Flamenco Biënnale Nederland 2019 Program
Text: José Manuel Gómez Gufi / photos: Marjon Broeks
La Tremendita exits the stage leaving Pablo Martín Jones furiously beating out rhythm while bassist Juanfe Pérez tries to find the strings and scales of Jimi Hendrix. The audience breaks silence for the first time – or maybe they’re in shock – they get up from their seats with a harmonious roar over the concert they just saw.
Three hours earlier I arrived in Amsterdam and it’s snowing, my trip to the 7th Flamenco Biënnale begins on the light side, I confused my luggage with that of another passenger and as I was about to have a nervous breakdown, the girlfriend of said passenger untangled the mess. After that I put myself in the hands of Mister Google Maps to arrive at Bimhuis, the concert hall where Tremendita was appearing. There are few people in the street, the occasional car, a bicycle. The snowflakes give a feeling of evanescent calm. Suddenly, I’m attacked by the familiar aroma coming from a bar that seems more like Jamaica than the land of Juan Valdés. I cross fabled streets, canals and a streetcar station, then passing by an industrial zone of warehouses, I go up the escalator and on the other side of the road I see written on the wall in huge letters, BIMHUIS. You see the lights of a stage. The place is gigantic, the cafeteria is bustling, I assume it’s the intermission, and when I get to the right room Rosario is on “Enemigo que Huye Puente de Plata” .
After a while, she addresses the audience with a Triana accent and runs down the songs interpreted one by one; from the reaction to the little jokes, I gather that fewer than ten percent of the audience speak Spanish. The space is nearly full and those present listen in an almost religious silence. La Tremendita has had great successes several times in this Bienal, and was present in the inauguration of “Quijote” of Andrés Marín. So here, in the Netherlands, people are more aware than anyone of the evolution (and Rosario’s capability).
This year I’ve seen Rosario in four different contexts, we added the videos of the live recording “Delirium Tremens” and the “tremendous” performance on Canal Sur with a picket line of grandmothers who reacted with almost “punk” enthusiasm to the interpretation of “Valeriana”, and we discovered an artist capable of mutating with the music and the musicians, while still being a hundred percent flamenco. She deconstructed tientos dedicated to Enrique Morente and which turned out to the be same composition that opens her amazing record “Delirium Tremens”. In other words, Rosario isn’t afraid to experiment with sounds because she does everything from inside flamenco (like Morente), with the advantage with respect to the “Omegas” that she travels light, although at times it seems like she complains about carrying the bass and the guitar on her shoulder, pulling along a suitcase with wheels, and then the sassy comment comes out: “it was so much easier with my mantilla”.
Carriers aside, you get the feeling Tremendita is going to break more ceilings (of flamenco, the glass kind) when people realize what is within reach). For the moment, Amsterdam left no doubt, I still remember that roar of pleasure.