Calixto Sanchez Marin is another great talent to come from Mairena de Alcor; unfortunately his contribution to the flamenco of this town has been somewhat over shadowed by the legend of Antonio Mairena.
Born in 1946, he was to start his early life training to be a teacher, a skill he used later in life when he collaborated as a teacher in the Cristina Heeren Flamenco Foundation.
He won his first recognition in the 1965 concurso in his hometown in the Cantes de Levantes section, and this set him on a path of a career that is still going strong today.
During the 1970’s and ‘80s he was a regular performer on the festival circuit, picking up many prizes along the way, including the first Giraldillo del Cante during the 1980 bienal in Seville.
In 1990 he became the director of the Centro Andaluz de Flamenco, a post he held for eleven years, and during his long career he has worked with some of the finest guitarists including Pedro Bácan and Melchor de Marchena.
He once said that he was so shy when he was younger that when he was asked to sing in a bar for the first time, he did so from behind a screen.
Today, any inhibitions he had have long since dissolved, as he is another of the most respected singers around at present and to watch him perform a martinete at a festival is an experience that will leave most people flabbergasted.
He has spent the last few years adapting the works of the great poets into flamenco song.
Calixto Sanchez is one of the most popular festival performers, his poetic works being the highlight of many festivals; his working of Antonio Machado’s La Lola se va a los puertos, to the style of the flamenco alegria has become a classic.
He is a strong believer and promoter of the flamenco competitions, as he believes that these are where the real talent lies, and he should know because he has made his name through concursos and festivals, and not on the commercial merry-go-round of television and radio.
When he sings the works of Antonio Machado or Villalón unaccompanied on a festival stage it makes you realize that Calixto Sanchez is truly one of today’s great flamenco singers.
Castillo de Luna1991.
Antonio Machado Retrato Flamenco.