Text: Silvia Cruz
Photos: Ana Palma
“Paso a dos” Marco Flores y Olga Pericet – Sala Paúl.
“Un año sin Paco” Gerardo Núñez – Alfredo Lagos – Juan Diego Mateos – José Quevedo “Bola” – Santiago Lara – Manuel Valencia. Barullo. Teatro Villamarta
The day of tribute to Paco de Lucia, began with dance…after all, the Festival de Jerez is a dance event. Olga Pericet and Marco Flores performed several duets at the Sala Paúl showing the good rapport they share. Although the difference in stature and bearing between the two could have turned out comical, it works because they know how to make it beautiful.
The two of them even complement each other physically, because if Olga is more expressive the more subtle she becomes, Marcos is three times more interesting when he elongates his form to show all its dancerly capacity. It was a shame the format was interrupted to give way to texts read by José María Velázquez-Gaztelu who, seated in a chair was in charge of introducing each piece speaking with the artists in a sort of interview that didn't really work. Not only because Olga and Marco already had their hands full giving all they could in the dance, but because the questions were repetitive, without delving into anything meaningful nor approaching the depth the artists achieved with their bodies. Marcos was in top form with his alegrías, and Olga danced por soleá with a bata de cola and seemed to grow taller along the way. In addition to being good dancers, they demonstrate fine acting skills, something absolutely necessary to give a special sheen to any form.
Seven crazy men
And it was time for the tribute. Six tremendous guitarists went up on the stage of the Villamarta Theater to remember the maestro Paco de Lucía on the first anniversary of his death. Manuel Valencia went first, and Gerardo Núñez last. In between, Santiago Lara, José Quevedo “Bolita”, Alfredo Lagos and Juan Diego. The true flavor of Jerez to pay tribute to the man from Algeciras, and it would all have been from Cádiz had it not been for the participation of the dancer Barullo.
Two pieces each, executed with the high level the maestro required, and between one and another, visual declarations by Paco de Lucía from various documentaries and reports made during his lifetime. In each declaration, the artist's integrity and determined personality with regard to the guitar were evident. He complained that being hailed as a maestro, he was not permitted the least little error. He explains that one day he might think something he composed was so wonderful, he would forget his shyness and jump up to dance, but the following morning it all seemed like rubbish. “Who do I pay attention to, the Paco of yesterday, or the one of today?”, a statement that triggers laughter among the audience, but which actually reveals an inner drama. He says he likes to be alone, that he seeks solitude, and that perhaps this makes him seem like a crazy guy. “You'll eventually see all guitarists are nuts”, he says with a sidelong glance.
The thoughts he expresses ring throughout the theater in each note played by the six guitarists who played in the show to honor him. Because the obsession Paco spoke about, came through in the flavor of Manuel Valencia's playing, in the mastery of Alfredo Lagos, in the studied silences of Bolita, in the good taste of Juan Diego, in the speed of Santiago and the creative fury of Gerardo. In each one you can see what the maestro was talking about in the videos he left. In each and every one of the musicians, the pain of the inner soul that triggers the quest for perfection can be seen; in each one the madness that makes for the need to be alone to keep practicing a thousand and one times, to compose, to be always up to the level previously achieved, all this is on display.
The seven crazy men refers to the title of a novel by Roberto Arlt. “But there were only six” people will say. No. Last night it was six to honor the seventh, the most unusual one of them all, and the craziest. A madman who last night manifested himself in the fingers of the other six, and who came to came to tell us, by way of the others, that he will be reborn again and again in any guitarist who sets out to rise to his level.