Text and photos: Antonio Conde
Luisa Ortega, Miguel Poveda, Paco Cepero, Manolete…
El duende de Caracol. June 13, 2009 – Patio de los Aljibes – Granada
Artists: Miguel Poveda, Chicuelo, Carlos Grilo, Luis Cantarote, Pedro Ricardo Miño, El Pele, Aurora Vargas, Diego Amaya, Paco Cepero, Manolete, Luisa Ortega.
The gardens of the Alhambra had been all these years without hearing cante. And it was a heartfelt tribute to Manolo Caracol on the centennial of his birth when flamenco once again sounded. A special tribute, in which the common thread was the idea of remembering that year when one prize was given to El Tenazas, and another to the child Caracol.
Sometimes flamenco events or festivals are held at venues that make the spectator remember the place more than what was seen or heard. The objective is accomplished when this happens. But there are places that are not just beautiful as such, but which almost seem magical. A duende lives in them and refuses to leave, even after 87 or more years. In 1922 the Cante Jondo contest was held here, and now it is the best tribute for a singer who was only 13 at the time, and who set out on a legendary career.
An authentic privilege for all those fortunate enough to be there.
The reason for being gathered here was clear: to honor the memory of Manolo Caracol, and what better way than through his cante. It was Poveda who opened the night and remembered the maestro interpreting the Pregón del Uvero, followed by zambra and fandangos por bulerías. His performance felt short, and soon it was the piano of Pedro Ricardo Miño who came to delight the audience. The piano could not be absent, this instrument that was so close to Caracol and Arturo Pavón who were the pioneers of this happy collaboration. A fantasy in the form of a granaína honoring Manuel de Falla, and bulerías in the Cádiz style.
Aurora Vargas put the most flamenco elements with her soleá, alegrías and bulerías with her special way of dancing that always delights audiences.
The best dancing of the night came from a Granada artist. Short but intense, alegrías. The figure of Manolete. Jerez guitarists Paco Cepero and Diego Amaya played together to interpret one of Cepero’s first hits. The most moving moment of the Granada night came with the appearance on stage of Luisa Ortega, nervous, and without speaking a word. Memory, and a daughter’s love for her father, came together in a powerful unit with piano, guitar and voice in a zambra por seguiriyas. Nervousness made for a fragile voice, but the emotional impact and sheer duende pushed the singer right through to the end.
The leitmotiv of the evening was well-accomplished. Caracol’s intense presence strolled all night through the gardens of the Patio de los Algibes, and you could feel it. And thanks to him, it was a night to remember for all of us lucky enough to have been there.