Text: Estela Zatania
Photos: Ana Palma
18th FESTIVAL DE JEREZ
Compañía Joaquín Grilo “Cositas mías”
Saturday, March 8th, 2014. Jerez de la Frontera
On Saturday evening March 8th, the 18th Festival de Jerez 2014 came to an end. When the prestigious event began, just sixteen days ago, we lived in a different flamenco world, young, optimistic and full of grand projects despite the recession, springtime just around the corner and the Bienal de Sevilla looming on the horizon. But Wednesday the 26 everything changed. A piece of each flamenco fan’s heart was ripped out and last night’s closing was tinged with a sensation, not only of loss, but of the feeling that things will never be the same again. This edition of the Festival has been profoundly marked by the sudden loss of Paco de Lucía, and Joaquín Grilo, who worked with Paco for five years, was the person who long before had been chosen to present the final show at the Villamarta theater.
From an artistic standpoint, throughout the festival there were some tendencies so clear that one would have thought the artists had made some kind of agreement. Both darkness and smoke were abundant in the majority of shows. And chairs. Lots and lots of chairs. Scattered around the stage, dragged from one place to another, used for support or even for sitting upon. To a lesser degree, but also repeated in several shows, was the symbolism of shoes. The caña, a variation on soleá as far as dance goes, is back in circulation, and some singers have made interesting modifications.
COMPAÑÍA JOAQUÍN GRILO “COSITAS MÍAS”
Teatro Villamarta, 9:00pm
Dance: Joaquín Grilo. Guest artist (piano) David Peña “Dorantes”. Guest artist (cante): Remedios Amaya. Cante: Makarines. Guitar: Juan Requena. Percussion: Paco Vega. Palmas: Carlos Grilo, Diego Montoya. Violin: Faiçal Kourrich. Artistic director and choreography: Joaquín Grilo.
You take your seat at the Villamarta and set about studying the program where the first thing you read is: “Dedicated to my Great Friend and Maestro Paco de Lucía, from the deepest part of my soul, you will always be in my heart and I will never forget you… Thank you for everything maestro”. And the first lump takes shape in your throat.
“Cositas Mías” is the title Joaquín Grilo, the popular dancer from Jerez, gave to this show that was the perfect ending for the Festival, given the circumstances. Clean sober staging for a respectfully entertaining show, with the very flamenco Grilo, creative and original with his intelligent pranks, David Dorantes, traveling though the depths of emotion via his keyboard, the Makarines, two voices as one, evoking distant landscapes and undefined feelings, the guitar of Juan Requena, always right up to whatever is called for, and everything overseen by the great flamenco earth mother, Remedios Amaya.
There is excellent chemistry between Grilo and Remedios which sets the mood for much of the show, and that chemistry draws us in from the first moment. There was the implicit desire on the part of both interpreters and the audience to remember Paco without turning the night into something he would not have wanted.
Remedios sang her stylized cante de Levante, pop tangos, soleá for Grilo, bulerías… She owns the stage, and is a one-palo artist, everything she does is “por Remedios”, she couldn’t possibly be more charismatic.
As always, it’s bulerías that gets Joaquín to show the full dimension of his high technical level and his personality, with devilish moves in perfect rhythm, and no need for vocals.
An extremely reserved final bow ends with a guitar being held high up, which triggers an emotional ovation, and the artists sing together: “The low strings are playing, the high ones are crying, the aroma of cinnamon is in the air, the source is gone, grand rivers of music have been silenced, the man de Lucía carried off my inspiration, and so many memories…”
Sad applause. Remedios crying. Grilo crying. Everyone…
There was still another show which would be the last of the Festival: at midnight in the Sala Paúl, the popular Capullo de Jerez with the Banda del Ratón.
Joaquín Grilo “Cositas mias”
Capullo de Jerez & Banda del Ratón