If there is a universal rumba, surely it is Between two waters, published by Paco de Lucía in 1973 as part of the album Fuente y Caudal and that the genius of Algeciras composed it “de rebote”.

Entre dos aguas. Imagen de la Fundación Paco de Lucía.

Entre dos aguas. Imagen de la Fundación Paco de Lucía.

When the LP Fuente y caudal was released in 1973, sales were very poor, not even 300 records. But there was one track on it, Entre dos aguas, in which his manager, the journalist Jesús Quintero, had great confidence. His instincts did not fail him.

Quintero convinced the record company (Philips) to release it separately, as a single. So it came out again in 1974. Its success was unimaginable, even more so for a flamenco song. It spent several weeks in the charts, and became a gold single in ’76 with over 300,000 copies sold. Paco de Lucía, however, never played it in the same way again. Not only did he cover it with John McLaughlin and re-released it in ’81 with a different “feel”, but he has varied it with each performance.

We recommend you read this post about the Catalan rumba.

Entre dos aguas. Paco de Lucía.

The inspiration of Sinatra and Las Grecas

This rumba was not included in the album Fuente y caudal. Paco de Lucía was urgently asked to add something to the LP to fill the remaining empty minutes of the album. He composed it quickly and almost improvised, with a draft he had somewhere.

Paco tells it like this in the documentary La Búsqueda: “Right there, in the studio, I called a bass and a bongo, totally improvised, for the first time in my career and in flamenco, in the manner of jazz musicians”.

“I feel free playing the rumba, because there is no tradition in rumbas and you can do whatever you want,” he told journalist Rosa Montero.

Paco himself confirmed that the song of Las Grecas Te estoy amando locamente, by Las Grecas, was an inspiration for his rumba. Juan José Téllez, in his book Paco de Lucía, el hijo de la portuguesa, adds that also the rumba version of Fly on the Moon by Fran Sinatra played by a friend of the algecireño, José Luis Marín.

Technically, this is what it looks like

Entre dos aguas is a theme that is usually in the scores of those who learn flamenco guitar. The reason is that the scale “E minor Harmonic (E)” is used, although it is more common in a granaína than in a rumba.

An important novelty is that the palmas are replaced by the bongo, something that had not been seen before, and that the electric bass is used, another surprise for the flamenco orthodoxy. But there is more, and it is in its rhythm and tone.

To explain this better, we look at an article by guitarist Toni Subirana.

The piece is recognizable from its first two notes because of the dialogue between the basses and the fifth and sixth strings in the air. This was followed by the bongos, an instrument that from then on would become practically indispensable in rumbas pieces. The second guitar of his brother, Ramón de Algeciras, provides a subtle accompaniment. Alternate the A minor seventh chord with the B minor seventh chord. This provides a gentle harmony as a base for Paco de Lucía’s guitar, which attacks the first notes with force and then enters into a calmer discourse that is not without emotion”.

Subirana continued:

“The second part of the piece is marked by a voluntarily abrupt change that inaugurates a new chord pattern. Over this, a more joyful melody, with some phrases that the artist executes at breakneck speed”.

In La guitarra en el tiempo, the show by guitarist Santiago Lara, special mention is made of great masters of the flamenco guitar who managed to change this majestic instrument, such as Ramon Montoya, Sabicas, Niño Ricardo, Paco de Lucía, Manolo Sanlúcar, etc.