Text: Antonio Conde Photos: Ana Palma
1st week: Fuensanta La Moneta, Jorge Pardo, Dorantes & Mayte Martin
With 16 editions of the flamenco series “Los Veranos del Corral” it’s not surprising that if we look back at the list of artists who have performed, not many stars are missing. Since its inception, nearly all the major young artists of the flamenco scene, and some heavyweights as well, have participated. Such a complete history shows the strength of a very carefully programmed series which has become one of the summer benchmarks of flamenco in Granada.
A simple format, devoted almost exclusively to dance, with few exceptions, is a necessary leitmotif, and sufficient to present an outstanding example in these new times of festivals.
It is possibly a year in which the artistic quality of those who will grace this venue in the sixteenth edition of the series, is at a level that matches that of major national events.
La Lupi, Patricia Guerrero, Jesús Fernández y Anabel Moreno, Pepe Torre, Manuel Liñán and El Pele make up a wide range of possibilities for entertainment in the coming weeks.
Add to this the fantastic week that just finished and which we report on here…
La Moneta was in charge of opening the dance series.
In many previous editions this Granada artist has opened or closed the program of shows, nearly every year, and always better.
It’s no surprise that this dancer belongs to the elite of flamenco dance.
Not only because of her overall message, but because of the concepts she employs in the creation of her dances, the architecture that sustains it and her way of laying it out.
We’re not saying anything new. It's just the current memory of the personal aesthetic of a dancer who is everything in the dance.
Surprisingly, the flamenco fan knows that not everything this dancer has to offer has been discovered, everything that’s in her mind and which she is able to convey, to create and recreate. And everything with surprising naturalness.
The opening cantiñas marked a path to follow, that of good taste. It was a different sort of dance, marked by the strength that comes from years of dancing in the caves of Sacromonte, and the instinctive knowledge of a young artist who dominates time and space as few others. Luis Mariano on guitar enriches everything he touches. They created a wave of flamenconess throughout the evening that turned out to be magical.
The rest of the members of the group were outstanding. From a liviana and seguiriya without guitar in the voice of Matías López “El Mati”, charged with feeling, as well as the romance, the toná and debla of Miguel Lavi, equally impressive. The group was rounded out with the superb Miguel “Cheyenne” on percussion. He deserves a chapter unto himself for knowing his place, and contributing in just the right amount.
Many of the performers tried to honor the memory of the late Morente. And few managed to do it with the good taste of Lavi and Mati. Bulerías in the style of Morente in the choruses, with the personal touch of Luis Mariano.
A change of pace, of time, of rhythm and on to a tientos prologue with a Moorish zambra, then tied to the memory of Gaspar de Utrera. The tone of taranta on the guitar seemed to indicate the plan: start with tientos and tangos, and end with taranto. But Moneta had other ideas, and spoke though her dancing to communicate where she was from and why she is who she is. The most Granada perspective of Moneta closed a night to remember, where there was also cante of Utrera and Lebrija.
The week brought a very interesting music recital. Music without singing, but with a lot to say. Jorge Pardo’s flute speaks eloquently and sketches the vocal melodies. He makes you hum along with Camarón de la Isla, and insinuates the guitar notes of Paco de Lucía.
Pardo was the master of ceremonias for Josemi Carmona and Bandolero on a night full of fusion, of flamenco background music made into a jam session in the purest style of jazz musicians. The play of melodies went from the guitar to the flute and the saxophone accompanied by the percussion and drums of Bandolero. Camarón was present throughout the night, whether it was the Cádiz bulerías of La Perla or the Cuatro Muleros, and forever Paco in our memory with Almoraima and the musical subtlety of Jorge Pardo.
Another good bit of programming was having Dorantes on Wednesday evening. To speak of the flamenco piano, is to speak of David Peña. From the Lebrija family of the Perrates, this man is the most avant-garde reference for an instrument that Arturo Pavón put into flamenco circulation decades ago.
Dorantes interpreted part of his most recent recording, but with the extra added element of experimenting with jazz fusion and bossa-nova. There was a spot for zambra, some “ida y vuelta” and the constant alternation of 4×4 time and 3×4. The upright bass of Francis Pose and the percussion of Javier Ruibal backed up the impeccable music of Dorantes. The obligatory closing was his super-famous “Orobroy” which left the audience enthralled.
The weekly fiesta finale was outstanding. A week in which the “duende” was not only present in the singing, but in the music as well. Which shows that duende doesn’t only exist in the depths of old-style singing, in soleá or siguiriya, but in the form of expression that overcomes that outdated vision that only recognizes it in the strictest sense.
Catalonian singer Mayte Martín likes to salvage pieces that few singers include in their repertoires. Things that some flamencologists have labeled as not very flamenco. But we must remember that it’s the interpreter who makes something flamenco or not. To sing peteneras or garrotin is not the common thing in a recital of flamenco singing, but along comes Mayte to remind us that those cantes are there and singers like Niño Medina, La Niña de los Peines and Manuel Torre already recorded them.
Mayte isn’t afraid to take risks, and easily takes on malagueña with rondeña and fandango of Yerbabuena before delving into seguiriya and fandango de Huelva. Between cantiñas, garrotón and bulerías, there isn’t much space in her creative mind, in her personal way of delivering the cantes and giving them melismatic shading. With the same enthusiasm she does all this, she just as easily takes on bulerías of Lole and Manuel accompanying herself on guitar, as Paco de Montilla and Anilla de Ronda did at the end of the nineteenth century. The rest of the recital was Juan Ramón Caro who was in charge of backing up Mayte’s singing.