz musicians and drummers, there is something to be learnt from this documentary about what a musician's life is really like. The parallels are clear.

You can check out the documentary below or over on the excellent Psyche.

Go back