14th Festival de Jerez 2010
AVANT-GARDE AND BACK TO BASICS
COMPAÑÍA RAFAELA CARRASCO “VAMOS AL TIROTEO, VERSIONES DE UN TIEMPO PASADO”
Dance: Rafaela Carrasco, Ricardo López, José Maldonado, Pedro Córdoba, David Coria. Cante: Gema Caballero, Antonio Campos. Guitar: Jesús Torres, Juan Antonio Suárez “Cano”. Piano: Pablo Maldonado. Cello: José Luís López. Choreography and director: Rafaela Carrasco. Musical composition: Jesús Torres, Juan Antonio Suárez “Cano”, Pablo Suárez and José Luís López.
Text: Manuel Moraga
Last night we saw a Rafaela Carrasco at the peak of her creativity and interpretive abilities. The universe of Lorca in popular song that went down in history with Argentinita was the jumping-off point…and the risky part, because this a such a well-worn path, it’s not easy to travel it with any kind of originality. But the circular talent of Rafaela managed to break through that barrier of prejudice against seeing what has already been seen, and she did it with an enormously rich show.
What can I say about Rafaela Carrasco’s talent as an interpreter? We know that working on a stage has many psychic and physical requirements, but even so it’s difficult to see this dancer from Seville on a bad night. All the same, I think yesterday was one of the best performances I’ve seen of hers. Self-assured, intense but relaxed, with fluid movements and lots of personality. No interference between the intent and the expression. Rafaela Carrasco knows what she wants to say and how to say it. And, as they say in soccer, she knows how to play even without the ball.
Nowadays it’s not easy to have references about a dancer’s choreographic ability. The demands of the market force them to create shows based on two or three main dances they themselves have created, and a few fill-ins, so that their ability to work with choreographies for more than one or two dancers is often never developed. In this sense, what Rafaela did last night was a lesson in how to express ideas with a group of dancers. My instincts tell me that it was a necessity for her: the need to be able to lay down her ideas in a group format and the need also to experiment with bodies other than her own, in this case, men’s. Four dancers perfectly executed the delicate choreographic ideas of Rafaela Carrasco, who proved to have special sensitivity for drawing a visual image, something nearly extinct: high pants, placement, clean movements, etc…
We could fill many pages talking about the choreographic talent of Rafaela Carrasco, but I just want to point out one more thing: her ability to create rhythm. Rhythm, at least in my opinion, doesn’t depend on speed or the number of elements that make up a scene, but on the diversity of resources, the capacity to avoid repetitive cadences and therefore, the ability to create coherent discourse that provides information and not redundancy. And that is what I was able to get out of the choreographic movement of “Vamos al Tiroteo, Versiones de un Tiempo Pasado”. The sevillanas interpreted by men wearing bata de cola, is lovely. Masculine bodies and dance for the femininity of the bata. A jewel.
But all those abilities would be wasted if Rafaela hadn’t known to surround herself with artists who have the ability to connect with her creative wave-length which they feed. The musical arrangements and the variations of the Lorca songs are wonderful. In my opinion they are authentic works of art for which we have to thank Jesús Torres, Juan Antonio Suárez “Cano” (who just put out an interesting record), Pablo Suárez and José Luís López. And the interpretations of Antonio Campos, Gema Caballero and Pablo Rubén Maldonado are also noteworthy. Great artists, each one in his or her own way, coming together in this vision of the past in the eyes of Rafaela Carrasco. To name just three pieces, the versions of “Los Cuatro Muleros”, the “Nana de Sevilla” and “Las Tres Morillas” are brilliant.
More talent: the stage director, lighting, wardrobe and sound technician. Rafael Carrasco completes the formal aspects. The transitions were lightning-fast, the lighting, magnificent and not one problem with the sound. Everything original, sober, clean and efficient.
The bottom line is, as I said at the beginning, “Vamos al Tiroteo, Versiones de un Tiempo Pasado” is the reflection of a Rafaela Carrasco in full creativity, one of those works that puts the level of the festival very high.
PRIMOS Y HERMANOS
Text: Estela Zatania
Year after year the organization of the Festival de Jerez programs the most novel experimental artists, but there is also a little room, no matter how small, for the most traditional sort of flamenco, because this is Jerez after all, and appearances must be kept up to match the reputation of being one of the birthplaces of flamenco. On Friday night, it was Lebrija’s turn. And to say “Lebrija” is to say the Peña clan. The major stars of this family are singer Juan Peña “Lebrijano”, and his nephew, pianist Dorantes. But there is another layer that exists and breathes just beneath the surface and which constitutes the characteristic feeling of Lebrija flamenco with the inland aroma of moist fields. This is one of the few remaining towns where flamenco is still practiced among family members, the kind ethnomusicologists call “flamenco for use” and which is practiced according to oral tradition, with no goal of enrichment other than of the spiritual kind.
In this rich layer of interpreters, are situated people like Inés Bacán, Pedro Peña and Pedro María Peña who are featured in “Primos y Hermanos”, artists who do their recitals and record, but who just as soon are at home singing around the kitchen table. Nowadays it’s fashionable to deny the existence of this kind of flamenco which, by definition, is not seen in theaters. Thanks to the work of Tere Peña, flamenco crusader, producer and radio personality, on Friday night “flamenco for use” came out into the public domain for a little over an hour at the Bodega de los Apóstoles.
Lebrija has its own way with the compás, halfway between soleá and bulerías, without sounding like bulería por soleá. It’s a straightforward, deceptively simple rhythm, hypnotic and intentse, that invites singing and is the backbone of this show. Knuckles on wooden tables give form to the characteristic ‘romances’ of Lebrija and the soleá cantes of Juaniquí with the sound of cante of Utrera, the neighboring town that shares family ties with Lebrija.
The warm expressive voice of Pedro Peña, a guitarist whom we have little opportunity to hear sing, has such an intimate sound you feel like an intruder. Another welcome change of role takes places with Pepe Torres, one of the best current dancers, who here sings bulerías, recreating the noble art, nearly extinct, of the ‘festero’, alternating verses and dance steps, recalling at times his uncle Andorrano.
Pedro’s siguiriyas, then Inés, without guitar, cantiñas of Pinini, soleá, bulerías, the dancing of Diego de la Margara and Fernanda Funi, more singing and dancing from Pepe Torres…and always the insistent sound of the 12-beat compass, the heartbeat of the Lebrija countryside, and the numerous audience eventually leave the bodega with the feeling of having been privy to an almost ritual family reunion.