Text: Pablo San Nicasio Ramos
Photos : Rafael Manjavacas
Miguel Poveda: cante. Bolita: guitart and music director. Jesús Guerrero, Manuel Parrilla and Diego del Morao: guitar. Paquito González and Antonio Coronel: percussion. Carlos Grilo and Luis Cantarote: palmas and chorus. Londro: voice and palmas. La Lupi: dance. Carmen Amaya, Joaquina Amaya and Ana María González: chorus. Joan Albert Amargós: piano. Olvido Lanza: Violin. Guillermo Prats: upright bass.
For the world of flamenco, it was one of the events of the century. The kind that’s waited for and anticipated as a major happening where one simply must be present. Although being Poveda, winning horse of the current scene, it took no fortune-teller to know the outcome. The absolute “boss” of flamenco came out on top.
Flamenco singing and more, because you can tell the Catalonian’s ambition is to stage mega-shows that cover vast musical worlds, at times philosophically the antithesis of cante jondo. And with no hang-ups or fears about it whatsoever. Shows which, though long and with virtually no down-time, fill theaters to overflowing and leave the artistic and theatrical level as high as the sky that few know as well as he does. After two and a half hours on stage, people who had waken up early that day were still begging for more.
Famous faces and lots of high-flying big shots (tickets were an arm and a leg). A commemorative DVD is also in the making to receive, with open arms, a recording: “arteSano”. A piece of work that will not go down in history as revolutionary, but as a demonstration of power. Miguel Poveda can make six or seven records a year. He isn’t singing any better than before, nor does he come up with any surprises, this is clear.
But now he has returned to traditional flamenco singing accompanied by many of the best of his generation, taking on styles with no problem, with whatever record company he wants. Big-time, like a steam-roller, and showing that he’s in charge, that he got to the top by his own merits and knows what to do with his very privileged status. And the theater was his from the first moment.
From the opening soleá of Charamusco, right up to the song “Fuerza Extraña”, it was the desire to deliver and knowing how to do it. And in most of the cante and songs, he was all power.
There were two parts to the party. A first one, somewhat longer, centered on the new recording. Poveda brought his heavy artillery and a band of guitarists, palmas, percussionists, chorus and even dance…he wasn’t taking any chances. Everything programmed and meticulously coordinated. The transitions between guitarists (“Diegodelmorao”, you are the king), the brevity of the “difficult” cantes (tientos, siguiriya…), the intensity of the forms that (re)heated up the audience…
Newsflash. “A los Bestias” in “Ruiseñora” is a song destined to become a hit. There were also those who were skeptical with their traditional defense of flamenco and lyrical song as parallel artforms. And a message to the maestros, some of who were present, those whom “dignify” the art. An art in which today, he is the boss.
The concert was also a great opportunity for musicians whose names don’t yet appear in big letters, and who may not have another opportunity to participate in something like this. Poveda is a trampoline, and generally speaking, everyone bent over backwards to do their best.
The shorter second part was introduced by the singer himself, and he gave a juicy “speech” that led to the lyrical repertoire and a tribute to Morente with a medley of some of his themes in which a daring rendition of “Aurora de Nueva York” was noteworthy. Just like that, no complexes.
Flamenco-wise, the best had already been laid out, but for the industry there had to be a film with something for everyone. Even the unpublished “Fuerza Extraña”, a piece that evokes Caetano Veloso and had to be included for a kind of “Total Poveda Pack”.
Twenty-two pieces in which the small moments of downtime for the flamenco fan were more than compensated by the intense emotion of a backup that couldn’t have been better. This man could mount a theme park in his name, it would be unbelievable. And profitable. Wonder what’s taking so long…