Juan Carlos Romero: “Being in charge of the ‘Manolo Sanlúcar’ Foundation school is an honor”

The work and artistic, humanistic and musical heritage of Manuel Muñoz Alcón ‘Manolo Sanlúcar’ (Sanlúcar de Barrameda, 1943-2022) For a few dates, he has had a foundation that will not only shelter him to safeguard his legacy, but will also promote the expansion of his knowledge through an international flamenco guitar institute that in his hometown will bear the name of this immortal artist from the world of jondo.

And under the protection of the Aura Seguros Foundation – which came to light a few dates ago and has changed the name of its flamenco division to ‘Manolo Sanlúcar’- it will be Juan Carlos Romero (Huelva, 1964)one of the most renowned disciples of the master from Sanlúcar together with Vincent Friend either Rafael Riqueniwho is in charge of “A commission that I receive with emotion and it implies and commits me to give my best to put all my will and necessary work so that he cannot feel disappointed and hopefully I can live up to his trust” as he recognized at the headquarters of the Andalusian Institute of Flamenco of the Junta de Andalucía in Seville at the start-up ceremony of the ‘Manolo Sanlúcar’ Foundation – Aura Seguros.

For the Huelva tocaor, the launch of this new entity in favor of flamenco values ​​makes two of the most important wishes of ‘Manolo Sanlúcar’ come true, such as a Foundation that “assumes the care and management of his artistic and personal legacy”, as well as a great flamenco guitar school that it was “his greatest wish and desire of the last 25 years.” For this reason, he wanted to thank “all the friends who have started this project, especially José Martínez because without him and without the strength of his faith and admiration for Manolo (Sanlúcar) it would not have been possible.”

Manolo Sanlúcar, posing for an interview with lavozdelsur.es.
Manolo Sanlúcar, posing for an interview with lavozdelsur.es. JUAN CARLOS BULL

As a good connoisseur of Manolo Sanlúcar’s committed attitude towards flamenco that “I don’t think has precedents in history or, at least, I don’t know them”, the Huelva-born guitarist highlighted the concern and generosity with which “the doors of his house to whom he arrived with the only safe-conduct of a guitar case and a restless illusion on his face” and he answered a long battery of questions to which he gave all kinds of explanations “in addition to lunch and dinner, always with the complicit support of his wife Ana, because he was that extraordinary.”

“Manolo Sanlúcar is irreplaceable and his ashes are his music and dreams, which we must safeguard in this foundation in a reflective and confident manner”

“Manolo Sanlúcar is a legend, one of the great names in the history of flamenco and one feels dizzy for such a great honor transferred” Juan Carlos Romero confessed to lavozdelsur.es escorted by his great friend Francisco Millán, who as such was with his ‘compadre’ on a “very important day for him”. “It is a historical responsibility that has been on my mind ever since,” the Huelva-born tocaor emphasized, for whom receiving the delegation of responsibility for this new school, its implementation and its development is going to be “a task that will require great dedication from me. due to the complexity of its elaboration, but it is a great honor and an enormous responsibility, for which I will always be grateful”.

In this way, thanks to the trust placed by ‘Manolo Sanlúcar’ in Juan Carlos Romero “one afternoon of his last spring in the living room of his house and that far exceeds the one that I myself may have had in myself at some point in my life”, this time there has been no room for discussion because he considers that it would be “an unforgivable disloyalty to doubt those generous words he addressed to me to continue this legacy”.

“One of the primary objectives of this new institution will be to have a vital influence on the future of flamenco music in this century”

“Manolo Sanlúcar is irreplaceable, as we can all be, but some are more so than others and his ashes are his music and dreams, which we must safeguard in this foundation in a reflective and confident manner” he stressed to us under his look full of illusion, but at the same time loaded with commitment and responsibility. “It is our obligation both at the foundation and at the international flamenco guitar institute that will bear his name – which will not be a typical academy – to keep in mind what a genius like him has been building throughout his life. he” outlined us after the presentation ceremony, emphasizing that one of the primary objectives of this new institution will be “to have a vital influence on the future of flamenco music in this century, something that we consider as opportune and pertinent, as it is imperative necessity”.

Manolo Sanlúcar, next to the statue that he has in his town.
Manolo Sanlúcar, next to the statue that he has in his town.

Therefore, the International Institute of Flamenco Guitar ‘Manolo Sanlúcar’ – which is what the teaching center that houses this new foundation will be called – will base its didactic nature on both “the humanistic training of the student, as well as the technical and musical” since his alma mater understood and maintained that upon reaching this height of sophistication and complexity of the current flamenco guitar “intuition is a tool as valuable as it is insufficient, although the curiosity and genius of a few, in many generations, has gone astonishingly far”, but to the oral transmission of our tradition In flamenco, we need to add “the knowledge and understanding of the school to which we owe our own artistic and musical behaviour”.

