Photos: Rafael Manjavacas & Paco Manzano
Text: Silvia Cruz Lapeña
Tribute to Morente “Morente más Morente” – Teatro Circo Price. Estrella Morente, Solea Morente, Kiki Morente, Farruquito, Tomatito, Miguel Poveda, Pepe Habichuela, …
The eloquent knot
The memorial show “Morente más Morente” began with the tribute flamenco artists gave the Granada singer on January 17th, 18th and 19th in Madrid.
The flamenco tribute to Enrique Morente began on Friday, January 17th with the always brilliant Miguel Poveda, the maestro Pepe Habichuela with Josemi Carmona, playing for José Merce and sharing the stage with Tomatito. The dancing of Eva Yerbabuena closed the first of the gala shows of this moving tribute.
On Sunday his children sang. His beloved children, Estrella, Soleá and Kiki Morente, accompanied by the whole family. Vibrant performances by the young Popo and Monty, and especially by Soleá Morente, deeply involved in her project with Los Evangelistas, and showing her full potential. The recital by Estrella Morente brought the emotion of seeing the three siblings interpret “everything Dad used to sing to us”. To end up, all the musicians closed with “Omega” and the entire audience of the Circo Price was overcome with emotion when everyone on stage turned to face the image of Morente.
Saturday the 19th was an evening of lively fiesta presented by Gran Wyoming and Juan Luis Cano of Gomaespuma. The program was strong, as was only fitting considering the person being honored. Two elements were noteworthy: the words and the cheering.
Dorantes opened the show, literally scratching the insides of his piano, reveling in his shyness and his outsized talent. “I’m better off not talking and doing what I do best” said the pianist when he was at a loss for words to describe the importance of the late Enrique. It was the same thing with everyone else. Pitingo groped for something to say, but got lost. Carmen Linares found words, perhaps because she knew the Granada singer well, and because she is easy and honest with her words, as with her singing in “La Leyenda del Tiempo” in the manner of Morente, leaving the atmosphere charged with emotion.
Tomasito didn’t even need words, he dedicated his performance to Morente, and did so with all his wit and talent, a genius at rapping. And when he danced, it was half Michael Jackson, half Bambino, but this Tomasito is incredible, undeniably deep flamenco roots, even in his wackiest, most un-flamenco songs. Along with Diego Carrasco, who only needed to appear on stage to get the audience in the palm of his hand, they brought a piece of Jerez de la Frontera to this event, and sorrow was turned inside-out.
Then came Argentina, short on words and singing right away, demonstrating that the Circo Price theater is too small for voices like hers.
Farruquito closed the night, showing off his bullfighter’s figure more than ever, and not with the usual endless heelwork to honor Morente, but just barely grazing the floor, marking his steps with extreme precision. He appeared smug and pleased with himself, but danced little, just one dance and the fiesta finale.
Between Argentina and the dancer, came Arcángel who deserves a whole separate chapter. His voice was perfectly fine-tuned, and his heart was in it all the time, with all the dignity required by the moment. Some people use funerals to celebrate life, while others feel they are a time for mourning. Arcángel is of the latter, perhaps that is why each note brought a tear, he did incredible arabesques with his voice and became a living elegy for the maestro. He sang a fandango of Alosno that was finished off standing and without amplification, gazing upon the huge portrait of Enrique Morente that dominated the stage. He was the best, no doubt about it, the most moving, the most perfectly tuned, the most appropriate and elegant. Everyone at the tribute put their heart and soul into it, but that’s not always enough. Arcángel put his very existence.
It was an evening of tribute and remembering, which is why it would be wrong to point out defects of some of the artists. But applause is always a good substitute for words. Although the audience doesn’t always get it right, there is a subconscious wisdom inherent in every ovation. Oddly enough, Pitingo was received with louder cheering at the beginning than when he left the stage. With Carmen Linares it was the opposite; she was received with lukewarm applause, but the audience was left standing and cheering. And then there’s Farruquito whose mere appearance on stage got the audience whipped into a frenzy, and then dancing, showing there are worlds of dance in his body; he was rewarded with the warmth of the spectators.
Sometimes, in order to find the right words, you just have to look for them. Applause is more complicated. But if the object was to find the emotion, Gran Wyoming got it right. He always has just the right words ready, and for a few seconds he was so moved he was unable to speak: the knot in his throat was eloquent and is a far better measure than any words could express of the importance of the artist who left us three years ago.
Tributo a Morente – Familia Morente – final