Text: Estela Zatania
Photos: Jean-Louis Duzert
Friday, January 17th, 2014. 8:00pm. Teatro Bernadette Lafont, Nimes (France)
The lady from Granada triumphs in Nimes
The next to last day of the Nimes flamenco festival there was a complete and varied program. Midday, Faustino Núñez offered an introduction to “The Rhythms of Flamenco Singing”. In the evening, after the show at the theater, El Canijo de Jerez, a self-described rumba-rocker, presented his “Nuevo despertar de la farándula cósmica” with his group “Galactic Smokers”.
Between those two events, the star attraction of the night: singer Marina Heredia from Granada’s Albaicín district, who came to present her new recording “A mi Tiempo”. In the program we read that the title, which roughly translates as “in my own good time”, refers to the slow patient progression of Marina’s quest, and for once it didn’t sound like publicity hype. Because despite her youth, Marina Heredia has been singing professionally for two decades. Although in the beginning we took her more for a Spanish pop singer, it was she herself who firmly staked out a place in the world of flamenco, and the rest of us can now enjoy this voice that updates classic flamenco with knowledge and good taste.
But had it only been that, Marina would most likely have slipped through the cracks unnoticed. However, within her natural elegance and the serene countenance of her artistic personality are powerful emotions that others only know how to express with melodramatic gestures and contorted faces. That is the magic of this charming lady who, even six months into her pregnancy, strolls easily around the stage and artfully manages her slightly hoarse voice to communicate the emotional range of this recital of eleven pieces.
Writers are always told to write about what they know. That bit of advice can also apply to musicians. In “A mi Tiempo”, Marina recalled and revived music she has heard throughout her life and, as she herself explained, music that marked the history of flamenco. A sweet milonga, bulería por soleá with Diego del Morao on guitar to give the characteristic flavor of Jerez, fandangos naturales in A position accompanied by José Quevedo “El Bola” trading off with Diego. Then, Marina removed her shoes and sang siguiriyas…who said women can’t do justice to this flamenco form?
El Bola offered an instrumental solo between lyrical and festive, with the percussion of Paquito González, and Marina returned, still barefoot, to interpret her refreshed version of caña, a nearly obsolete form. She dedicated bulerías to Adela la Chaqueta with the cuplé “Mil Besos” popularized by Dolores de Córdoba, and there were also memories of the Rocíos, Jurado and Durcal with “Mi Amigo”, as well as of Fernanda de Utrera with “Se Rompió el Amor”, a ballad that has become firmly installed in the collective memory of flamenco fans. There were also winks for Bambino, and of course, a heartfelt tribute for Enrique Morente which included the tango song “Estrella” that marked the beginning of his voyage towards the future.
With this broad repertoire, Marina’s good stage instincts and honesty, and the charming fiesta finale which actually appeared spontaneous, the audience was won over and rewarded the singer with a warm ovation.