Text: Sara Arguijo
Photos: Miguel Valverde
Argentina, La Lupi, Pastora Galván, Tomatito, José Antonio Rodríguez, Marina Heredia, Juan Valderrama, Yo Canto Al-Andalus, David Palomar + UHF
The whitest night of flamenco
You know a festival has come of age when you can compare the programs of various editions, observe audience reaction and analyze the evolution. In this sense, the Noche Blanca del Flamenco de Córdoba, with nine previous editions, has managed to situate itself as one of the most important events of the flamenco calendar – the only one that takes place in the street and is completely free – but which faces its tenth anniversary with the urgent challenge of defining its future.
In other words, the great adventure of opening this lovely city to the world, supporting its artistic community (which includes an excellent assortment of schools), democratizing flamenco and turning it into a user-friendly art, must not set its objectives in response to the irregular results of recent editions.
And so it was last Sunday, when the city repeated the triumph of bringing together thousands of people looking to enjoy the nine shows of cante, dance and guitar that this year honored Andalusia. Attendance was a long ways from that of former years when it was nearly impossible to circulate in the street.
The program was “too much flamenco” according to some, with no popular fusion groups, or the reluctance of Cordobans to join the pilgrimage to attend performances of artists all too familiar to them, whatever, made this night “whiter” than previous ones in which it was probably easier to enjoy the art in an atmosphere that was more respectful and relaxed, with fewer incidents. But of course, without the draw of Niña Pastori, Estrella Morente, Sara Baras and Miguel Poveda among others. To reach a massive audience that enjoys this nocturnal marathon, or promote orthodox flamenco, is a question that will have to be dealt with over the coming decade.
Between one thing and another, with an impressive full moon, and a city in the throes of celebration, there were some magical moments to be enjoyed. Such as the powerful voice of Argentina who opened the evening in Las Tendillas with a beautiful recital that triggered repeated ovations. Or the strong dancing of Pastora Galván who triumphed with her 'Moratana' in the Plaza Compás de San Francisco (especially with El Vito). The exquisite style of La Lupi in the Calahorra. The compás of Tomatito's guitar which, nevertheless, aroused some complaints about the brevity of his performance. The rich guitar of José Antonio Rodríguez who put the sound track for the city at the patio of the Mezquita. The sweet sounds of Juan Valderrama who brought back memories of his father in the Plaza del Potro. The energy of the students of Yo Canto, with their Arabic-flamenco fusion in the Plaza of Jerónimo Páez. And of course, the art and good taste of Cádiz singer David Palomar and the Ultra High Flamenco, who immediately heated things up at the last minute in the Plaza del Triunfo. A big 'ole' for those moments. What a delight to come together and enjoy this art-form, and the streets that echoed with the sounds of hand-clapping!