The Brooklyn Rail

OCT 2022

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OCT 2022 Issue
The Miraculous The Miraculous: Music

23. 1950-1992, Spain

Leaves school at 12 to sing in the streets
for coins that buy bread, milk, and cigarettes.
At 16, departs his isla for Málaga and the Taberna Gitana.
A few months later he’s in Madrid
launching his historic collaboration with Paco de Lucia.
Soon they are stars on the flamenco festival circuit.
At 29, he records Legend of Time, fusing cante jondo
with drums, bass, keyboard, cocaine, electric guitar and heroin.
Although the experimental LP sells poorly, he can still fill sports stadiums.
To his last cancer-eroded breath,
this tortured cantaor drags his ancient art into the 20th century.
Puristas scream, but everywhere he carries
his musical diploma with him:
on his left hand a tattoo
of a Star of David and a Muslim Crescent Moon.

(Camarón de la Isla)

Contributor

Raphael Rubinstein

Raphael Rubinstein is the author of The Miraculous (Paper Monument, 2014) and A Geniza (Granary Books, 2015). He is currently writing a book about the Jewish-Egyptian writer Edmond Jabès. A Professor of Critical Studies at the University of Houston School of Art, he divides his time between Houston and New York.

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The Brooklyn Rail

OCT 2022

All Issues