DORANTES and guest artists
Alcalá la Real (Jaén)
Piano: Dorantes; double bass: Reanud García-Fons, kaval: Theodosii Spassov, cante: El Lebrijano, Esperanza Fernández; dance: Pastora Galván; guitarra: Pedro Peña, percussion: Tete Peña and Cepillo; double bass: Popo; chorus and palmas: Los Mellis and Juán Sanjuán; Orquesta Filarmónica de Andalucía directed by Tomás Gubitsch; string quartet: Ensemble
Text: Rubén Gutierrez
While most of the media were involved in covering the fortieth anniversary of the first lunar landing, we arrived at Sierra Sur in Jaén to immerse ourselves in polkadots (“lunares”) of another kind. A festival characterized by ethnic rhythms this year found room for a wink to flamenco. Among the numerous activities, people in attendance were able to participate in palma, dance and cajón workshops given by Jerónimo Utrilla, Katherina La Greca and Javier Ruibal junior respectively, as well as visit Mario Pacheco’s photo exhibit. On Friday the 17th, Enrique Morente junior caused a stir along with Luís García Montero. These Granada artists brought the “house” down in the town’s central plaza, and although we were not in attendance, we were able to hear Teo Sánchez’ broadcast direct from Etnosur.
At the beginning of this encounter, a very special evening was programmed with more than eighty musicians converging on stage at the end of the Dorantes’ show “Convivencias”. Previous to that we were able to enjoy the fusion groups Bicho and Albadulake, to the delight of children and adults. The big stage first received Dorantes on his own in a show in which he exhibited his great piano technique. Harmonic and melodic combinations took on impressionist and jazzistic colors, without forgetting flamenco in the form of tanguillo when bass-player Renaud García Fons came on stage with the percussionists. The Frenchman who has collaborated with Pedro Soler and Gerardo Núñez, is quite a virtuoso. In his last recording, “La Línea del Sur” (2009), Esperanza Fernández was guest artist. The woman from Triana came on stage wearing a blue shawl to interpret “Gelem, Gelem”, the moving Bulgarian ballad which is the gypsy national anthem. This was followed by a version of “Moonlight in Vermont”, a popular American theme once sung by Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra.
One of the most awaited moments was the appearance of Pastora Galván whose dancing gets better all the time, and is destined to become one of the greats in the history of flamenco dance. Tradition combines with contemporary touches, with the influence of her father José Galván, and brother Israel, while she maintains a personality of her own. We especially liked her choice of wardrobe, well-suited to the ethnic character of the occasion, as well as her decision to risk dancing to a string quartet. She received one of the first big ovations of the night. Only one more guest artist was yet to perform. When Juan Peña came on stage, the mostly young crowd paid due tribute to this living legend. Lebrijano interpreted tangos, followed by his “Coronel no Tiene que le Escriba” which García Márquez would surely have applauded upon seeing his verses danced by Pastora dressed in white and filling the entire stage like a full moon. The Orquesta Sinfónica Andalucía completed what was turning out to be a midsummer night’s dream. Under the baton of Argentine conductor Tomás Gubitsch, the idea conceived by festival director Pedro Melguizo came together in Dorantes’ compositions “Sur”, “Orobroy”, “Semblanza de un Río” “Batir de Alas” and “Caravana de los Zíncalis”, the latter with all the performers on stage much to the delight of the audience. The excellent work of sound technician Manu Miñacas, and the wonderful orchestral arrangements brought a burst of appreciation from all in attendance who did not doubt in asking for an encore that took the form of the piece “Orobroy” that has earned Dorantes so much fame.