Tribute to Moraíto I
Text: Pablo San Nicasio
Something for everyone
On paper, the stuff the tickets were printed on and which was sold out weeks ago, this was the biggest thing to happen in flamenco in a very long time. Because on paper, the stuff the program was printed on, there were enough names to fill a small phonebook, so many in fact, that the aesthetic more resembled the legendary festivals of the eighties and the marathon Fiesta de la Bulería. A mixed bag in this case of stars from every ramification of the flamenco galaxy.
There was a lot to Moraíto, this we know, and god bless the organizers of this initiative. If only it had never been necessary to hold this event and to have been able to continue enjoying his presence and artistic guidance, but the month of August robbed him from us, and it was only natural and warranted to stage this entire thing.
The beautiful people, papparazzi, cameras flashing, famous faces, theatrics and even visions in the first session of the double tribute to Mr. Moreno Junquera.
Almost no one was missing. Almost…eeee…that “almost”…the previous day the alarm went out with the rumor that Paco de Lucía was feeling under the weather. Enough so that in the end he didn’t come…pity. Even so, the bill was still top-notch, still mind-boggling. And then the challenge of organizing this kind of event without it being impossibly long, with everthing in place and on time…we’ll talk about that tomorrow, or the day after, or…look, better leave it for another day.
With the socially-minded flamenco duo “Gomaespuma” as masters of ceremonies trading off, and more or less covering for the constant frenetic stage changes, the numbers proceeded one by one, with highs and lows and some irregularities. With all of the best intentions, that’s for sure, but lots of musical merchandise to move and lots of improvisation. Three hours without a break during which, naturally, in addition to a good dose of cante, we also got varying degrees of fame, worth and concept. The tribute to Moraíto, while we’re at it, could be construed as a showcase for the state of the art.
A stylized Miguel Poveda opened the night with siguiriya and cabal, histrionic and athletic, to continue and conclude with his most popular bulerías cuplés. That was hardly enough to rev up the engines, even for him.
More on was the martinete of Vicente Soto “Sordera”, and some bulerías moments. Everything seemed to indicate that things would go in the direction of the latter, as could only be expected.
And Marina Heredia upped the ante, giving a good sampling of her power with a bunch of tangos and bulerías, with and without microphone, leaving her at the top of the heap.
Duquende brought along a good group (with Diego del Morao and Parrilla on guitar who were the ones who played most of the night) with Sabú and Antonio Serrano adding color. We had the feeling they too were also counting on Paco being there.
Arcángel’s turn. Soleá and bulerías and, take note, the only one who remembered Morente after one year. Ladies and gentlemente, Morente is also gone, so good for the man from Huelva who also did a fine job with his vocal cords. Whether or not you go for his singing, it won’t be because of his flamenco ability.
Then we got down to the heart of the matter. Fernando de la Morena, cried his way through siguiriyas with Juan Diego accompanying on guitar. He also gave us a couple of cantes por “buleridas, so people don’t get turned off”.
Juan Moneo Lara wasn’t on stage long, just enough to do some bulerías. But his verses alluding to Manuel, and others that followed, more in the line of bullfighting, got the audience to their feet with just one cante, something the others hadn’t managed. This man, whom you barely see around Madrid, raised the temperature with his bulerías “Arteria Coliseum”…let’s see if we can pull out of this recession and give this man some gigs.
The night began to feel long and cold, it pains us to say this, but that’s how it was.
And flamenco began to get scarce. Although there was Diego Carrasco with his group, Raimundo Amador came and went, Jorge Pardo, Tino di Geraldo on bass, Juan Grande, Ané Carrasco, the younger Carmonas…in other words, that whole bunch of gypsy rockers. And a good level they had, a bunch of buddies but without any slack.
A rather long fiesta finale with Negri remembering Ray Heredia, Antonio Carmona with his most recent pop material, and the organizer, Diego el Cigana, with bulerías. Once again Diego del Morao and Manuel Parrilla.
People began to come and go with food and refreshments. The distraction increased until the Jerez fiesta offered its final bulerias blast, and the temperature went up a notch while many had already provided their own anti-freeze, both on and off-stage.
We were left with the excellent bit of Jesús Méndez and the amazing physical and vocal abilities of the eternal Tomasito. These were Moraíto’s buddies, and they knew what they were doing. But for me, it was Torta who stole the night.