José Manuel Gómez Gufi
The stage full of guitars, lutes and bandurrias. Mario Mas comes on with his father Javier Mas, who seems more at ease in the role of accompanist than major player. It’s an intimate concert reserved for guitar in the tradition of the barber musicians and guitarists Manolo de Huelva and Javier Molina Cundi.
Mario explains that barber shops were places of social encounter where the use and enjoyment of bandurrias and guitars were cultivated; that’s something the generation of rock and roll never took into account, the Beatles, Credence and the Stones who always look at barbers like the enemy.
The concert began with soleá, and Mario went back to Ziryab who added a string to the lute in Córdoba in the 9th century, which is when you realize the symbolic value of Leonard Cohen on his knees at his concerts in front of the bandurria of Javier Mas. Cohen paid tribute to the musician and the tradition of the instrument. Remember his speech devoted to the flamenco guitar upon receiving the Principe de Asturias award, for that alone he deserved the Nobel for literature.
Javier presented a piece he composed for María del Mar Bonet, and went on to Manuel de Falla, and so it went. discovering the connection between folklore and classical music in a living-room chat while the musicians tuned up instruments that seemed taken from a museum.
The project they debuted is a tribute to the guitar itself, a historic X-ray of one of the accompaniment techniques of these musicians at the service of other stars. In the siguiriyas, poet Miguel Ángel Feria appeared to take over from the guitar, the lute and the archilaud that looked like something from science fiction. And once again, Javier interpreted a composition of his own that he had created for Enrique Morente.
The poet returned for sevillanas, this time to do percussion on the box that stores his guitars, and thus we arrived at the acknowledgements and an encore dedicated to a song by singer-composer Paco Ibáñez. An incomparable evening.
THE GUITAR AS A SYMBOL
The guitar is the centerpiece of the symbols of the 5th Festival Flamenco Madrid, and anyone might have thought it would be logical to program some sort of tribute to Paco de Lucía, and also a big solo guitar concert by any of his apostles or the creators who lived from decade to decade in his shadow. A tribute to his contemporaries Manolo Sanlúcar and Serranito (still active as seen in the gala of the Teatro Flamenco Madrid), we would all have paid tribute to Gerardo Núñez or Rafael Riqueni. Flamenco guitarists linked to Madrid? There are a hundred of them, top-of-the-line. No discussion.
More guitar needs to be programmed, it’s the instrument that universalizes flamenco in several worlds, including our own.