Yerai Cortés was born in Alicantinas, grows up in a humble family that lives flamenco in a homemade way. With the support of his mother and the teaching of his father who put the music in his hands, he has been able to play worldwide in important theaters and share the stage with artists such as Rancapino, Farruquito, Richard Bona, El Guadiana, Jorge Pardo, Pitingo , among others.
Interview Yerai Cortés
“For me tablao means a game, a jam session”
«I was born and raised in Alicante although my family is from Andalusia and I started playing because my father plays the guitar and he was the one who taught me. I started playing the cajón to accompany him and he would take me to the stage when I was a little boy at the end of the fiesta of the tablaos where he works in Alicante. I was asleep and I woke up for the end of the party and went up to touch the drawer. Until I started playing the guitar with ten or eleven years old. The truth is that I caught it late, but that was the moment. From there I took the guitar and started studying it with my father and in a self-taught way. Well, before I met Norman [Contreras] in some classes of drawer to which my mother inscribed me in a social center. The teacher was Norman, who is now my godfather. We took a lot of trust and connection and I took him to the house. Finally my father, my mother and he became compadres. Moreover, he baptized me, he is my real godfather of baptism. After that, my father puts the guitar in my hands. My godfather opened a tablao and that was the first place where I started playing the guitar. My father was my influence on the guitar itself, but my godfather was my influence at the dance. He is the one that made me so fond of dancing until today.
»From then on I started working professionally at the tablao when I was 14, when I started to run the house. Until I arrived in Madrid and left the flamenco guitar to work in a bar in the Plaza Mayor cutting lemons and carrying a mini-program of weekend concerts for which I called to play the four that I knew. It was a pop concept, more songy or modern, so to speak. I spent some time working with Sandra Carrasco, whom I met at that time because she was a friend of Tania, my girl. I came to Madrid for my girl, for love. Sandra gave me the opportunity to work in Madrid with her and we also toured with Richard Bona. As a result of that I went sometimes to the Tablao de Las Carboneras because Tacha is from there, from Elche, and I knew her because she had once been to my godfather’s tablao because they knew each other. I went to see her a couple of times at the tablao Las Carboneras and I left drunk from there, she always reminds me of it. She laughed a lot because I had a great time and I loved it. I was very excited to work there, until one day she gave me the opportunity to work in the tablao. It was the first tablao in which I began to work in Madrid. After that, the truth is that everything went super fluid because they started calling me from a tablao, from another, then the dancers themselves who did their solo projects … In short, very well, the truth is that very happy.
»One of the jobs that I highlight most in my career is being able to work with Richard Bona, who is a heavyweight and a huge musician that I admire very much. And now I’m working with Farruquito, who I’ve known practically since I’ve had use of reason, although not personally but artistically. I have learned a lot from him and today I work with him and for me it is a dream. Thanks, Madrid.
»For me tablao means a game, a jam session, it is to have the freedom to be able to play what you feel like in the moment and to be able to share with colleagues. Definetely, is a game, I would summarize it in that. A game that is also a training that keeps you always in shape, intuition develops and is even a way to find yourself because you are trying new things or you are putting yourself to the test with what dancer or singer. As everyone sings and dances in their own way and they are all very personal, you put yourself to the test to follow them and understand them at the last moment. In short, is a game. It’s a Play Station, I do not know how to explain it ».