Text and photos: Estela Zatania
51st Gazpacho Andaluz
Saturday, July 15th, 2017. 9:00pm. Pl. del Ayuntamiento, Morón de la Frontera
1st part: Solo guitar, Juan Antonio García Castilla, José Antonio López Marín of the Taller de Guitarra Flamenca de la Escuela Municipal de Música y Danza. Voice: Vanesa González with Fernando Rodríguez (guitar). Dance: Valeria del Alba, Saray Priego, Esperanza Verdugo, Irene Navarra, Ma. José Carrasco, Loreto Martínez, Elisabeth Delgado, Marina Martos of the Taller del Baile Flamenco de la Escuela Municipal de Música y Danza.
2nd part: Voice: Argentina, Mayte Martín. Guitar: José Quevedo “Bolita”, Eugenio Iglesias. Rhythm: Oruco, José Carrasco. Solo guitar: Juan Torres. Baile: Carmen Lozano y Antonio Canales with Jesús Flores, David el Galli, Rafael de Utrera (voice), José Galvez (guitar). Juana Amaya and her group with El Perla (guitar), David el Galli, Herminia Borja, El Pulga (voice), Roberto Jaén (rhythm).
If last week at the festival of La Puebla we had to bundle up with blankets and scarves to ward off the cold wind coming in from the countryside, last night the fifty-first edition of the Gazpacho Andaluz began at nine o’clock at night with thermometers grazing the hundred-degree mark. Occupational hazards, if an addiction to flamenco can indeed be called an “occupation”.
The projected image of the late José Menese from the neighboring town of La Puebla, recipient of this year’s traditional tribute, gazed down at the proceedings from the façade of City Hall for the nearly seven hours of performances. The program, divided into two parts, began with student performances of guitar and dance from the Taller de la Escuela Municipal de Música y Danza, and the performance of Vanesa González, winner of the 6th “Ciudad de Morón” singing contest for young people. An admirable show of support for the new generation, although it was a bit too long.
An abridged summary of the second part would be: two dance groups, two female singers, one solo guitarist. First, Huelva singer Argentina, first time at the Gazpacho, gave a refreshing recital of marianas with tangos de Triana, malagueña de Chacón, serrana with abandolao, siguiriyas taken at a clip and cantinas with her powerful clean voice. When she began bulería por soleá that morphed into bulerías…Lole y Manuel, Romance de la Reina Mercedes…I realized she was barefoot. She closed with fandangos de Huelva with that special flavor only Huelva natives achieve. A singer who straddles the most classical flamenco sound, and the precious sweetness that has become fashionable in flamenco singing, and was very well-received by the Morón audience.
Guitarist Juan Torres, a Morón native without being “local” due to his international curriculum, gave an admirable mini recital with back-up musicians whose names were not on the program, followed by dancer Carmen Lozano, also from Morón, who had the fine idea of bringing veteran Antonio Canales to round out her performance. Our very own Orson Welles always manages to find just the right quirkiness that he works so well. Presence and personality. Singers Rafael de Utrera, Jesús Flores and David el Galli, and Jerez guitarist José Gálvez, crisp and original, provided some wonderful moments.
After the official tribute to José Menese, it was time for the main star of the evening, Mayte Martín. The last time she performed at the Gazpacho in 2011, she easily won over the audience with her reserved clean style. This time, there was less enthusiasm among those present despite the best efforts of guitarist Salvador Gutiérrez, subtly contemporary, and always respectful in the accompaniment of the sweet straightforward singing of the Catalonian woman.
The Gazpacho ended with an explosion of power and intensity in the person of dancer Juana Amaya, another Morón star of international dimensions. Impressive at the age of 11 when she danced at the town’s municipal swimming pool, and impressive last night at nearly 50. With El Perla on guitar, the voices of David el Galli and El Pulga, and the outsized personality of Herminia Borja who makes everything “important”, it was the perfect closing.
We put up with the heat, the long program and the plastic chairs, we took sustenance from our beloved drink cooler, and once again we are thankful to be able to enjoy these extravagant events that so many of us appreciate, while others advocate their disappearance.