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Bambino, the voice of the scoundrel

Miguel Vargas Jiménez (1940-1999) was the great male figure of the song Aflamencada. Gypsy of Utrera, Master of excessive passion, left an extensive discography, very imitated

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Bambino, the voice of the scoundrel

Today, memory of Bambino floats between two waters. He is a genuine cult artist, defended by ardent followers, including those responsible for a very active page. At same time, he has not been beatified: for example, has never edited an integral of his recordings, does not have usual biopic, no documentary care.

So it is possible that, if you go fishing in ocean of Internet, you get a rapper Bambino or even — changing a letter — Bombino, a guitarist Tuareg. Our Bambino, Miguel Vargas Jiménez, was a creature from golden Age of tablaos and, even worse, from flamenco atrical shows. Ephemeral art, of which only photos remain, hazy memories of a suit singer, who handled his jacket as if it were a cloak.

Happily, he recorded a lot of records. Discs made in that way, sonorous photographs of a spree that was recreated at impossible hours, say that of tomorrow and in an inhospitable study. He did it first for Philips, with flamenco group of guitarist Antonio Arenas. A session in barrage plan, where y fell from moon and bull to Italian song that gave him his nickname, also passing by José Alfredo Jiménez.

He had better luck in Columbia discs, where Alfonso Santisteban practiced as a producer in everything... less when it comes to credits and royalties. Santisteban was a hipster to Castizo mode, more passionate about bossa nova than flamenco universe. But he detected that re was a unique artist, able to gruesome most important stories with an emotion that, at one point, gave way to catharsis.

Bambino knew heartbreaking potential of ranchera, Boleros, verses, all incandescent material that transformed into a bule or flamenco rumba. But he aspired to have his own repertoire. He needed lyricist to make custom suits, such as José Ruiz Venegas, or Salvador Távora, who before founding block of Seville cultivated flamenco.

With Santisteban braiding music, Bambino was taking over a few more dramatic stories, whose protagonist was a slave to his feelings. There were seldom any stable relationships, love corresponded in that songbook. Nor in subjects that provided historical as Rafael de León (ask my Heart) or Master Solano (three times crazy). The modern part was contributed by Manuel Alejandro (I'm going). To fill, re was Mexican contingent, with Luis Demetrio (Bravo) or Armando Manzaneo (I adore).

It was recorded without many ceremonies. Two or three guitarists, once with Paco de Lucía as main instrumentalist, more frequently with Paco. Background, a discreet percussion afro. The patter of palms, jellies. Maybe a piano; Very infrequently, orchestral arrangements.

Low-cost music, which was essentially disseminated in cassettes. Bambino was a Lorca of petrol stations: He never entered lists of successes, although his songs mysteriously became popular. It worked on fringes of entertainment world, occasionally promoted with appearances on TVE. He was ignored by media and could be better: His life tended to heterodox.

In Sixties and Seventies, Bambino fit perfectly in that Madrid show-room of parties and early morning sales. A troop composed of artists, Young Masters, anxious aristocrats and all detritus of night. Animated parties with alcohol and, if you knew keys, you even got high-ranking cocaine. A scene where everyone knew what each one limped but, SSSH, was not said aloud.

Bambino was attracted to most rogue sector: pimps, hustlers, gay repressed or shameful. They say he was throwing himself into pool without fear. He could disappear for two or three days, without his buddies worrying. He reappeared without a watch and without money, "someone needed it more than me"; Occasionally he had to hide signs of blows. Santisteban, always so Peliculero, feared that it ended like Pier Paolo Pasolini, but man was not a suicide.

Without knowing it, Bambino I believe school. In 1976, it was artistic model for Maria Jiménez (whose producer, Gonzalo García Pelayo, would work with Miguel in 1986, in LP I am Forbidden). They say he learned of winks that he was throwing Pedro Almodóvar but would have preferred to leave himself on screen. By n, circuit of premises where he acted was disappearing; Assuming decline of his powers, he retired in nineties to his native Utrera, with voice already broken (I would lose it finally with an oncological treatment). He died in 1999, before being publicly vindicated by Joaquín Sabina in 19 days and 500 nights.

A way of singing, a way of living

For Miguel Vargas Jiménez, homages of Flemish Guild he received in his final years were very comforting. Some initiatives that editing contempt of so many experts in cante jondo who despised him as a simple festive artist. What a mistake: y did not understand correspondence between ir turbulent life and ir purifying art.

Also, Twilight Bambino did not want to be seen as a broken dummy. In Utrera re was who deplored his existence to limit and was glad to see him decrepit. In fact, he was able to survive without Apreturas and enjoyed affection of his own. Several of his relatives have been dedicated to song, like his niece Maui, which today, Sunday, at 21.00, is presented in courtyard of Conde Duque (Madrid) as part of show by Bambino. Party's on. With direction of Diego Guerrero, will also participate martyrdom, Miguel Campello, Raúl Rodríguez, Fernando Soto, Pedro el Granaino and duo Sevillian Makarines.


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