The company he keeps…
Text: Pablo San Nicasio Ramos
Call Antonio Canales whatever you want…good or bad, innovator, eclectic, authentic, pure or pure façade…but he’s certainly a clever dude.
At this stage of the game, no one’s about to tell the Seville dancer what he has to do to make it to the top or get audiences eating out of the palm of his hand. And I’m certainly not going to be the one to criticize him, there are plenty of others to do that. If he enjoys making scenes and being a media personality, stardom and whatnot, it’s because he knows how to survive in that jungle, and if he also gets up on stage, takes three steps and eveyone’s happy…more power to him.
That said, Antonio Canales’ show was the beginning of the dance presentations in Madrid’s Sabatini gardens, and his name was the biggest box-office draw.
From the outset, something was strange because the backup musicians listed on the program, were not the same ones, and in the end it was Tomatito’s people who lent a hand at the last minute, including noteworthy guitarist Jesús de Rosario.
Lots of people on stage, between singers, percussionists and guitarists. In addition, Canales brought along dancers Adela Campallo and Oscar de los Reyes. In other words, the best of Caño Roto, and plenty of jet-set flamenco fashion. All dressed in pristine white. It was an attempt to dress everything up and cover all contingencies.
The show see-sawed between new-style “gypsy musical” based on three quarter time (soleá por bulerías, some siguiriya, alegrías and scads of bulerías), and little jewels of quality.
Jewels in the form of a magniicent farruca interpreted by Oscar de los Reyes (unquestionable star of the night), alegrías and guajira of Adela Campallo and bulerías on the guitar of Jesús de Rosario who was in charge of the music for the whole show, and whose importance is growing day by day. Keep an eye on this guitarist, because his head is full of ideas and he just keeps on livening up flamenco.
Canales had three spots, with his characteristically affected style, with hardly any gesture beyond the usual, a mixure of “cool” and spontaneous, as if he were walking through my neighborhood, which is Carabanchel. Lots of footwork and almost no arms, plenty of fun, that’s for sure, but nearly always to bulerías. He ended thanking the audience: “Thank you Madrid, this is where I was born, and this is where I’m going to die.
The good thing about Canales is he always gives a chance to artists who are starting out, and they all take flight thanks to having been in his company and protection. In this sense, we can be grateful, it’s good to know who’s coming up. Canales always knows how to surround himself with good people, and then he teaches them. Good company.