The cantaora Estrella Morente belongs to a true flamenco dynasty. She was born 20 years ago in Las Gabias, province of Granada, to Andalusian legend Enrique Morente and dancer Aurora Carbonell. Her uncles are guitarist Antonio Carbonell and cantaor José Carbonell and her grandfather is the legendary guitarist Montoyita. Most of My Songs and a Poem
(which sold 200,000 copies in Spain) is comprised of traditional songs adapted by her father, the exceptions being "For Pastora", Estrella's compositional debut (homage to her hero La Niña de Los Peines) and "Moguer" a prose-poetry text by Andalusian poet Juan Ramón Jiménez set to music by Enrique Morente. Already a star in Spain, Estrella is set to make a big impression on flamenco aficionados abroad.
Considering how popular flamenco is in Britain, it's remarkable how few flamenco singers there are on our musical landscape. Estrella Morente's My Songs and a Poem
is therefore a notable event, for this young Spaniard's debut CD marks her out as a great singer in the making. Her voice is on the light side, often girlish, but it has an enormous range of colour, and it fairly crackles with combustion when required to do so.
As her dedication puts it: "to all the great singers in my family, El Tio Miguel, El Gitano de Valladolid, uncle Pedro Carbonell
" For Estrella hails from gypsy Andalusia, and as the daughter of the great Enrique Morente she is carrying the true flamenco torch. Enrique has long championed new poetry as a revivifying source for flamenco, and he himself is the producer of this record, which consists of Estrella's own arrangements of traditional flamenco songs. The guitar accompaniments are superb; the clapping, stamping and shouting reflects the fact that Estrella is a true possessor of that mysterious quality, "duende".--Michael Church