Tempo Rubato. Voice: Mayte Martín. Festival Flamenco On Fire. August 21st, 2018. Auditorio Baluarte de Pamplona. Two-thirds full.
At first, there’s laughter, the annoyance of not getting it right the first time around, just what you’re trying to achieve, and perhaps a few disproportionate tears that stop when a friendly hand appears to help, or the dream uses itself up. And it’s over. Then, you fall in love and experience the madness of it all, the ecstasy, the lack of control brought about by feeling through someone else. Then, all that falls apart and suddenly you realize what life is about.
The end of love is the first emotion that puts you in your place. It bowls you over more than any other, it’s the most intense, the most humanizing and the most inspiring. It’s also the most intimate, the one which portrays us most accurately.
Which is why Tempo Rubato, an audible diary in the form of a sentimental biography of Mayte Martín, and with which the Festival Flamenco On Fire opened on Tuesday, is probably her most personal piece of work. Because the artist opens up completely and leaves wide open the doors of her room so that the audience may accompany her in her loneliness, and lie in bed with her and embrace her if need be. Showing her vulnerability with no complexes.
An exquisite piece of emotional and musical craftsmanship in which Mayte is inevitably present in the backroom of each verse, in the anguished sounds, in those suspended notes that no longer aspire to anything…
An impeccable work of extreme delicacy in which the seven incredible musicians who accompanied her offered sensitivity and good taste in each song, with just the right intensity in each melody, generating a wonderfully anguished climax.
The “sketch”, as the Catalonian singer described it herself, was painted by a profound, creative, tender and inspired Belén Maya who gave us precious dance pieces in which Mayte’s voice seemed to be filtered through her hands and body.
Especially moving was her interpretation of Gardel’s tango Sus Ojos se Cerraron, in which the tension transmitted by the dancer electrified the audience. Or the song Si te he Visto no me Acuerdo, in which the long train of her dress seemed to let loose the worst of this world, while pulling along only the beauty for herself alone.
And thus, in this atmosphere of absolute complicity…”well, I think you’re all heading home content” joked Mayte Martín…we were taken through her life-long repertoire with some moments, such as in No me Maltrates la Vida, Música de mi Locura and Antes de ti, that dug into the depths and forced you to gulp.
As far as flamenco, for those who are expecting it, there’s none in this work other than what Mayte Martín has in her throat. The sound of her voice, the truth of her singing and her way of delivering it. This is why she intelligently thanked the festival for “having considered that what there is of flamenco in this recording, which is me, is worthy of being here tonight”. And we’re also happy if it serves to make this woman known and introduces people to flamenco via her work.
From despair to splendor
After Mayte Martín’s performance at the Baluarte, the Ciclo Nocturno got underway at the Hotel Tres Reyes with dancer Gema Moneo who delighted the audience with her temperamental savage style.
A visceral offering, perhaps a little too improvised, in which the Jerez dancer appeared at times over the top and accelerated, putting the focus on her footwork and forgetting the serene search for balance. Nevertheless, the audience applauded her edgy flamenco strength.
Photos Mayte Martín & Belén Maya. (by Rafael Manjavacas)
Photos Gema Moneo (by: Rafael Manjavacas)