VERANOS DEL CORRAL
Text and photos: Antonio Conde
Continuing with the summer schedule at the Corral del Carbón, the third week of the program just finished. An intensive series which has little or nothing to do with large format festivals. Although there is not a daily program, it is compensated in other ways. Fifteen days of performances, which, taking into account structural differences, is the duration of the Festival de Jerez, and half the duration of Seville’s Bienal. There is no question that this festival is a must for flamenco fans.
The second part of the night brought the dancing of Pastora Galván who is always casting a glance toward her brother Israel. Constant winks to the audience, dramatic breaks and “burlerías” in siguiriyas which was fused with fandangos and sevillanas. David Lagos interpreted malagueñas, a cante he clearly enjoys, and Juan Campallo put the guitar accompaniment.
In alegrías, Pastora was concise and straightforward, more than self-sufficient with white shawl and bata de cola. The woman has enough knowledge and experience to do whatever she wants. Her facial expression and arms are eloquent, and her traditional dance spiced with avant-garde was enthralling. Singer José Valencia laid down the law with his tarantos and levantica. Pastora chose tangos to end, and an encore was based on alboreás.
Wednesday night was given over to Cádiz singer Mariana Cornejo. Full of life and the desire to please, with people like Mariana it’s clear that Cádiz cante won’t be forgotten. The heritage of Cádiz bay comes together in this fine performer. She began with cantiñas and rosa, with verses taken from Antonio Murciano, and continued with tasty bulerías from her hometown to end with a jotilla aragonesa. In siguiriyas, Mellizo and Aurelio were always present. In tangos, she began with Niña de los Peines, passing through Triana to end in Cádiz and Granada. More bulerías in the form of “Ojos Verdes” and “Si tu me Dices Ven”, and tanguillo rap that won over the audience. The versatile Pascual de Lorca, and the compás of Diego Amaya were the excellent back-up.
The youth of Huelva dancer Antonio Molina “El Choro”, is his greatest ally in carrying out his objectives. He bases his dancing on strength and heelwork that surpass imaginable limits. Very much in the Farruquito line, his compositon for tarantos was limited to pulling off special effects with his feet. Though nervous, he pretended to be a block of cement. The singing of Javier Rivera with fandangos por bulerías gave a respite for Choro to return and again demonstrate his strength. In the siguiriyas he was excessively aggressive. Another cante break with young singer Juan José Amador and the guitar of Juan Campallo, and again the dancer demonstrated more in the same line. Soleá por bulerías with endless build-ups and closings, and plenty of special effects.
The weekly closing of the series featured Gabriel Moreno. An artist I’d never heard live before, and he was surprising. He’s a true veteran, with an authentic flamenco sound. Rafael Santiago accompanied him on guitar, and although his performance was brief, the result was gratifying, especially for the audience. His singing is reminiscent of Juan Valderrama, as is his aesthetic. A singer made in his own style, he interpreted malagueñas, siguiriyas, tangos and taranta with a dedication to his mother.
Rafael del Carmen is true to his style. When I first saw him, I didn’t like what he did, full of effects and rigid poses, abusing his strength as happens with so many young dancers, and an overwhelming desire to wow audiences. Now his dancing is toned down, although his foot technique is still electrifying. He has more energy than he can handle, and it subtracts harmony from the product he’s peddling. In tangos, soleá and alegrías there were plenty of acrobatics, and endless abrupt stops that broke the aesthetic line but which seemed to please the crowd, and since the customer is always right… Juan Requena was subtly delightful with his granaína solo, and José Valencia who we’d seen days earlier, pulled off a very personal siguiriya with an extravagant voice. Worthy of mention was Manuel Tañé, in charge of singing for the dance.