Rafael Riqueni: Guitar; Mayte Martín: Cante; Yago Santos: Second guitar; Guillermo McGill: Percussion; Manuel Calleja: Double bass; José Luis López: Cello; Pablo Maldonado: Keyboard.
Text: Gonzalo Montaño Peña
The prodigal son of Seville and Triana flamenco guitar came home to perform after a long silence of fifteen years. Expectations were high to once again enjoy the genius who enthralled the flamenco community that placed him at the very highest echelon of flamenco guitar. On this very special occasion he didn’t need family or friends; the world of flamenco filled the Lope de Vega to show their support for Rafael Riqueni.
This concert is going to form part of the documentary that Francisco Bech is making on the life of the musician, an intimate portrait that delves into his story and the different stages of his career.
The recital was divided into two parts. The first showed the truly solo guitar of Riqueni. Alone, he gave a preview of compositions from his next recording, “Parque de María Luisa”. Twelve pieces in a classic line, a kind of “musical nationalism” that draws on concepts of Turina and Albéniz. Twelve short pieces with a bucolic melancholic air in which the guitarist again roamed the plazas and ponds of the María Luisa park, recalling his childhood.
In the second part, Riqueni’s most flamenco facet came out, but also that tremendously free part of him which in the end has made him who he is, a musician of great personality and charisma. He revived classics of his, such as the fandangos dedicated to “Niño Miguel”, and “Alcázar de Cristal” which once again stirred emotions in Seville. Then there were the soleá variations he used to accompany Mayte Martín, the harmonic and melodic progressions of “Mi Tiempo” and “Santa Cruz”, as well as so many other concepts of his that will be studied and analyzed by current and future guitarists for time to come.
The magnificent back-up instrumentals added even more to his sound, to close out the evening with the tangos of “Titi de Triana”, with this very moving concert that Riqueni owed Seville, and without a doubt, Seville owed Riqueni.