Text: Estela Zatania / Photos: Ana Palma
Saturday, March 2nd, 2013. Jerez de la Frontera
MARÍA DEL MAR MORENO AT THE VILLAMARTA, AND TWO YOUNG HOPEFULS
MARÍA DEL MAR MORENO “DE CAL VIVA”
Teatro Villamarta, 9.00pm
At the Festival de Jerez we’ve had three straight days with shows related to the moving history of the “gañanías”, the communal dwellings of Andalusian field-workers, where flamenco flourished, and which was such an important period in Jerez. On Thursday Antonio el Pipa recreated those times as they had been related by his elders, on Friday, it was a more ideological perspective with the work “Consagración”, and last night María del Mar Moreno used the same backdrop to express a feminist agenda beneath the wizened gaze of a portrait of Anica la Periñaca, a highly relevant figure.
As happens with el Pipa, this dancer has legions of diehard admirers, and although the Villamarta didn’t quite fill up, there was an enthusiastic and devoted audience. María is a hard worker and affectionate person of outstanding intelligence and grace. Perhaps this is the reason that at the age of [none of your business], she keeps learning, growing and taking on bigger projects. In fact, the triumph of the individual over those obstacles that life puts in one’s path, is the actual subject of this work María titles “De Cal Viva”.
María del Mar’s dancing is more internalized than ever before, she’s acquired shading and a wonderful subtlety. Singer Macanita’s brief intervention warms the cockles of our collective heart, and the four male cantaores, Antonio Malena, El Tolo, José de los Camarones and David Carpio are a fine sampling of Jerez flamenco singing. On guitar, Santiago Moreno and Malena junior rounded out the Jerez sound perfectly.
Siguiriyas, bulería por soleá, serranas, soleá, bulerías…lots of dancing, María hardly takes a break. I would personally have omitted any attempt at dramatization; the high-quality ingredients are only lessened by off-stage voices, a male chorus of suited singers who interpret fragments of the opera Carmen and especially the wire mannequin that descends from above and is dressed in a military jacket…few things are more annoying for an audience than murky symbolism. When “Carmen” becomes “Carmela” of Camarón, the overlapping voices of chorus and cante produce a dreamlike effect as María is encircled by the men (get it?), and ends up on the floor as Antonio Malena interprets a petenera, the flamenco form most related to death.
SANTIAGO LARA “SENTIMIENTOS NUEVOS”
Ciclo: Toca toque Jerez
Sala Paúl, 7.00pm
The series of guitar recitals programmed at the Sala Paúl, last night featured Santiago Lara, winner of several important contests such as Young Flamenco Guitar Talents (Jóvenes Valores de la Guitarra Flamenca) and first prize at the Bienal de Sevilla among others. When younger, he also shared the stage with Manolo Sanlúcar during the four years he played second guitar to the maestro. Not yet thirty, this young Jerez man has constructed quite a career that includes his most recent recording, “Sentimientos Nuevos”, whose presentation was the purpose of this recital.
He opened with a composition based on Levante harmonies, and a farruca with percussion. The guitarist dedicated the alegrías that give the record its title, to his little daughter Pastora, a piece that was enhanced by the singing of David Lagos. Young singer Jesús Méndez sang tonás to prelude an upbeat contemporary siguiriyas. Other compositions from the record, such as fandangos de Huelva dedicated to Parrilla de Jerez, granaína and bulerías were backed up by second guitar Paco Lara, the percussion of Perico Navarro and the palmas of Javier Peña and Rafael Ramos. A well-rounded presentation that earned the guitarist a warm ovation.
MACARENA RAMÍREZ “RECUERDOS”
Ciclo: Muy flamencos
Sala Compañía, 12 midnight
In her adolescence, dancer Macarena Ramírez delighted audiences with the perky Shirley Temple freshness and temperament she exhibited in Antonio el Pipa’s company. Now, at 20, it may be too soon to put on a show called “Recuerdos” (memories), complete with rocking chair, worn-out storage chest and imaginary trip to the past, but what we are able to see is the young dancer’s evolution.
Macarena’s first solo work is yet another feminist declaration, although less explicit that what we’d seen two hours earlier at the Villamarta. When she had her night at the last Bienal de Sevilla, she seemed nervous and a little distracted, but here in Jerez, friendly territory, she danced with greater command and composure. The girl seems determined to succeed, and she’s holding all the cards to do so, but I would have waited a year or so more before bringing out this work that includes strange interludes of piano and violin. The alegrías with a white and green bata de cola, like the flag of Andalusia, came off better, as did the siguiriyas and soleá she also interpreted.
Back-up was provided by the versatile David Carpio and May Fernández singing, and Pascual de Lorca and Juan José Alba on guitar, with the piano of José Zarzana and the violin of Emilio Martin.