José Manuel Gómez Gufi
Francisco Contreras Niño de Elche has apologized to guitarist Paco Vidal by way of this writer: “I understand that he’s annoyed (Paco Vidal) about not being presented, from here I wish to repeat my apology in the name of the directors of the Fernán Gómez theater”, wrote the man from Elche in an interview via mail.
During the official presentation of the 5th Festival Flamenco Madrid, and after the customary speaking by members of the table, a guitar-maker from Ramírez began making a guitar accompanied by the live music of Paco Vidal. The performance was interrupted by the director of the Fernán Gómez theater who neither asked permission nor did he apologize to the guitar-maker (whose name we do not know), nor to the musician who wasn’t even presented to those present.
The incident is of interest for two reasons. Firstly, because artists must ALWAYS be defended (if you don’t like someone, just don’t go see them), and secondly because it’s the first time El Niño de Elche has made a public apology (as far as we know). I’m a firm defender of the artistic options of Francis Contreras, I’ve defended him publicly and privately. And the program he designed for this festival seems to be more interesting than Niño de Elche’s own career, a singer whose central role has eclipsed a brave program from which I would highlight the following:
TOMAS DE PERRATE. (May 16th) If any singer in the 21st century connects everyone’s sensibility, that is Tomás de Perrate, certainly one of those children who appears on the video recording with his father Perrate in a memorable episode of “Rito y Geografía del Cante”. Tomás has three recordings that need to be heard, the most interesting one of all: “Infundio” produced by Rycardo Moreno. The importance of the record (seen as a possible harbinger of the future), wasn’t enough to keep the recording company from going out of business. You know how it goes, we don’t buy many records.
TOMASITO. (May 14th). If you don’t know him, get over to his concert. And if you already know him, how come you’re not running to buy a ticket? Tomás Moreno is quintessential, a prodigy. The only man capable of making Wynton Marsalis smile. Tomás is rhythm in three dimensions, the holder of the most valued secret of Jerez bulerias, the feel of the Santiago neighborhood capable of becoming the perfect (?) sidekick of El Torta de Lavapiés. Essential, rock musician and friend. Tomasito represents everything that’s good about flamenco and the best of rock and rap. From something good, the best, and if you haven’t heard him sing the siguiriyas of Borrico on the record metaflamenco of Jorge Pardo, well…like I said…run!
LA CHIRIGOTA DEL SELU (May 19th)
It’s funny that journalist Victor Lenore (previously indie, now in search of the Holy Grail of the essence, celebrated author of the book “Indies, Hipster y Gafapuestas”) appears as flamenco to point out that “chirigotas” aren’t flamenco and neither are Los Planetas. Okay, chirigotas make you laugh more than cry, it’s very interesting to point out. The writer believes in universal karma, especially if the focus is Cádiz, so for every siguiriya heard, the cosmos pushed us towards tanguillo, pasodoble and chirigota. Mostly to make up for the telluric powers of the galaxy that are limping ever since flamenco was declared a world cultural heritage.
RAFAEL JIMÉNEZ FALO (May 23rd). This is a singer who has been participating in the flamenco jazz adventure, and who in this publication, in an interview with Manuel Moraga, said in 2011: “When I got to Madrid around the 1990’s, it was very disappointing what was going on with flamenco singing. For example, in one terrific performance with the maestro José Antonio Galicia with Pedro Sarmiento, I was very open to music, enjoying it all…but when it came time for the flamenco singing, all the musicians left the room and we were all alone, the guitarist and singer. And I said ‘my God, why are we so mean with the singing?’…wonderful musicians who, when it came time for the singing, I don’t know under whose influence, maybe because of that thing that flamenco singing is untouchable, didn’t participate, and that turned into a repetition of what had been done before. I thought that was awful”.
JAVIER MAS Y MARIO MAS (May 25th)
Whatever they do, father and son, you can be sure it’ll be worthwhile and we’ll end up on our knees like Leonard Cohen in front of a bandurria. Let me explain. When Morente did Omega with Lorca and Cohen (1995), at the same time Leonard checked into a Buddhist temple in California, and when he came out of his retirement he realized his fortune had been cleaned out by his manager (and ex-partner), having a positive effect: several tours in which Javier Mas was one of the central figures (and before him Cohen kneeled while Javier played a bandurria). Javier Mas is one of the greats of guitar (you know we need an outsider to come and say it). Mario Mas is his son, and we’ve enjoyed him in recent years in projects with Raúl Rodríguez. No matter what they play or do…we’re Cohen.
JUAN CARLOS LERIDA (May 21st). Sometimes we’re left with the most spectacular image. For me it was it was made in New York with Lérida interpreting “un bicho con cuernos”. When a dancer makes an impression, the best thing you can do is go see him again.
RAÚL CANTIZANO (May 21st). This is a contemporary guitarist…he was already “modern” before collaborating in the projects of Francisco Contreras.
ANDRÉS MARÍN (May 22nd). Of all our contemporary dancers, Marín is the most complete. In addition to becoming Quijote, he also sings. His moment.
LOS VOLUBLE (May 22nd)
They have the most definitive electronic audiovisual project we’ve seen in recent years. They’ve collaborated with Niño de Elche and Rocío Márquez and it’s always been interesting. “Flamenco is no crime”.
LOS PLANETAS (May 29th). Ninety-nine out of a hundred flamenco fans want nothing to do with this Granada group that has seduced various generations of followers of pop music. If you’re a fan of Los Planetas, you may not be at all interested in their flamenco facet. On the other hand, if you’re into flamenco, it’s for sure your point of view and friends are all into it…doing nothing. That’s the challenge.
The flamenco follower can look over the complete program in search of favorite artists. A rather maddening affair on the handbill put out by the Madrid city hall. A festival is about bringing a certain type of music to people and, sometimes, designers don’t help.