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El Pele "Peleando y punto" - Bienal de Flamenco. Review & photos

18th Bienal de Flamenco de Sevilla
Saturday, September 27th, 2014. 830pm. Teatro de la Maestranza.
September 28, 2014
Text: Estela Zatania
Photos: Antonio Acedo


Main voice: El Pele.  Guest artists: Piano, Dorantes, Dance, Farruquito, Fuensanta "La Moneta". Special collaboration: Encarnita Anillo. Violin: Bernardo Parrilla.  Guitar: Manuel Silveria, Niño Seve.  Percussion: El Güito, José Moreno.  Chorus and palmas: Desiré Márquez, Natalia Segura, Rubio de Pruna, Rafael Junquera, Chícharo. Music: El Pepe, Dorantes.

Pele, Peleando... The play on words of the title of the show is as descriptive as accurate.  We have here one of the most personal and inspired voices of the current flamenco scene.  In fat, seated in the Teatro de la Maestranza on Saturday night, we were all in Pele-land.

Architectonic motifs of Córdoba's Mezquita were projected onto the back-drop, but we were in the zone of Manuel Moreno Maya "El Pele".  Impossible to categorize, despite his Caracol leanings, and with an unmistakable, brave and expressive voice.  This is a singer to hear in an intimate setting, but his personality is big enough to feel right at home in this type of theatrical show aimed at those who need their flamenco served ready for consumption.

El Pele

The tonás with which he opened, shook every corner of the theater.  What Pele knows how to do best is search for, and find himself with ease.  The technique is there, but if it should falter, his strong communicative power gets him through any situation.

Important collaborations backed up the singer in this cleanly-executed show.  Dorantes on piano accompanied him for malagueñas of Mellizo and Peñaranda with abandolao.  Dancing was provided by Farruquito, much more inspired and concentrated than in his own show of several days ago, and Fuensanta la Moneta played "Lola" for a free-form Caracol zambra, also accompanied by Dorantes and Encarnita Anillo sang a lyrical theme in duo with the Córdoba singer.

In siguiriyas, we always expect a lot of Pele, and the singer did not let us down.  "Clavito y canela" (cloves and cinnamon), and everything had the aroma of flamenco, this is singing that nourishes.  The man located the direct line to his inner self, and frolicked in this zone where he feels so at ease.  The cabales ending left us emotionally drained.  Manuel Silveria on guitar accompanied the unpredictable artist with great sensitivity, not daring to take his eyes off the singer for a single moment.

Pele dedicated the soleá to his doctor, and to his great friend Vicente Amigo sitting in the audience.  Once again he demonstratef his command, not only of the cante forms, but of the contrast between the whisper and the primal scream, while the guitars of Silveria and Niño Seve tastefully mixed modern and classic sounds.

The Maestranza didn't fill up for Pele; perhaps, like aged brandy, his voice is an acquired taste.  At the last Bienal de Sevilla, this man received the Giraldillo for "Magic Moment" for his soleá singing.  This show is like a long "magic moment" thanks to the flamenco magic of a singer who is making his mark.

A bit later at the Hotel Triana, it was necessary to halt the show of the Familia Fernández when rain began to fall about half-way through.

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