Text: Pablo San Nicasio
The earth finally shook beneath our feet.
The Häagen-dazs, what a name for a theater in the center of Madrid, a venue that lately has adapted well to whatever comes its way. Ann Frank and the Nazis, Pitingo with his chorus-girls or Nacho Cano’s boys.
But something quite different from all that, is the reaction Miguel Poveda triggered with his “Flamenco sin Frontera”.
A long-lived and successful show, ever since its much-awarded creation for the 2008 Festival de Jerez, offered last night to Madrid flamenco followers was the ultimate icing on the cake.
Poveda took the stage claiming his voice was “a little below par, but with more heart than ever”, with his new record under his arm. This Catalonian guy always comes along with something novel. He is in that transitional phase inhabited by the chosen few who are about to make the definitive leap to international fame. Miguel Poveda is the referential voice of Spain. Some time ago, flamenco already became too small for a performer who wants and is able to do much more. We’ll be watching.
He came with his palmas back-up, with Chicuelo and Moraíto on guitar, dancer Andrés Peña and his Luis “El Zambo”, to banish any doubt whatsoever about who the big cheese is in all of this. His “Flamenco sin Frontera” at this stage of the game, is a kind of “may the children gather round…I wish to establish that I am capable of the best flamenco, that I may, tomorrow, record Spanish lyrical song or whatever I want”. A momentary return to what captured his imagination in the first place – Jerez – although he’s involved in other things, and still racking up successes. In other words, he’s behaving like any other genius.
“Flamenco sin Frontera” joins informal biographical details of Poveda’s artistic life and guitarist Chicuelo, with the no less colorful Jerez ambience of cante, guitar and dance, with the crème de la crème of that southern corner of Andalusia.
With numbers that flow seamlessly, and a stage-set made to represent the typical bodega with wooden tables and glasses (lots of toasting with water), the old Calderón theater was witness to Zambo’s splendid sound in siguiriya, martinete and of course, bulerías. Moraíto’s fearless guitar recalled well-worn variations from his repertoire. Andrés Peña’s intense, fiery dance added another dimension, and Chicuelo’s crisp clean guitar followed the “boss” closely.
Miguel Poveda never became tiresome or predictable, from the first pieces of mining cante, to abandolao, tientos tangos, bulerías, cantiñas…always upwards and outwards. And that was no easy task, considering the level from the outset.
The fiesta finale was a rundown of Poveda’s last recording. His popular bulería song “Cuatro Capotes”, and the song “A Ciegas”, which we’ve heard so much in recent weeks, even before the record was released.
While waiting for the show to begin, I spoke with a colleague next to me about the importance of critics who are acerbic, literary, soft…the need for a wide variety of opinions…although at times the performers themselves are annoyed, often believing they are one step above god.
When you come across people like Poveda in this Suma Flamenca festival, forget about half-baked offerings. Someone capable of being praised and appreciated by all sectors, even with his bulerías dance, deserves all our blessings. As if he were an apostle…from the neighborhood of Santiago.