XIV Festival de Jerez 2010
Text: Estela Zatania
The full schedule for Tuesday the 8th at the Festival de Jerez, began with the customary press conference at midday to present the following day’s shows with Luis el Zambo, Fernando Romero and Adrián Sánchez the main players.
The first date was at the Palacio Villavicencio with an acoustic recital in two parts. The first half featured young Jerez guitarist Manuel Valencia, who was the regular accompanist for his uncle, the very much missed Fernando Terremoto to whose memory the festival has been dedicated. With a powerful Jerez sound, and traditional falsetas and harmony, he began with taranta and soleá. He explained that the siguiriya he dedicated to Terremoto, was a piece from his recording. It seems to be official, you give a recital a the Villavicencio to promote your recording. The bulerías with cajón and palmas that wrapped up the mini recital, was in the classic line.
The second half of the recital gave singer Kina Méndez, also from Jerez, a chance to show what she could do. She opened with a Caracol sound with synthesized keyboard (I don’t think that qualifies as “acoustic”), a guitar and histrionic gestures that were out of place in the discreet intimacy of the Villavicencio. Sometimes overzealousness is a performer’s worst enemy. Four formally dressed young men arrived, wearing satin ties in a variety of day-glo colors to do palmas for cantiñas, and again it’s overkill. Bulería por soleá, fandangos, tangos and bulerías round out the singer’s performance.
LA FARRUCA. Sala Paul. 9.00 pm.
There was no show at the Villamarta this evening, but strong emotions were available with la Farruca at the Sala Paúl. Farruquito’s mother is a fine artist in her own right, and in the most literal sense of the word. In fact, were it not for her newsworthy son, Farruca would be more known for what she does than whom she gave birth to. After an unfortunate fall just as she was about to go on stage, she danced the rest of the show bravely ignoring the pain, and clearly wishing to give her best performance. The great Farruco would have been proud of his daughter, Farruquito’s mother danced with all the rage and strength that characterizes this dynasty of dance.
Beginning with alegrías – although it wouldn’t be any different if it were soleá, tonás or guajiras – with a frilly dress, her presence is a force of nature that triggers an excited ovation before she does a single step. She starts moving to the sound of the cante and the guitar. What a difference when someone is improvising on the spot; inevitably there are some rough spots, but when things come together, the impact is far beyond anything you see in the polished choreographies we’re accustomed to. Far beyond.
Taranta and tangos is the long cante solo that allows Farruca to change costume, now basic black, high neck, long sleeves and black stockings for the soleá, her signature dance. After the opening cante in the rich voice of Rubio de Pruna, the dancer goes into feline mode with that “danger” she projects. Then, speed-ups and sudden stops in the old style, but some things don’t go out of style for certain artists. A string breaks on the guitar, but nothing can stop the aggressive flamenco feeling; improvised dance may not be as “cool”, but it breathes and sweats and reveals itself and finally….is moving.
A bulerías encore, and two youngsters do their little dance, spectacularly in the case of the galactic Carpeta who at about 12 already knows all there is to know.
TRES A UN TIEMPO. Dance: Belén López, Carlos Velázquez. Cante: Saúl Quirós, David de Jacoba. Guitar: Carlos de Jacoba, Carlos Jiménez. Wind: Diego Villegas. Percussion: Rafael Jiménez “El Chispa”.
I first saw Catalonian dancer Belén López six years ago when she won an important prize at the Córdoba contest. I saw her again four years ago at the Festival de Jerez when she was presented as a young hopeful, and last night I was able to contemplate the development of this still young, and still hopeful dancer. The evolution is impressive, and now we have an experienced artist, focused on her work. She still needs to settle down a bit, but she has all the ingredients to become a big star: personality, strength, intensity, technique and imagination.
In this show, we see the continuing fashion of recycling the concept of partnered flamenco dancing, and the dancer able to keep up with the adrenalinic Belén, is Carlos Velázquez. Soleá, then an assortment of fandangos de Huelva where the Camarón-clone singers use occasional harmony. An excess of percussion. Velázquez comes on dressed in white, with electric red shoes to dance por soleá, he’s clearly a Farruquito follower all the way, and performs crazy acrobatics that don’t convince the strangely indifferent audience.
Belén dances alegrías recalling another Catalonian, the goddess Carmen Amaya, passed through the sieve of Rocío Molina who has already created a “school” although she is nearly the same age as Belén López.
After the fiesta finale, emotions continue to run high at the Peña La Bulería when we’ve reached day 12 of the festival, and still going strong.