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16th Festival de Jerez. VORS Manuel Moneo, Capullo de Jerez, El Torta, Fernando de la Morena, Luis el Zambo

March 3, 2012

16th Festival de Jerez 2012

Jerez al cante "VORS”
Friday, March 2th, 2012. 9:00pm. Jerez de la Frontera



Text: Estela Zatania
Photos: Ana Palma (photo gallery)


Sala Compañía, 7:00pm

Dance: Eduardo Guerrero. Cante: Antonio “El Pulga”, Miguel Londro. Guitar: Andrés Martínez, Óscar Lagos, Percussion: Raúl Botella. Guest artist: Pasión Vega.

We’ve seen it many times.  A seasoned veteran of the best dance companies who is a polished performer dedicated to his profession decides to strike out on his own.  This is the profile of the type of artist featured at the Sala Compañía within the series “Los Novísimos” of the Festival de Jerez.  But what often happens is that between the intent and the reality, some link is missing and the endeavour fails.  I don’t know whether to keep putting the blame on the theater’s limitations, or if the transition from corps de ballet to leader of one’s own group is just harder than it appears on the surface.

Festival de Jerez - Ana Palma

Cádiz dancer Eduardo Guerrero is a fine dancer, but he tries too hard to emulate current fashions and stars.  He begins and ends his work “De Dolores” bare-chested, changes costume in view of the audience, indulges in extremely long silences during which he plays with props or dances fragments of choreographies to new age music…sound familiar?  But then dressed in a vintage flamenco costume, he danced a caña in which the only surprise was the classic format with outdated accelerations that begged for applause.

Tangos danced to the voices of singers Londro and Pulga, which could have been an interesting moment, was frittered away with a series of aggressive percussive movements.  After a vocal solo by Pulga, the dancer returned with some bulerías from his hometown which morphed into alegrías.  It’s admirable Guerrero wants to promote Cádiz flamenco, but he forgot its most important virtue: subtlety, opting for a style that was gymnastics in compás.

The appearance of lyrical singer Pasión Vega is as unexpected as out of place, but the audience loves the sentimental play between voice and dance.  A siguiriya with the dancer dressed in shiny metallic stretch pants with long chains, and again bare-chested at the end, was the finish of this experimental work of a young dancer who deserves the chance to find a better formula for displaying his talents.

Teatro Villamarta 9.00 pm

Cante: Manuel Agujetas, Manuel Moneo, Capullo de Jerez, El Torta, Fernando de la Morena, Luis Zambo. Guitar: Niño Jero “Periquín”, Fernando Moreno, Barullito, Manuel Valencia. Palmas and compás: El Bo, Chicharo.

What a problem to be flamenco and from Jerez.  The part they have to interpret as guardians of flamenco is not easily sustainable any more, even though the six singers who made up the cast of the recording that was presented last night in live performance, “Jerez al Cante. VORS”, defend local honor as best they can.  Tremendous excitement was generated by this show…the impossibility of getting tickets unless you bought them two months in advance, the unpredictable nature of the artists (even at midday there were still rumors that not all the singers would show up), a variety of conflicts…

Festival de Jerez - Ana Palma

People seem to think that bringing various strong elements together will add up to more than the sum of those elements.  But it doesn’t work in math or in art either, and what many people thought would be the show of the year, of the decade, of the century, was little more than the same old singers singing their same old repertoire, and with certain monotony at that.  The innocent heyday of small salaries and big artists is long gone.

A classic round of martinete opened the show, Luis Zambo defending Santiago, followed by el Torta, the latter’s brother, Manuel Moneo, who raised his voice a full tone to find the place where his vocal cords would be able to produce the controlled drama he always delivers and ending with the old lion, now diminished, the legendary Manuel Agujetas, whose name was not on the program despite his participation on the recording.

The tired scene of the wooden table with everyone sitting round marking rhythm with their knuckles, is the setting for the singers to take turns with soleá and bulería por soleá.  Afterwards, siguiriyas with Fernando de la Morena, the styles he always sings, accompanied by young Manuel Valencia, with a verse dedicated to the much-missed Moraíto.

Luis Zambo sang malagueña with Fernando Moreno on guitar, followed by bulerías with Fernando de la Morena with the guitars of Periquín and Moreno.

Manuel Moneo again makes the walls tremble with his solemn soleá cante with grandson Barullito on guitar.  Following this, el Torta sang alegrías which he dedicated Terremoto, Moraíto “and to my mother and my son”, after which Capullo sang his highly stylized tientos tangos.

Agujeta gave a mini recital with accustomed anarchy and his annoying habit of not finishing cantes.  With his reduced vocal faculties, he still continues to be fascinating with his agonizing delivery that feeds our fantasies of gypsies singing around the blacksmith shop.

And so on, one after another, each one with his regular personality, quirks and cantes, in search of the Holy Grail of Jerez cante which must exist somewhere, and the unavoidable fiesta ending which was oddly lacking in energy.  But we have to be indulgent with Jerez.

The most moving moment of the evening came at the end with the projection of images of Fernando Terremoto and Moraíto, both of whom we all miss so much.

“VORS”…the acronym stands for “Very Old Rare Sherry”.  This group of singers took the liberty of borrowing that denomination, but the final result never got beyond acceptable.