Text: Estela Zatania
Photos: Jean Louis Duzert
FESTIVAL DE FLAMENCO DE NIMES
David Carpio “Solos”
Thursday, January 18th, 2018. 8:00pm. Odeón, Nimes (France)
The warm elegance of David Carpio: what flamenco fan could resist…
Cante: David Carpio. Guitar: Manuel Valencia. Upright bass: Pablo Martín Caminero. Special dance collaboration: Manuel Liñán
At the Odeón café cantante in Nimes, last night the beat of the Festival de Nimes went on, with a show that debuted three years ago in Jerez.
David Carpio of Jerez, serious and committed like few others of his generation. What a relief not to feel the hard-sell attitude that other young artists hardly bother to hide. Because in David you see the sincere desire to honor flamenco which he treats with the greatest respect, with knowledge, affection and pride. It would be absurdly unfair to attribute his talent to DNA, whether it’s something inherited from the Mijita family or the Montoyas, and so on, a favorite topic in Jerez; the high quality of this upcoming singer is a personal triumph no one can question.
One of the most common complaints you hear about young flamenco artists, is that they don’t have personalities of their own. Alright, so you start out learning from the person who most inspires you, but then you have to figure out how to get rid of that person’s unmistakable sound. In this sense, David Carpio, while sounding of Jerez, has an absolutely original personality. And these admirable characteristics certainly led Gerardo Núñez to bring Carpio into his privileged circle, affording him a universe of learning alongside the maestro.
The show “Solos” hovers around the fine frontier that separates a standard singing recital from a “work”. David doesn’t speak to the audience, but rather reserves the stage as his own private space, and follows a carefully conceived script of movements and transitions worthy of the best theater. That subtle difference could easily have subtracted warmth, but thanks to good taste, and the work of the other artists, the result is a nearly perfect jewel, without down moments or seams.
To start out, soleá a capella, while the rest of the quartet quietly file on stage and take their places: Pablo Martín with his upright bass, guitarist Manuel Valencia and dancer Manuel Liñán; what you might call a “dream team”. Each one, among the best in his respective field. Together they build a soleá, piece by piece, right before our eyes and ears. David slowly chews the cante, directing it through his head, nose and mouth several times before letting it loose, Pablo is a showman who plays his instrument like a multipurpose toy, Manuel Valencia applies his fine modern Jerez sensitivity and Manuel Liñán translates all these elements into movement.
Among other forms, Carpio sang malagueñas, and some wonderful tangos, a form not that popular in Jerez, a capella, with the rhythm suspended in the air and Liñán adding the special sheen Granada natives have when it comes to four-quarter time. An instrumental piece of guitar and bass made use of contrasts between strength and subtlety, morphing into a bulerías waltz.
David then delivered siguiriyas with moving sincerity, which brought us to tonás in the Mairena style with Liñán’s dancing in a fascinating artistic dialogue with the singer. Almost wrapping things up, the four interpreters quietly left the stage, one by one, without bowing, returning shortly afterwards for the inevitable bulerías in which the singer repeated several times a famous verse, half joke, half protest (like so many flamenco verses): “A chicken in the middle of a field, what gypsy could resist”.