Thus, with the premise of “creating a complicit and responsible conscience that knows how to protect the gigantic musical, literary, artistic and human heritage that was in the blood of flamenco, its ancestry and its history, in short, in all of Andalusia that beats in it” the students who are part of this school will not only learn canon and orthodoxy, but also heterodoxy because “one does not survive without the other”, as well as discerning when a musical idea serves and nourishes the general heritage of flamenco or when it only satisfies the musical taste of the author since “the two things are legitimate and valid, you just have to know how to differentiate them”.

“Borges said that literature is a form of happiness and that it is absurd to force someone to be happy. That can be extrapolated to flamenco”

“Transmitting knowledge and skills so that the student fends for himself is the greatest inheritance that Manolo Sanlúcar taught me and I think it is essential that we follow in his footsteps” he explained to us while giving an account of personal moments lived with the teacher from Sanlúcar, who came to tell him during his apprenticeship that “what I had to do was pull the thread from my skein and I didn’t even know if it had thread, a skein or whatever, but as he told me I believed it and, in this way, I He was teaching the path that led me to myself and I do not believe that a teacher can offer a higher treasure to a disciple”.

Manolo Sanlúcar 004
Manolo Sanlúcar, posing for an interview for lavozdelsur.es – Photo: JUAN CARLOS BULL

And under these imperishable ideas transmitted from teacher to student that are the basis, Juan Carlos Romero’s mission from now on will be to lead an academic center that “will seek the most complete and authentic emotion, generating new stimuli for future generations.” ”, but under the premise of locating those who do not age in a preferential place, since classicism is currently in a fight against “momentary and ephemeral astonishment, as well as surprise, which is not a very noble ambition in art ”. “I have the increasingly present impression that some have believed that modernity consists in going against ourselves,” he confessed, emphasizing that “there is no memory more faithful to our land than flamenco, because all the ‘Andalusias’ that once were they throb in him and we must also transmit that knowledge”, along with that of the musical origin and emotional support of flamenco artistic expression: its nature and development, which “is not capricious or random, but scholastic as Manolo liked to say”.

However, and due to that constant struggle of forces that keeps the arts alive in a historical way, in response to the question that we raised about what was going to happen from now on, the idea of ​​an artist from Huelva responds more to the question of “what are we going to do?” to do, because what we let happen will happen and training, teaching, is the way to immortalize what we believe is important”. “What we prefer regarding our ideas, values ​​and knowledge, if we leave it to chance or to a small minority, depriving the majority of access to this knowledge, will have consequences that will be paid if we are not already paying for them” he sentenced us.

Manolo Sanlúcar's guitar, resting next to his coffin.
Manolo Sanlúcar’s guitar, resting next to his coffin. MANU GARCIA

Manolo Sanlúcar is a legend, one of the great names in the history of flamenco and one feels dizzy for such a great honor transferred”

For this reason, the main mission with which he indicated that this new institution was born -among the many that it has- is to consider flamenco as a “tradition” and not as the “revolution” that is so popular today, building “a vaccine against Adamism and the current prevailing narcissism, because the world cannot be built without teachers and committing the colossal clumsiness of knocking them down like anachronistic statues”. “Without them our cognitive capacity remains at a minimum” Juan Carlos Romero pointed out to us, arguing that “the moral and ethical are the only things capable of regenerating and making us better”. “Currently, we need courage and love for the truth, even knowing that it is scattered in a thousand pieces, but we must strive to rebuild it to, at least, be closer to it and also more aware of the chimerical desire to possess it” he qualified.

“Borges said that literature is a form of happiness and it is absurd to force someone to be happy and this can be extrapolated to flamenco” argued who will be the person in charge of the academic legacy of Manolo Sanlúcar and his teachings, who assures that “you have to to defend a future in which flamenco can feel recognizable because the future is forced to shine from the past, whether we like it or not”. For this reason, due to his past, to his training received as an outstanding student – and we dare to say that even a favorite – at the hands of Manolo Sanlúcar, it will be Juan Carlos Romero who takes charge of an entity “by his express wish” to his mentor and hopes “to be able to live up to the trust they have placed in me and I will work with all my strength and my best will so that wherever he is he never feels disappointed”.

Juan Carlos Romero: “Being in charge of the ‘Manolo Sanlúcar’ Foundation school is an honor”