‘The Final Curtain Call’ by Zoolon
‘I met a white man who walked a black dog
I met a young woman whose body was burning
I met a young girl, she gave me a rainbow
I met one man who was wounded in love
I met another man who was wounded in hatred’
Bob Dylan from the song ‘A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall’
I was having my hair cut the other day. The barber who comes from a country a long way away asks me if I’m the ‘musician bloke’. I verified that that was possibly me. So, even though he’s got a load of people sat there waiting for a haircut, he goes and gets his flamenco guitar from out the back. He tells me he’s been playing for 15 years or more. He takes a seat. He plays guitar. Sublime music. Made me shiver. He lets me have a go. Flamenco’s not my specialty but I do OK.
Then he tells why he took up the flamenco guitar. Where he came from is a country where the regular people live in fear – I’ll not name him or the country; it doesn’t feel right. Anyway, his older cousin back when was heralded as the ‘best flamenco guitarist in the land’ but the government had censored his kind of music. He got taken away, tortured for weeks on end then shot dead – just for being a musician! All true, by the way – no fiction. The barber took up playing guitar in honour of his cousin and to put up two fingers at the regime that killed him.
The story inspired me to write these words. I’ll have to grow my fingernails seriously long and brush up my flamenco technique if I’m ever going to get a song out of it. It sings more like an audio poem or nearly a rap right now.
In faraway places he puts on a show
Picado style, tirando and tremolo
The maestro with his cedarwood guitar
Played flamenco style, in the café tea total bar
They say he was the best musician in all the land
Acclaimed, adored, always played on demand
But suddenly his world went cold and dark
When from the shadows came an oligarch
Got told flamenco ‘violated good taste and decency’
Locked him up, tortured him, sadistically
At first light in a courtyard up against a wall
Shots rang out, he took his final curtain call
It happened then, it’s still happening now
The Crescent Moon fights with an ‘up for it’ Holy Cow
The ghetto’s Star of David never castes any light
One less artist on the stage tonight
His god forsake him when he was most alone
Where his body lies?
In a place unknown
Here’s an example of flamenco guitar from the great Yannick Lebossé.
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