Text: Estela Zatania
Photos: Ana Palma
Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016. Teatro Villamarta, 9:00pm, Jerez de la Frontera
At seven in the evening on Tuesday, at the Festival de Jerez, at the Sala Compañía, the Taller Flamenco offered a heartfelt tribute to Oliver Farke who left us prematurely last year, and had been the founder and director of the German magazine “¡Anda!”, specialized in flamenco. In Felipe Mato's show, titled “¡Anda! Homenaje a Oliver Farke”, participating artists were Felipe Mato himself, along with Gema Moneo, singers Moi de Morón and el Londro, accompanied by the guitar of Dani de Morón.
THE MORE THINGS CHANGE, THE MORE THEY STAY THE SAME
Dance: Andrés Peña, Pilar Ogalla. Cante: Miguel Soto “Londro”, David Carpio, Melchora Ortega, May Fernández. Guitar: Rafael Rodríguez. Palmas: Diego Montoya, Roberto Jaén. Artistic director and choreography: Andrés Peña, Pilar Ogalla. Stage direction, script: Faustino Núñez, Andrés Peña, Pilar Ogalla.
As I left the Villamarta theater last night after seeing the show “De Sepia y Oro”, one lady commented to me, “what an original show!” Which had me confused. I responded that it had been straight-ahead classic flamenco, but of course, nowadays, with so much conceptualist avant-garde work, classic flamenco has become the novelty. A genre so great that it renews itself when recycled.
Because this project of the well-established couple Andrés Peña and Pilar Ogalla, is a celebration of the most classic sort of flamenco with updated forms, elegant lighting, clean transitions and good amplification among other elements. There is also admirable respect for the old ways, namely: the singers and other members of the back-up wore suits or sport jackets, and final bows were carefully choreographed, demonstraring an overall respect for the profession.
The first scene was a medley of cantiñas, in traditional tablao format, with the excellent singing of David Carpio and el Londro. May Fernández from Cádiz is a powerful singer, brimming with Cádiz-style energy, while Jerez singer Melchora Ortega represents Jerez equally well. A luminous banquet of flamenco with no apologies, with color, polkadots and flowers in the hair.
Noteworthy was a lovely farruca with singing, danced as a couple with Pilar in trousers, a composition of fragments of various songs with the four voices overlapping in the end and the old rumba “Chamelona” from before the rumba catalana caught on. May Fernández performed a tanguillo rap in the style of Lola Flores/Cornejo which in turn gave way to Pilar, dressed in red, with a wide-brimmed hat for some classic tanguillo moves reminiscent of Rosario, Antonio's partner, which morphed into an old-style guajira in the voice of Londro.
Andrés and Pilar have long maintained partnered flamenco dance, even when it fell out of fashion. On the same wave-length, they dance together but not in a robotic way, they communicate and dialogue. Andrés on his own is a compact package of energy that efficiently delivers tientos with tangos, and Pilar radiates flamenco elegance por soleá with the singing of David Carpio.
And just the right guitarist for the occasion. Rafael Rodríguez fulfills the flamenco agenda without contemporary harmonies, recreating the best of Sabicas, Diego del Gastor, Ricardo and other classics who never go out of style. Retro without being antique.
And people tell me “nothing has been lost in flamenco”. Slowly but surely, the tandem Peña-Ogalla is helping to make that a reality.