Text: Estela Zatania
Photos: Rocío Hernández
Thursday, June 4th, 2015. 9:00pm. Gran Teatro Falla, Cádiz
“Su arte está presente”
A tidal wave of “tirititrán” and Cádiz flamenco to pay tribute to the figure of Mariana Cornejo
Cuadro “Toma Mariana”. Cante: May Fernández, Paco Reyes, Samara Montañés, Adely “la Mojarrita”, Macarena Villar, Jesús “El Bojiga”, Juan Villar hijo, Tona Luna, Juanjo Romero, Miguel Cortés, Selu del Puerto. Musicians: Diego Magallanes, Emilio Martín, Javi el Saxo, José Luis Espinosa, Carmelo Muriel, David Gavira. Guitar: Joaquín Linera “El Niño de la Leo”. Guest artists: Raúl Gálvez, Paco Reyes, Reyes Martín, María José Franco, Jesús Fernández, Olivia Cordero. Interlude: Encarna Anillo, José Anillo. La Chirigota del Selu. Joaquín de Sola.
Cuadro “Las Cosas de Mariana”. Cante: David Palomar, Anabel Rivera, Miguel Rosendo, Emilio Florido, Rancapino Chico, Rancapino padre. Guitar: Óscar Lagos, Keko Baldomero. Dance: Juan Ogalla, Pilar Ogalla, Juan José Jaén “El Junco”, Eduardo Guerrero. Percussion: Javi Katumba, Manuel “El Pájaro”.
Cuadro “Mariana, La Guapa de Cádiz”. Cante: Carmen de la Jara, Manoli de Gertrudis, Ana Polanco, Selu de Cádiz, María del Mar Fernández. Guitar: Adriano Lozano, Juan José Alba. Dance: Pepín Muñoz, Lidia Cabello, Yolanda Cabello. Jaleo and palmas: Mary de Ceuta, Conchi la del Boli, Naím Real, Luisa Villa, Las Morcilleras, María de Donday, Perico el de la Chana, Conchi Roig. Percussion: David Gavira. Interlude: Sergio Monroy.
Cuadro “Jerez por Mariana”. Cante: Macarena de Jerez, Ezequiel Benítez, José Gálvez, Felipa del Moreno, Melchora Ortega, Tomás Rubichi. Dance: Antonio “El Pipa”, Angelita Gómez. Guitar: Pascual de Lorca. Jaleos and palmas: Ali de la Tota. Finale: Julio Pardo chorus. Collaboration: Juan José Téllez, Faustino Núñez, Chipi de “La Canalla”.
Mariana…who would ever have thought… Here I am in my seat at the Gran Teatro Falla, filled to the rafters with a grateful and enthusiastic audience, and many people, nearly all the best of Cádiz flamenco, are singing, dancing and making music in your honor.
That was the thought that filled my head on Thursday night when I remembered Mariana Cornejo Sánchez, “Mariana de Cádiz”, who left us so prematurely and hurriedly at the end of 2013. Evelyn Waugh's famous phrase floated to the surface of my mind: “I know everyone has to die, but always thought an exception would be made in my case”. Because Mariana's case was exceptional. One of the many women in the history of flamenco who had to give up her artistic activities upon marriage, Mariana was able to restart her career decades later, spectacularly rejoining the profession, to become one of the most beloved figures of Cádiz flamenco.
The proceeds from the tribute will go towards financing a monument to the artist in the Merced plaza, right next to that of Chano Lobato. But most of all, this was a celebration of the life and work of Mariana, and of Cádiz flamenco in general. Lots and lots of alegrías, one more flavorful than the next, in addition to tanguillos, chuflas, bulerías of la Perla interpreted by her granddaughter, and of course, a delightful carnival chirigota group with flamenco touches. There was also room for a round of soleá de Cádiz, and siguiriyas by David Palomar, one of the principal collaborators of the event, along with Carmen de la Jara and Enrique Linera. Projected images of Mariana, the off-stage voice of the singer, a discreet group of Jerez artists and a chorus of male voices rounded out the mega event that last all of four hours.
As I was leaving the theater, I remembered the year 2002 at the Reunión de Cante Jondo de la Puebla de Cazalla, a festival which by tradition always ends with a round of tonás. The organization hadn't considered asking Mariana to take part, supposedly because she was considered a light-weight Cádiz fiesta singer, not apt for “deep” flamenco singing. But Mariana protested, and in the end interpreted her martinetes with power and conviction, sharing the stage with the likes of Pansequito, José Menese, Diego Clavel and Antonio Reyes.
That monument to Mariana de Cádiz already exists in the minds of flamenco followers. Let's hope that now it can become a physical reality.