Jesús Torres, Encarna Anillo, David Lagos
Text: Estela Zatania
Tuesday at the Festival de Jerez began with the usual press conference to introduce the following day’s artists, in this case, Aragonese dancer Miguel Ángel Berna, and Calixto Sánchez, schoolteacher that he his (in addition to being a cantaor), turned his own presentation into a lively conference about the different voices of flamenco and other topics of interest.
Jesús Torres, Encarna Anillo, David Lagos
At night, in the bodega Los Apóstoles, we were able to enjoy the performance of three young artists who just recorded for the first time, although they are seasoned professionals.
Guitarist Jesús Torres came accompanied by second guitarist Arcadio Marín and the percussión of Antonio Coronel, in addition to the Jerez palmas of Carlos Grilo and Lúa. A veteran accompanist, having played for Manolete, Belén Maya, Merche Esmeralda and Cristina Hoyos, he also wrote the music for Isabel Bayón’s most recent show. On this occasion he employed a sweet gentle touch as if for classic guitar to interpret compositions that were equally melodious and in which nervousness occasionally got the better of him, although overall, he left a good impression. Kudos for Antonio Coronel’s respectful and intelligent percussion.
Singer Encarna Anillo started out with alegrías from her hometown of Cádiz, and you immediately realize how much the music controls the feel. Juan Diego played with great musicality and good technique, but the absence of the classic C-G chords kept the Cádiz feeling, that normally envelops us when a guitar starts playing alegrías, from making its appearance. For soleá, Anillo used a strangely precious delivery that seems to make it official that the “new opera flamenca” which has been taking shape for nearly a decade, is finally upon us. A whispered milonga reinforced the lyricism, and bulerías dedicated to La Perla rounded out the recital.
The Lagos brothers, singer David and guitarist Alfredo, each one superb in his specialty, offered the best moments of the evening, although David also went in the direction of “cante bonito”. After interpreting “a little something of El Sevillano” where he managed to reproduce that singer’s sound, he sang malagueñas which, thanks to Alfredo’s guitar magic, morphed into tangos del Piyayo and de Triana. For siguiriyas he again used a melismatic delivery and honored Chacón. But don’t young people always insist the times have changed and cante has to evolve? What’s going on? In alegrías and cantiñas dedicated to maestro Chano Lobato, he finally let his full natural voice fill the bodega, and the bulerías was a tribute to Paquera in which he put all his considerable cards on the table, singing with intensity and knowledge. The inevitable fiesta finale brought all the artists together, with the collaboration of Miguel Poveda and Isabel Bayón to make an extraordinary cuadro.
We had to come to this secondary theater of the Festival to finally wade in the color and aroma of flamenco that you so often go searching for with a magnifying glass at these festivals that aim at satisfying the amorphous international taste. Manuela Ríos from Seville gave a lesson in how to do much with little, instead of little with much, with four excellent voices, an exceptional guitar and her own professional capacity. Human resources that don’t even make a dent in taxpayer’s pockets.
Manuela gave her best interpretation in the first dance, por soleá, where the impact of her presence and (I use this word sparingly) ‘duende’ reached all the way to last row of the theater where I was seated. The privileged voices of Miguel Rosendo (lovely flamenco sound), Granada singer Antonio Campos (he’s becoming one of the preferred singers for dance) and Rubio de Pruna (don’t lose sight of him), as well as the dynamic Inmaculada Rivero, backed up Manuela’s dances. Guitarist Rafael Rodríguez deserves an entire page, one of the few guitarists today with a personality of his own. And very much so. He shared the spotlight with the dancer when he played the soleá standing and walking, he tossed out updated falsetas of Diego del Gastor, he maked surprising music with pizzicato and pulled up bits of famous melodies when you least expected it; a true showmand in the best sense of the term.
In short, a splendid antidote that erased memories of less brilliant moments we’ve experienced over recent days; thank you Manuela Ríos for reminding us that flamenco is not coldness, but life itself.