Festival Vaivenes Flamencos
Text: Antonio Conde
AGRESSION AS FLAMENCO
Voice: Enrique Morente. Flamenco guitars: Paquete, David Cerreduela Percussion: Bandolero Chorus and palmas: Ángel Gabarre, Kiki, Soleá Morente, Las Negris Coros, palmas and dance: Isaac, Alfonso Losa, Pedro Gabarre “El Popo”. Lagartija Nick: Electric guitar, voice and bass: Antonio Arias Batería: Eric Jimenez Electric guitar: Victor Lapido. Bass: Lorena Enjuto
Lights shining on castle walls, smooth curtains hugged the stage that closed the Alcalá festival “Vaivenes Flamencos”, and the unparallelled wisdom of the broken voice of one of the stigmas of both old and new flamenco. Add to this the collaboration with a rock group that was popular at the end of the last century, which was only a few years ago, around 1996, when they crossed paths to create a reference for flamenco fusion for the 21st century.
The last night was reserved to enjoy flamenco rock. More than three decades ago, in 1979, with La Leyenda del Tiempo, another singer dared to try fusion and was criticized by orthodox flamenco followers, although he managed a creation which is currently a reference and must be in all flamenco discographies. What Camarón and his friends did was the first step in opening new frontiers to flamenco.
And the maestro Morente had the great idea of making a master work with his record Omega, which was what made the walls of the Alcalá fortress shake and shudder.
The show was sold out days ahead, no one wanted to miss the rare opportunity to hear the combination of Morente and Lagartija Nick.
With a first part in recital format, the Granada singer opened with bulerías, unaccompanied by music, and with plenty of rhythm from his group in a small circle that implied intimacy and a flavor of past times, a street fiesta. He continued with some alegrías to whet our appetite. And Lorca was expressed in the voice of Morente in verses from “El Pastor Bobo” set to bulerías, which the singer began with the accompaniment of David Cerreduela and El Paquete. With malagueñas he honored El Canario, and ended with the fandango of Frasquito.
The inclusion of dance made the event even more flamenco, and there were three artists anxious to do their best. Isaac, Alfonso Losa and “El Popo”, very strong, the screws which held the tablao together had to be tightened again and again; the percussion beat out the compás for the trío of dancers.
Tradition versus youth, genetics face to face: a round of martinetes between father and son, Enrique Morente and Enrique “junior”, Kiki, joined by Angel Gabarre. “Nadie diga que locura…”, “En el barrio de Triana…” “Y si no es verdad…”. Tradition and hierarchy. The chill of the night air began to affect Morente’s voice, and a suspiciously artifical coughing attack, he would up with bulerias. The distinctive touch, to create out of nothing and find the way to heaven. But with bulerías.
The youngest daughter of the dynasty, Soleá, joins the family already on stage, as well as Las Negris to sing chorus for the tangos in which there was also some dancing.
With the most intense flamenco part of the show finished, the stage was given over to rock. The members of Lagartija Nick along with Enrique, with drums and electric guitar to adorn the special Morente voice for the title song of the record, Omega, to continue with Aleluya, not Haendel’s, obviously, but quite a good alternative. And a shooting star, Estrella…with the family on stage the singer’s first-born wasn’t going to be left out.
Estrella as warrior, rock-star, more of a rocker than ever, she turned into a grande diva for the song “Manhattan”, and held nothing back. She showed she could take on anything, and do a fine job.
The essence of Granada came with a granaína. “Nocturno de Brooklyn Bridge” was to Lorca what Omega was for Morente. Another musical work for Enrique that served as ending for a concert that will go down in history as one of the greats of the most avant-garde sort of flamenco. The audience begged for more, and the encore was “La Aurora de Nueva York” which brought the house down in the final bulerías which plenty of dance bits. The icing on the cake was sweeter than ever, the flamenco tradition was at the service of music, and not just any music.
The “Vaivenes Flamencos” Festival has proven itself to be an obligatory reference for 2009.