Flamenco reseñas »

Festival de Jerez: Rocio Molina "Afectos" / Antonio de la Malena / Jorge Pardo

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013. Jerez de la Frontera
February 24, 2013
Text: Estela Zatania
Photos: Ana Palma


Special 17th  Festival de Jerez - All the information


Teatro Villamarta, 9:00pm

Many artists talk about the simplicity of their work, but art, like life, is anything but simple.  It would make more sense to talk about integrity and the absence of contrivance.  Because young Rocío Molina is complicated.  She has a privileged intellect and nearly endless creativity.  But through her original work, you feel her genuine need to communicate something from a stance of honesty and innocence. 

Foto Portada


On the program, we read that one of the objectives of this work is the investigation of imperfection and how it becomes perfection.  It’s an ancient concept, exemplified by some oriental cultures.  Rocío is fascinated by contradictions as you can tell from the titles of her work, such as “Turquoise like a Lemon” (‘turquesa como el limón’) and “When Stones Fly” (‘cuando las piedras vuelan’).  There were more clues in the program – because these conceptual works require the spectator’s participation, it’s not a question of “I bought my ticket, now entertain me”.  We read about the objective of “delving into the depths of emotion…the fragility of pain and finding pleasure…non-communication to lead the way to communication”.  Believe me, if you don’t get to the theater with ample time to study the libretto, you aren’t going to find the thread…or even the ball of yarn.

Having expressed that little personal protest, it needs to be stated that Rocío Molina is, without a doubt, a prodigy.  No wonder Baryshnikov kneeled at her feet after seeing her dance.  She no longer inhabits our flamenco realm, but belongs to the universe of art.   She also dances…and how!  With technical precision, originality, the capacity to measure each moment with absolute perfection and never miscalculate, never failing to surprise.

The artistic communication with singer Rosario “La Tremendita” is essential in this work, and the intensity they share is present at all times.  Hers is not an easy voice to assimilate, her register can become grating or even make it hard to understand the verses.  But everything is secondary to something greater, an invisible force that hovers in the air and promises risk, emotion, discovery…

A large portion of the show is a capella, no music.  Pablo Martín provides some musical accompaniment with his upright bass and digital looping of sound samples that play continuously, proving that flamenco can indeed exist without guitar, although la Tremendita plays some guitar in the show.

Rocío Molina

Rocío teases us with bits of bulerías, soleá or petenera, but it’s no more than that, teasing she throws on the table challenging us to catch her message.  One scene titled “Café con Ron”, is a perfect Caribbean suite of guajira and rumba that morph into tango de Triana as you’ve never seen it danced before – Rocío finds inspiration in the binary compás of flamenco that others don’t take advantage of.  This is when her investigative urges pay off.

One thing I don’t understand…if flamenco used to be full of energy and light during Spain’s terrible post-war poverty, why is it that now, with the easy modern life we have, this art-form has turned dark and sullen?  The cruel deprivation of sufficient lighting continues to be the rule of the day in many current works, including this one.  You leave the theater and overhear comments like “I liked it…what little I could see of it”.  It’s a complete mystery why directors and performers continue to insist on such extreme darkness and the absence of color.

When the show ends, suddenly there is light on stage, and it’s like waking up the morning after a strange dream you’ve shared with these two women and their accomplice the bass-player.


Sala Compañía, 7:00pm

At seven o’clock at the Sala Compañía, singer Antonio de la Malena gave his side of the story.  Flamenco the way he understands it, the way he laid it out as a small boy forty years ago on an episode of Rito y Geografía del cante with the much-missed Moraíto on guitar.  He remembered his people.  And not only remembered them, but put a good number of them on stage with him, at some moments as many as seventeen individuals on the small performance space.

Antonio de la Malena

A staunch defender of the most classic kind of flamenco, the kind from Jerez and from his family of singers, he offered an hour-and-a-half recital for those people who had come to Jerez for something more…Jerez-like.  It was a touching detail to have his elderly father by his side, although the old gent did nothing more than admire his son.  It came across as the singer’s eloquent declaration that he knows exactly who he is and where he comes from.

Antonio was generous with his singing…nana, toná liviana, alegrías de Córdoba, cantinas and Pinini cantes (the singer has roots in Lebrija), bulería por soleá, siguiriyas, soleá, martinete, bulerías…a thoroughly classic repertoire for a discreet but heartfelt performance in which the participation of singers Mateo Soleá and David Carpio, the guitar of Domingo Rubichi and of course the dancing of guest artist María del Mar Moreno were noteworthy.


Sala Paúl, 12 midnight

At midnight in the Sala Paúl, veteran musician Jorge Pardo, maestro of wind instruments, known to flamenco fans since his collaboration decades ago with Paco de Lucía, presented his instrumental perspective inspired in flamenco.   He uses his diverse instruments to begin each piece playing the melody lines of cante accompanied by guitar…it might be alegrías or soleá de Frijones, even apolá…but he quickly takes off for jazzland.  In the great tradition of jazz musicians, each member of the group plays a long solo, Joao Frade on accordion, Juan Peña “El Chispa” on percussion and Pablo Báez on upright bass, in addition to the always interesting guitar of Juan Diego from Jerez.

Jorge Pardo


Special 17th  Festival de Jerez - All the information