This morning, the Deputy Mayor for Culture, Ginés Campillo, revealed what will be the main concert of the summer in Mazarrón, the performance of José Mercé. The Jerez-born cantaor, national star of jondo art, will fill Mazarron’s night on Friday, July 30 with a duende on a stage with its own charm, the Erosiones de Bolnuevo.
Campillo could only show his satisfaction “for joining the Mares de Papel program, the name of a great among the greats of flamenco who has managed to convey like few others that this art is for all audiences without undermining its purity”. The mayor recalled that the tickets for Mercé’s performance “are free and that a prior reservation will have to be made on the website of the Department of Culture.” They will be available fifteen days before, on Thursday July 15 at 0:00.
José Mercé, pure art
With 19 albums published since his debut in 1968, José Mercé has kept the pure essence of cante and mixed it with flamenco versions by Manu Chao, Luis Eduardo Aute, Víctor Jara, Louis Armstrong, Pablo Milanés, the Pop Tops and Joan Manuel Serrat , to position himself as a key artist in Spanish music, breaking frontiers and taking his music not only to the flamenco audience, but also to a younger, pop-loving audience.
José Soto Soto (José Mercé) is the great-grandson of Paco Luz and nephew of Manuel Soto “Sordera”, patriarch of Jerez flamenco. After singing as a child in the Escolanía of the Basilica of La Merced in his city (that’s where the artistic name comes from), his first artistic steps were taken in the Flamenco Thursdays of Jerez and in the Cádiz tablao La Cueva del Pájaro Azul. At the age of 13 he arrived in Madrid (“He earned 500 pesetas a day singing in Torres Bermejas,” he says) to record his first album produced by Manuel Ríos Ruiz. He was in the company of Antonio Gades, participated in 1981 in the film Bodas de sangre, by Carlos Saura, collaborated with the National Ballet, won the National Flamenco Art Contest of Córdoba in 1986, worked again with Saura in the film Flamenco en nineteen ninety five…
José Mercé made his debut in 1968 with the album Cultura jonda Bandera de Andalucía. Years later came important works such as Verde junco (1983) together with Tomatito and Enrique de Melchor, Caminos reales del cante (1987), Hondas roots (1991) and Desnudando el alma (1994). In 1998 he began his leap to popularity with the album Delmanecer, produced by guitarist Vicente Amigo, achieving unprecedented success in flamenco that continued with Aire (2000) that reached Double Platinum and Lío (2002), which he himself Mercé defines it as “an album made with the heart”. Later came Confí de fuá (2004), Lo que no se da (2006), a Greatest hits (2007), Noise (2010), My only key (2012) and I give the face (2016). In February 2010, Mercé received the Medal of Andalusia, an honorary distinction that recognizes the merits of the cantaor, the Taranto de Oro or the Compás del Cante awarded by the Cruzcampo Foundation (2016) to the greatest exponents of flamenco.
With more than 800,000 records sold in the last 15 years, the Jerez-born cantaor is an artist who has managed to convey like few others that flamenco is for everyone, taking it to the maximum popularity without losing essence or depth. José Mercé is the truth of flamenco brought to large audiences, especially since in 1998 he published Delmanecer, an album that, according to flamencologist José Manuel Gamboa, “turned José Mercé into a mass artist, placing him at the head of the jonda move ”.