Text and photos: Estela Zatania
Thursday, August 20th, 2015. Baluarte de la Candelaria, Cádiz
A stunning line-up to close out a maxi flamenco festival of 5 installments
Cante: Cancanilla de Málaga, Pedro el Granaíno, Antonio Reyes. Guitar: Chaparro de Málaga, José de Pura, Diego del Morao. Dance: María Moreno with Enrique el Extremeño (cante), Juan Campallo (guitar), El Orujo and Emilio Castañeda (palmas), official palmas, Diego Montoya and Tate Núñez.
It's so common to hear flamenco fans say: “Cádiz has no flamenco festival because the people of Cádiz just want carnival”. No, they don't have one flamenco festival. What they have is an extended series of five installments, each of which is worthy of being called a “festival”. Because of the length (about 4 hours each time), the high quality of the program and the event's great popularity, it can be said that thanks to the “Enrique el Mellizo” flamenco association, its tireless president Antonio Benítez and institutional and private support, each year Cádiz has one of the most admirable and serious flamenco events of the summer season.
The spacious venue of the Baluarte de la Candelaria was filled to overflowing last night for the closing gala show, and the repeated ovations of a demanding audience bore testimony to the well-chosen artists. Cancanilla de Málaga opened the show, a much-admired veteran in Cádiz, an artist's artist and stage animal capable of getting the audience in the palm of his hand with his crystalline flamenco voice, his expansive personality and home-spun dancing, all projecting as authentic. He was accompanied on guitar by the interesting Chaparro de Málaga whose style is a nice mix of classic and contemporary flamenco.
Cádiz dancer María Moreno, young but experienced, one of the most interesting of her generation, came with the well-seasoned singer, Enrique el Extremeño, Juan Campallo on guitar and the palmas of Emilio Castañeda and El Orujo. She danced por soleá in a black bata de cola, Enrique sang bulerías on his own and María returned to the stage dressed in the old style with colorful polkadots, a large Spanish shawl and a very flamenco style of contrasting subtlety and surprise to interpret a fine dance of “romance”.
After intermission, the organization offered a tribute to Antonio Reyes and his wife, Patricia Valdés, followed by the performance of Pedro el Granaíno, possibly the most surprising interpreter of the night. Most flamenco fans came to know him as back-up singer of various groups of the Farruco family. It has been relatively easy to establish himself as a solo singer, thanks to his impressive communicative power, and his ability to recycle the Camarón style without being just another imitator. José de Pura on guitar won over the audience with his sensitivity, knowledge and a capacity to evoke an older playing style with good taste. Pedro sang some personalized tonás, cante minero, bulerías and fandangos, but it was his siguiriyas that triggered the most heart-felt ovation. He thanked veteran maestros Rancapino and Juan Villar for having visited him in the dressing-room, which was a nice bow to their seniority.
Antonio Reyes, a singer from Chiclana, wildly popular in Cádiz, had the job of closing out the night, and the series of the Jueves at the Baluarte de la Candelaria. He sang some slow tangos, siguiriyas, fandangos and bulerías with the collaboration of Patricia Valdés, accompanied by Diego del Morao. Sweetly sensitive, without technical flourishes or shouting, showing exquisite taste at every moment, antique velvet transformed into sound.