José del Tomate, of such grapevine, such cluster.

That a young man of twenty years, son of a great flamenco guitarist, ends up being a guitarist should not surprise us, that it has become a phenomenon is less common, but that he also really knows how to compose is rather rare. This first album by José Fernández, the Tomato boy, shows us that it is not to be born, it is to be done, to carve one’s own way with determination, without rest, and committed to your own music.

From the good springs are born the good rivers. The goal is to design a repertoire and have personality composing. In a world where the flamenco guitar lives a time of splendor, where guitarists come out everywhere, each chasing their truth, leaving their mark, their stamp, the house brand, contributing something new is not a simple task. It’s about being honest and not getting carried away by the banal, the easy thing, you have to create your own repertoire that reflects your talent clearly.

Like father Like Son. José has been able to think every measure well, he does not let himself be carried away by more or less passing fashions. It is inspired by what has been learned, on the road traveled, and long enough, to project its own style and capture it in different touches that clearly reflect how a young Almeria man conceives flamenco from the guitar today.

Of such seed, such people. José gives us a bouquet of styles making it clear that he has a lot to say. It is not about speaking by speaking, does not want to take advantage of the current, does not want to shelter in the shadow of a giant like his father, but, respecting his caste, he must be able to define his personal way of expressing himself with the guitar, and with his eyes put in the school of the great boss Paco. For bulerías, of course, for tarantas, there would be more missing, for soleá, as it should be (here accompanying the gypsy song of our Rancapino), bulerías for soleá, which is not lacking, for tangos, to know and flamenco taste, for tanguillos, with improvisation Tomato included. A memory-tribute to the great Manzanita and the rumble song Collares complete this album. He lets himself be wrapped by his sister Mari Ángeles, Cigala, Duquende, Montse Cortés and Kiki Cortiñas to the cante and choirs, Piraña and Ramón Porrina to the drawer, Antonio Serrano to the harmonica.

Of such a tree, such a bouquet. We must congratulate ourselves for having with us a guitarist who has ceased to be a promise to stand before the fans as a reality, with the desire to renew the repertoire of the great masters to, from humility and respect, stand up to the most current flamenco , with a proposal that will undoubtedly give much of itself. He wants to earn a place in today’s flamenco guitar, and he does. Consciously aware of the challenge that this entails, in love with the instrument with real passion. A young teacher who (I have seen him teaching and is immediately perceived to be serious) wants to raise his voice without complexes, expressing himself through his guitar that he has been spoiling since childhood. There are many hours to be taken, it is the only way to be where you are, studying, repeating a passage until you get it the way you want, demanding to the fullest, getting the best from the inside, searching for your own music to emerge, clean and current .

Caste comes to the greyhound. If you like artists, you have half a way and José del Tomate go if you like. His touch is sure, his sound has the echo of those who play well, his pulse is resounding and flamenco, as it should be: play whatever but sound flamenco, risk without taking your feet out of the pot. It is clear that he has inherited from his father, in addition to mastery, respect for art and commitment to his music.

Such a grapevine, such a cluster. José knows how to measure his faculties at every step, getting where he should be, knowing himself so that the technique does not exceed you, and doing it from the heart, composing conscientiously, looking back without losing the way forward. With this album we can only shout to the four winds: Long live Almeria Tomatoes!

Faustino Núñez

Plaza Vieja (Universal, 2018)

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