2008 NÎMES FLAMENCO FESTIVAL
MIGUEL POVEDA • CHANO LOBATO • ROCÍO
Of maestros and disciples
Silvia Calado. Nîmes, January 26th, 2008
Flamenco de Nîmes 2008. Photo gallery, by Daniel
(with Chano Lobato, Miguel Poveda, Rocío Molina)
Friday, January 25th. Miguel
Poveda (cante) with Chicuelo (guitar) and El
Londro and Carlos Grilo (clapping). Saturday, January
26th. Chano Lobato (cante) with Niño
de la Manuela (guitar) / ‘Almario’, Rocío
Molina Company: Leo Triviño and Emilio
Florido (cante), Paco Cruz, Juan Requena (guitar), Sergio
Martínez (percussion), Guadalupe Torres and Vanesa
Coloma (clapping). 2008 Nîmes Flamenco Festival.
Théâtre, Nîmes (France), 9 p.m.
Chano Lobato and Niño
de la Manuela (Photo Daniel Muñoz) |
Olé, Chano. Olé, Chano.
And you can’t stop saying it. Not as long as the
Cádiz-born maestro has that little spark of strength
left to make it to the center of the stage. Not as long
as he’s able to cross one country and reach another
– after half a day’s journey by train, plane
and bus – just to give more of his art to whoever
wants it. And he was welcomed in Nîmes with wide-open
arms, with one of those ovations that raises the temperature.
In compensation, the cantaor offered a stint of Cádiz
cantaor anthology, pampered on toque by Niño de
la Manuela. And the thing is that although he’s
a maestro, he never stops recalling those who preceded
him, like Aurelio
Sellés por soleá, like Ignacio Espeleta
and Manolo Vargas por cantiñas, like the chirigota
of Las Viejas Ricas por tanguillos... To which he added
his ‘know-how’ in tientos-tangos and in that
genre he’s so good at which is that of telling anecdotes.
The city’s Roman amphitheater reminded him of the
time when he wanted to be a bullfighter to bring up his
sisters well. “And imagine how badly that cow beat
me up, that it even ripped the heels off my shoes. Let
my sisters go to the soup kitchen. It’s really hard
to be a bullfighter. But a cantaor...”. And it also
is, but he does a magic trick for it not to seem to be.
Because you have to see him standing there, singing, without
a mike and dancing por bulerías. And then leave
clinging to the guitarist’s arm like a crippled
little old man. The stage performs the miracle of breathing
life into him... the same that he breathes into the stage.
Who needs medicine?
Miguel Poveda (Photo
It is not surprising then, with examples
like that, that there are young flamencos who give it
their all at the theaters. And there were two examples
in the home stretch of the festival. After his performance,
that of Rocío Molina. And the previous night, that
Poveda with a solo recital... which he had to perform
despite a cold which he’d brought with him, precisely,
from “the blessed land of Cádiz”. The
young cantaor, recently awarded the 2007 National Music
Prize, stuck to a classic format. Accompanied by the efficient,
involved guitar of Chicuelo,
plus the Jerez clapping of (the generous) Londro and Carlos
Grilo, he offered a concert with his usual quality and
good taste. The epilogue, using a pre-recorded background
tone, consisted of unaccompanied cantes. Martinetes. Pregones.
He conversed alone with the cante, with a chilling effect.
Then with the guitar beside him, he did a somewhat more
withdrawn cante, winding his voice. Not without first
praising the venue, “where I know there’s
huge respect for flamenco”, he moved on towards
the alegrías which he told more than he sang at
many instants, in the style of maestro Chano. And that
hoarseness he picked up lying on the sand of La Caleta
gave it an old-time aftertaste. He used the malagueña
to catch his breath, finely sketching out the phases until
the verdial de Vallejo, that of the murmuring. Then comes
the night’s climax. Chicuelo starts up with his
guitar, cheered on by the audience... and appearing all
of a sudden is Diego
Carrasco, who is an institution here. With his image
and unclassifiable art, Miguel Poveda begins a dialogue.
‘Alfileres de colores’ brings madness to the
theater. And the reference to bullfighting continues in
the soleá, with that verse by Bergamín which
Morente likes so much. Half gold. Half silver. And he
has a bout with his hoarseness, but he wants more rounds.
First, tientos-tangos, old-style. Then, the coplas remix.
And then at the end, bulerías. He’d already
warned that he intended “to leave my soul, because
I don’t know how to do it any other way”.
(Photo Daniel Muñoz) |
Molina did the same thing the following day, although
she came at her peak. The Málaga-born bailaora
closed the festival with ‘Almario’, which
she premiered at Festival de Jerez 2007. And the truth
is that this girl’s sureness, perfection and intensity
are overwhelming. The show is nothing more than a simple
- but well-conceived - setting to give free rein to the
dance of this artist who is growing by leaps and bounds.
And she can do so because she has already surpassed technique,
to which she adds creativity and, to give it a name, flamenco
flavor. If you pay attention, she is constantly referring
to the roots. The taranto with castanets and her hair
let down smacks of Fernanda Romero. The seguiriya in a
bata de cola, Pilar
López. The soleá with a shawl... But
they are just aromas, since she floods it all with her
personal way of attacking baile. And she might just as
easily do a vibrant zapateado as start to border on parody,
as go barefoot and, with her body just covered with a
black leotard, get abstract and really avant-garde. She
is followed to the letter without any breathers or neglect
by her accompanists, the two guitarists Paco Cruz and
Juan Requena, the two cantaores Leo Triviño and
Emilio Florido and two effective clappers. And without
that ‘group’ attitude the Málaga-born
artist’s show wouldn’t be possible, since
it adds extreme musicality to everything aforementioned,
which she translates with every part of her body and which
applies not just to the rhythm, but also the echoes, the
tones, the climates. She left Nîmes dazzled. That’s
the way young flamencos are... because they have maestros
like the ones they have.