Miguel Poveda “Sin frontera”
Text: Estela Zatania
At midday, maestro Manolo Sanlúcar explained the recital he would offer the following day in the Villamarta Theater, and spoke at lengh about his new autobiographical book, “El Alma Compartida”.
At seven in the evening at the Sala la Compañía, the group Malucos Danza presented their work “Las Sobras del Festín” directed, choreographed and danced by Carlos Chamorro. This formation, which has just celebrated their first decade, describes itself as “new Spanish dance”, and includes the collaboration of singer Antonio Izquierdo “Merenguito” as well as guitarist José Manuel Montoya. In addition to Chamorro, dancers Pepa Sanz and José Merino also participate in a varied avant-garde offering in which the objective is to “dance from the inside out” so that each interpreter expresses his or her own personality within the context of the work that centers on a symbolic clock to manage the concepts of time, life and death.
Miguel Poveda “Sin frontera”
At the Villamarta Theater, on the next to last day of the festival, Jerez finally received the tribute the city wanted and fully deserves, and it came from a Catalonian no less, young veteran singer, Miguel Poveda.
The history of cante is well-populated with famous rivalries, more or less friendly: Chacón and Torre, Mairena and Caracol, Camarón and Pansequito… But the sort of mutual admiration that has formed between Miguel Poveda and Luis el Zambo is unprecedented. And even more surprising considering one is Catalonian and the other from Jerez, one the winner of the National Prize for Music, the other a lovable singer who tended his fish shop until just a few years ago, a gypsy and a non-gypsy, from different generations… In fact, the only thing they have in common is their boundless love for flamenco, and the desire to share it.
In 2008, flamenco has already crossed nearly every frontier, and this is the message Miguel Poveda sends out with the title of this work “Sin Frontera”, ‘without frontiers’. Nowadays even the most stubborn hardliners concede Poveda a privileged place in the panorama of cante. It’s no longer the curiosity of a young boy who won four prizes, including the coveted Lámpara Minera, at the 1993 La Unión context. It’s no longer “he doesn’t sing badly for a Catalonian” or “he sure likes Jerez cante a lot”. Now, it’s Miguel Poveda, major star of cante flamenco.
The familiar scene of the tavern, the wooden table, knuckles rapping out compás, the glasses of wine… But this time, miracle of miracles, the scene is fresh and natural. Everyone is from Jerez except Miguel Poveda and his regular guitarist, Chicuelo. Seated around the table are Luis el Zambo, Moraíto, Andrés Peña, Carlos Grilo and El Lúa. Poveda and Chicuela are seated to one side of the stage workinga taranta…then back at the “tavern”, Luis sings soleá and soleá por bulería. Following in the same compás, Andrés Peña, the much under-rated dancer, more discreet than other dancers from Jerez, and possibly for this reason, more sincere, even more flamenco. Then Miguel brings us back to eastern Andalusia with his malagueñas, including a wonderful interpretation of the malagueña of la Peñaranda and ending with abandolao with the contemporary sound guitarists now give this compás. Then back to Jerez where Poveda, now seated in the tavern, trades tonás with el Zambo, and you can feel the perfect communication, the mutual respect and the absence of frontiers between the two.
The simple set decoration and novel back-lighting is very effective, suggesting the ambience of a tavern at night, and then with the first light of day. Moraíto and Chicuelo play tientos and tangos for Miguel. The two musicians also speak the same flamenco language; the energy of their bulerías duet makes you wish you never had to hear another jazz chord played to free-form compás, and gets the audience seriously excited as no other instrumental number has throughtout the festival.
When el Zambo gets into siguiriyas with his rich voice, it makes you wonder why those voices are no longer fashionable. Andrés dances alegrías, and one feels grateful for his elegance, honesty and restraint. He does a long bulería without music, without cante, and nearly without palmas; simple things done well go a long way. Daylight begins to filter into the tavern and the inevitable fiesta finale comes together with each one doing his little dance. And when morning finally arrives Luis and Miguel are left alone at the table to sing soleá to each other to the compás of their own knuckles
The inescapable encore brings the surprise of Mr. Diego Carrasco to sing the bulerías song “Alfileres de Colores” with Miguel. A wonderful celebration of the universality of flamenco that makes possible this bonding of two maestros. “Sin Frontera” is the Jerez fiesta all flamenco fans dream of, the dream Miguel Poveda once had and managed to turn into reality.
Antonio Reyes, Manuel Moneo
Young singer Antonio Reyes from Chiclana was in charge of the first part of the double program at the Bodega de Los Apóstoles. The first strains of “En un trono de marfil, mi sangre toca las palmas…” reveal his admiration for Manolo Caracol. With the accompaniment of Antonio Higuero, he moves on to tangos played por arriba which always gives a different sound. Antonio then lends his velvet voice and sincere delivery, without special effects, to siguiriyas, finishing off with bulerías and a zambra, both decorated with his wife Patricia’s dancing.
In the second part of the recital, we had the pleasure of enjoying one of the few great maestros of cante. Manuel Moneo Lara comes from a family with a strong flamenco tradition from the San Miguel neighborhood, where pain is internalized and bulerías has a different feel. With his young grandson Barullito on guitar, he began por soléa, letting his majestic cante flow freely, remembering times that were perhaps more flamenco. If Jerez singers are sometimes criticized for their histrionic delivery, Manuel por siguiriyas shows the instintive phrasing that only comes with the years, the gift of saying more with less that is so appreciated by flamenco followers. Fandangos offers a change of pace, and then Moneo’s three children arrive to mark compás for the bulería por soleá that has specific weight in this singer. The recital ends, logically enough, with bulerías where son Barullo sings and the daughters dance.