“El Garrobo” Brings Bit of Spain to San Antonio
Published 11:26 am, Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Hometown: Corpus Christi
Works as: Flamenco guitarist and teacher, founder of Suspiro Flamenco, a San Antonio-based dance and musical group.
Musical training: Studied under various flamenco masters and for three months in Jerez, Spain. Before flamenco captured his attention, Cordero played rock guitar to ’80s music such as Love and Rockets and Echo and the Bunnymen.
How he got started: “I moved to Denver and saw Paco de Lucia, one of the greatest flamenco guitarists. He’s still a master, and I saw him in the early ’90s. That’s what peaked my interest. I thought, ‘I’ve got to learn to play flamenco guitar.’”
On his nickname: “El Garrobo is, in South America, a certain type of iguana. I got that (nickname) because aside from flamenco, I have a big passion for herpetology. I like to go out into the deserts and catch lizards, so it’s one of those things where in the flamenco world, a lot of artists will have little nicknames.”
Performing tablao-style: “What we do at Carmen’s is a tablao-style flamenco performance. Tablaos are these restaurant-type bars all over Spain, and flamenco has its structure, but in a tablao setting it’s not like its choreographed and has to be exact. This is a little bit more freedom for improvisation.”
Playing with a group: “What’s real important is for flamenco guitarists to know how to accompany singers and to know how to accompany dancers. That’s like a whole other world.” Flamenco dancers signal to the guitar player that they will change to another type of dance step or change the tempo with special steps called “llamadas” and “cierres.”
On flamenco’s growing popularity here: “San Antonio could be like a Santa Fe or Albuquerque, N.M., thing. In those cities, they’re now recognized as some of the major centers of flamenco in the United States… I guess its our duty as guitarists and dancers and as (flamenco artists) to try to bring that more to audiences, to try to give them that authentic experience and educate them about it through teaching and performing and that kind of thing.”
What: The flamenco guitarist and teacher performs monthly at Carmens de la Calle Cafe, 720 E Mistletoe Ave. (210-737-8272), and Boardwalk Bistro, 4011 Broadway (210-824-0100).
When: Contact restaurants for times and dates, which change monthly.
For more: Cordero also plays at weddings and private and public events. Private guitar lessons cost $35 per hour. Contact him at 210-323-1748 or email@example.com.
On the horizon: Cordero and his group, Suspiro Flamenco, will perform at the Latino Music Festival at Main Plaza on Nov. 10. Suspiro Flamenco, made up of dancers, a percussionist, a singer and two guitarists, will perform sets throughout the festival, running from noon to midnight.