XLIX FESTIVAL INTERNACIONAL
DEL CANTE DE LAS MINAS
Capullo de Jerez, Mariana Cornejo, Guillermo Cano
Text: Estela Zatania
The third day of shows at the La Unión festival began with another descent into the Agrupa Vicenta mine, this time in to attend a recital of mining cante by Juan Pinilla, winner of the Lámpara Minera in 2007. With Antonio Fernández on guitar, the young Granada singer interpreted levantica, cartageneras, taranto, fandango minero and mineras, all the more dramatic thanks to the spectacular venue.
The show at the theater began with the performance of Guillermo Cano accompanied on the guitar by Rubén Lavaniego. The young Huelva singer, a devotee of the classic era as tipified by Manuel Vallejo and Pepe Marchena, offered a repertoire that was quite to the liking of the La Unión audience. With a retro delivery and a contemporary voice, he began with vidalita. Soleá was interpreted at the eighth fret in E, a guitar position that complemented the feeling of times past. We are living through the revitalization and recuperation of fandangos. The palmas couple (nowadays they come in pairs because even palmas are “choreographed”) lent their voices to the chorus of fandangos de Huelva, a form Cano knows well, with a wide variety of styles, some little-known. “Penita Pena” and other classic cuplé set to bulerías rhythm, stylized and updated, and at this point the audience was eating out of his hand. It’s interesting that local flamenco fans have little appetite for bulerías, but when it’s classic cuplé, their taste for the good ol’ days gets the better of them, and the singer received a warm ovation. An assortment of tangos – of Repompa, Granada and Cádiz – and free-form fandangos finished off the young man’s performance to make way for Mariana Cornejo.
Her uncle, Canalejas de Puerto Real, won the Lámpara Minera in 1963. Her regular guitarist, Pascual de Lorca, won the Bordón Minero (guitar prize of La Unión) in 1983. Aside from this, not much links the delightful lady from Cádiz with this part of the flamenco territory. In actual fact, some top stars from the Seville-Jerez-Cádiz triangle on the other side of Spain made it to the La Unión festival over the years, but were unable to connect with local fans. Mariana Cornejo threw herself into it, gave it everything she had and in the end won over the crowd. Her flavorful “tiri ti trán” shattered the dense atmosphere of the theater, and splashed every nook and cranny with light and saltspray when the first notes of alegrías, rosas and other cantiñas rang out. Mariana has that special glow oldtimers sometimes acquire when the wisdom of age translates, not into bitterness, but the pure joy of living. “Contagious” is the operative term. Bulerías de Cádiz, or “chuflillas” as she says, with cantes from her uncle Canalejas, an Aragonese jota, the most beloved verses of Manolo Vargas and Pericón, and Pascual de Lorca, from the province of Murcia where we now are, gives all the appropriate flavor in the backup. An assortment of tangos is strictly pre-Camaron. The popular singer from La Isla had a profound influence on this form, but Mariana takes us to a prior era. She takes her leave with more bulerías, very much in the style of La Perla, and the standing ovation received says mission accomplished by the lady from Cádiz.
Capullo de Jerez, charisma and calculated madness, is one of the few from the “other side” who enjoys the privilege of feeling at home here in the Levante area. With his rock group in tow, he doesn’t go over, but with Manuel Jero junior on guitar, palmas and a discreet cajón, the communication with ears more used to sweet melancholic mining cante is achieved. Like it or not, Miguel Flores is a true artist. Compás is his plaything, and Jerez his banner. He works and adapts the forms at will, making good use of flamenco as it has come down to us. He is the antithesis of the mimetic singer. Soleá por bulería, free-form fandangos that are truly free, tangos in the Capullo style, Camarón’s “Dicen de Mí” to introduce a half hour of bulerías where he squeezes in a granaína and a toná liviana. And then, tonás, to turn down the intensity a bit before once again launching into the neverending fiesta that rages at all hours in the head of Capullo de Jerez.