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Cultural Embassy

PABLO MARTIN-CAMINERO - Innovative Flamenco Free Style Musician


Ultra High Flamenco - flamenco free style

At 17.45 hrs Pablo Martin-Caminero (on the right in the picture) and two of his fellow band members - percussionist Paquito González (in the middle) and violin player Alexis Lefevre (left in the pic), have just had lunch and like to have a chat. They play in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Utrecht at the Flamenco Biennale, invited by the Biennale to join forces with three jazz-improvisers from the Netherlands on viola, piano and clarinet.

Pablo: “There’s four of us and three Dutch musicians, and we're performing here now and it’s fantastic. We're all learning and joining our music. We are used to improvising; we are are a flamenco-band with a jazz-mentality, we do jazz structures as well as solos, so it’s easy to integrate each other's concept. Everybody is very used to share new ideas and rehearse, it is a fluent process. The only struggle is language. Three of us don’t talk English. It is easier playing our music than talking, so it's a great example of the power of music.

What sort of attitude is required to make your kind of music, which feeds on new influences all the time?

Pablo: “we are independent musicians who do a lot of different projects together, next to personal projects. I have my band, Paquito is a very well known percussion player in the flamenco scene. It is good for our health, our imagination, and our job, to be open-minded. To try to learn and do exciting new things.”

Is there a hierarchy in UHF?

Pablo: “No it is very fluent, we all know the rules; enjoying, listening and everything comes easily.”

How does the cooperation with the Dutch work?

Pablo: “Normally we improvise on structures that we already know. The three Dutch players are more free improvisers. For us; that makes it very fresh and we need to be very aware. It is a lot of fun. The goal in this is not to think but instead to rely on  your gut feeling.

Is there a Dutch flavour to the way the three improvisers play?

Pablo: “I see that jazz musicians in Northern Europe are v different from their Spanish counterparts. After WOII, Northern Europe was much influenced by American jazz, while Spain was closed off from this cultural input because of the Franco dictatorship. In Spain, the dominance of the flamenco influence in jazz is what makes us interesting."

How do you prepare?

Pablo: "It is part of our lives. Our preparation is very global, everything we take in we will try to integrate in our music.”I was with Lucas Suringar in Almere to have my instrument repaired. He did a very fine job on my double-bass. Tonight we are going to play a bit preparing, have ideas for our next recording. So at Lloyd Hotel the seed will be planted for our next CD. I have been to Lloyd Hotel about seven times before over the last decade. I remember the room I was in the first time: I was very surprised by it. Since then, my standard for hotels is Lloyd Hotel.

Do you take input from Amsterdam?

Pablo: “I see it as an example of an advanced society in the social sense. I see how healthy people are here in many ways. For me, Amsterdam is like a show of common sense.
It is a good basis for creation. We visited Splendor Amsterdam. This was set up by musicians for musicians. They organised a building with lots of space and instruments. It is an amazing example for us."