Son de la Frontera / David Palomar / Leonor Leal
photos: Ana Palma
José Manuel León, David Palomar
At the Palacio de Villavicencio young guitarist José Manuel León from Algeciras began the thirteenth day of the Festival de Jerez with his guitar recital. Nowadays, when the younger generation continues to pay homage to the genius of Paco de Lucía, often without even realizing it, it’s not necessary to have been born in Algeciras to have received such a major influence. And so much dogged following of the maestro has led to a universal contemporary style that makes you long for the well-defined personalities there used to be. José Manuel, who played taranta, soleá, alegrías and bulerías, the latter two with cajón backup, falls within this homogenous group. The free-form introductions to each piece, popularized by Paco and which now seem obligatory, are becoming sweeter and longer all the time, until they occupy more than half of a given composition without allowing any clue as to the identity of the palo they are supposedly preluding. José Manuel is an excellent musician and interpreter who enjoys the blessings of Gerardo Núñez no less, but he would do well to follow the advice Sabicas gave a young Paco so many years ago, and find his own personality.
Young Cádiz singer David Palomar comes to the festival with the important guarantee of two prizes from the last Córdoba contest celebrated in 2007. He enters the small recital room singing without guitar: romances of Alonso el del Cepillo and Negro del Puerto, ending with the curiosity of the Macandé “pregón”. He came accompanied by the excellent guitarist Rafael Rodríguez; both get high marks in the difficult subject of original personality and flavor in a series of cantes that included siguiriyas, alegrías, and soleá dedicated to Gaspar de Utrera and José Millán who died during the week. David comments on how much he admires the cantes of amateur singer Chozas, and sings some of his styles. The performance ends with a string of nostalgic cuple with bulerías dance included.
Son de la Frontera
Cante: Moi de Morón, David el Galli (guest artist). Guitar: Paco de Amparo. Guitar and Cuban tres: Raúl Rodríguez. Baile, compás and chorus: Pepe Torres, Manuel Flores.
Son de la Frontera, recently back from the Flamenco Festival USA, is a group that’s difficult to typecast…and that’s one reason for their success. Flamenco singing, dancing and guitar-playing of the most traditional sort….and the most contemporary. Young interpreters with the wisdom that can only come from true-life experiences, music conceived and executed with imagination and the greatest affection. As Raúl Rodríguez, the leader of the group explained, “we’re good friends, we always understand each other”, and this shows in everything they do.
They are also unique because this is a small flamenco group with permanent members, yet not really an instrumental combo. These five men know how to serve the most traditional flamenco on a platter, ready for immediate consumption, for a varied and general public with a program that includes everything from Pepe Torres’ sober soleá dance, to the old-style rumba with Caribbean flavor, the precious sevillanas of el Mellizo de Morón or the unmistakable sound of bulerías as it’s felt in Morón de la Frontera in the far northeast of the cante triangle. So far, Son de la Frontera and the Farrucos are the only groups who have come to the Festival de Jerez daring to show off their bulerías in the land of bulerías.
Each member of the group is expert in his specialty, and the well-assimilated flamenco code fulfills its function permitting them to create freely and harmoniously. Thanks to this same code, the exotic sound of Raúl’s Cuban tres is easily incorporated without altering the fabric of the whole: where there’s compás and cante, everything is possible in flamenco.
Dance: Leonor Leal, Antonio Molina “El Choro”. Cante: Javier Rivera, El Pulga, Jeromo Segura. Guitar: Tino van de Sman, David Vargas.
Sweet, discreet, subtle, femenine and very flamenco. Those are the adjectives that best describe Leonor Leal. When she presented her show the previous day, she recalled her beginnings in dance when she attended courses at one of the early editions of the Festival de Jerez. Since then, she has passed through the companies of Antonio el Pipa, Andrés Marín, the Ballet Flamenco de Andalucía and Javier Barón’s group, and her dancing reflects all those excellent influences.
She dares to dance with her hair short short, a refreshing look that goes with her clean line and simplicity. She dances farruca and alegrías on her own, and bulería por soleá with Antonio Molina “El Choro”. The latter made a good impression at the last Bienal de Sevilla with his personal style and original details.
And after all that, at one in the morning we were able to enjoy the cuadro flamenco of Saray and Fernando Jiménez at the Peña La Zúa.