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Afterhours series at Flamenco on Fire

Success of the Ciclo Nocturno within the program of the Festival Flamenco on Fire in Pamplona
September 2, 2015
Text: Curro Velázquez-Gaztelú Photos: Marta Vila Aguilà

No festival would be worth its name without afterhours shows, because this is where you can not only enjoy a type of presentation more in keeping with the spirit of flamenco, but you come into contact with the artists, minus the barrier of the grand format stage, an ambiance that harmonizes with the origins and where you can share with others an exchange of opinions, some singing, guitar-playinng and dancing; performers, journalists, festival organizers, students, flamenco fans, groupies, beginners...

The hotel Los Tres Reyes, which is where the artists are lodged, and where the press conferences are held, is the perfect venue for this type of proposition.  Being close to the Baluarte, which is where the major part of the program is concentrated, and also the historic city center of Pamplona-Iruña, cultivates an atmosphere, and the desire to continue the fiesta after the shows; the crowd doesn't dissolve away to other parts of the city.

On Wednesday the 26th, the night-time program of  "Flamenco on Fire" began with a facing-off between two major dance stars. Two maestros who, despite their difference in age, have proven to be specialists of footwork, the common thread that joins them.  One more current, the other, more classic.  One from Seville, the other from Badajoz, born in Mérida.  Juan Manuel Fernández Montoya, and Juan Navas Salguero, known as Juan Ramírez.  Plenty of artisty there, with the two Juans.  Juan Ramírez has recorded his feet on recordings of some of the greats such as Morente, Camarón and Paco de Lucía, as well as a recording of his own, "Más Flamenco que el Tacón", which is unusual for a dancer, and should serve as an example to current dancers. Ramírez started out as a singer, but found his calling in footwork.  With the main room of the hotel packed to capacity, the first to appear was Farruquito, doing his standard routine.  The format consisted of each one alternating dances with the other, ending with a shared dance.  With Juan Ramirez was Javier Ruz on guitar, Pamplona singer Joly Muñoz, Juan Antonio "El Bollita", Juan Ramírez' son on compás and Keko providing compás and percussion.  A style of dance that makes no concessions, the old style, intense and controlled.  The audience was thrilled to be able to be in the presence of two such great dancers of yesterday, today and always.

Farruquito - Flamenco OnFire


The following day Iván Vargas showed what he could do.  From the Maya family of Granada's Sacromonte, he brought his show "Savia Nueva", and that was exactly what it was, young blood, a perfect symbiosis of new perspectives on flamenco dance, and the most traditional sort of racial dancing.  Despite his youth, he has toured much of the world with avant-garde shows, and others that are more traditional, this dancer from Granada knows how to combine both styles in a striking way.  He was accompanied by the singing of David "El Galli" from Morón de la Frontera, Juan Ángel Tirado, Rubio de Santa Fé and Manuel Tañé.  On guitar, Luis Mariano, and Cheyene on percussion.  Thanks to this part of the program being in a more relaxed format, it was possible to eat and drink during the show.  The audience, mostly from Pamplona-Iruña, came to appreciate this new way of enjoying flamenco, formerly unknown in the capital.  A way of becoming intimate with this art-form without the rigid format of the typical theater show, and this seemed to please everyone present.

Iván Vargas - Flamenco on Fire

The following day, at the Baluarte, Jorge Pardo would present “Cumbre Flamenca Latin Jazz” with Javier Colina, Jerry González, Rycardo Moreno, Caramelo, Antonio Serrano and Piraña.  So, Josemi Carmona was able to participate in this work with Colina and Bandolero, and invite some artists from Pardo's show to join them on stage.  We were treated to a very high quality encounter of the sort Pepe Habichuela has us accustomed to seeing.  Generous and forward-looking. Pamplona native Javier Colina was right up to par with the greats, the stars, people who know how to do things with subtlety, whatever they get their hands on.  Another central figure was Don Bandolero, with his good taste and his enjoyment of everything he does, managing to transmit the rhythm from his soul.  The three played pieces from their new work, and versions fromm Lekuona, Consuelo Velázquez, etc... Jerry González put his grain of sand with his Miles Davis-style trumpet, just as did Pardo with his flute.  With great musicians like these, in just 10 square meters, sensorial pleasure was guaranteed.  The organization was quite pleased with this undertaking, with all tickets 100% sold except for one day.

Josemi Carmona - Flamenco OnFire

The last series, and serving as a closing fiesta for the festival, was Juan Carmona "El Camborio", Saúl Quirós and José Enrique Morente.  Who could ask for more?