Festival Flamenco de Nimes – 20 ans
Cante: Miguel Poveda. Guitar: Juan Gómez “Chicuelo”. Palmas: Carlos Grilo, Luís Cantarote. Guest artists: Cante: Luís Zambo. Guitar: Moraíto. Dance: Joaquín Grilo. Special guests: Diego Carrasco, José Valencia.
Text: Estela Zatania
TWO CHARISMATIC PERSONALITIES, ONE COMMON LANGUAGE
This year’s mega edition of the Festival de Nimes, celebrating its twentieth anniversary, last night began its final leg with a top-flight show. “Sin Frontera” is the name of Miguel Poveda’s excellent endeavor in which he aims to represent the common language of flamenco as he understands and enjoys it with his Jerez buddies.
It is to be taken for granted that the young Catalonian singer has the resources to put together any kind of show he pleases, with any artists he wants. For this reason it is all the more admirable that he chose such an apparently simple and direct format, that many spectators don’t realize this is a meticulously mounted piece of work, with designer lighting, staging and a bona fide director. It feels more like watching a bunch of guys having flamenco fun, and you can be sure that is exactly what Miguel was trying for.
The soothing voice of Luis Zambo breaks the silence as we fasten our seatbelts for a non-stop trip to the heart of the Santiago neighborhood of Jerez. Following this, Poveda gives us some of the “other” flamenco, the kind that revels in free-form lyrical interpretation, in this friendly facing-off. Bulería por soleá, once again with Zambo seated at the table knocking out compás to the guitar accompaniment of Moraíto and Chicuelo, with the palmas of Luis Cantarote and Carlos Grilo.
Joaquin Grilo dances solea. This artist is blessed with boundless natural talent, strength, technical prowess and compás, and is now somewhat more mature and subtle. The impact of his performance would be exponentially improved if he would make more sparing use of the visual jokes he does so well.
Poveda does malagueña, ending with cante abandolao. This show is a celebration of the wonderful relationship and mutual admiration between the Catalonian and the Jerez people Miguel Poveda has cultivated over the last decade. Luis Zambo and Miguel Poveda, two disparate voices, both very individualistic and charismatic, kindred spirits who come together and bond in the shared terrain of cante. They take turns singing bulerías without guitar, and the unshakable compás they construct suffuses the dense atmosphere.
Poveda’s tientos tangos include styles from Extremadura, Triana and Cádiz, then followed by a guitar duet by Moraíto and Chicuelo. The unexpected intervention of singer José Valencia is the perfect touch for the bulerías song “Se Nos Rompió el Amor”, then Luis Zambo brings us down to earth with his siguiriyas and the French audience knows how to appreciate his sincere delivery.
Miguel sings cantiñas for Grilo’s dance, and a bulerías song leads to a good-natured fiesta finale in the Jerez style with each of the eight men showing off a bit of bulerías dance. A post-script of soleá a capella with the two singers, with lighting that suggests early dawn, and the obligatory presence of mister compás, Diego Carrasco puts the icing on the cake of “Alfileres de Colores”, Poveda’s most defining song.
“Sin Frontera” is an elegantly neat work that grows, breathes and evolves with each performance thanks to the good taste and flamenco sense of Miguel Poveda who has managed to build a sufficiently flexible structure to accommodate his collaborators’ generous creativity.
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