Resumen: XIII Festival de Jerez. Concha Jareño 'Algo' – Isabel Bayón 'Tórtola Valencia' – Javier Patino
XIII FESTIVAL DE JEREZ 2009
Concha Jareño “Algo”
Text: Estela Zatania / Photos: Ana Palma Photo gallery
Concha Jareño “Algo”
Dance: Concha Jareño. Guitar: Juan Antonio Suárez “Cano” (colaboración especial). Cante: José Salinas, Gema Caballero. Violin: Konstantín Chakarov “Kosio”. Percussion. Nacho Arimany.
Within the lengthy program of the Festival de Jerez, with its four venues, I always approach shows at the Sala la Compañía with the greatest expectation and optimism. It was there I discovered Israel Galván and Roció Molina, as well as other lesser-known but admirable dancers such as Pilar Ortega, Manuela Ríos and Domingo Ortega. There have been some disappointments also, but they are necessary in order to leave the door open for investigation and experimentation.
I saw Concha Jareño win two well-deserved prizes at the last Córdoba contest, where she surprised me with her retro pre-tablao style, a low-key way of dancing with the pleasant aroma of past times that we can only glimpse on yellowed photographs in equally yellowed books, although it never seemed like a re-enactment or imitation. She surprised me once again in the Festival of La Unión, and let me tell you, last night at the Sala la Compañía, Concha Jareño surprised me once again. A lot.
In the first place, Jareño is a great dancer, and this is what makes everything else possible. Others have tried to incorporate modern dance into flamenco – or vice versa – with uneven results, or worse. But Concha’s astonishing intelligence and preparation let her navegate through the artistic perils of other genres, still managing to stay on course. Surprising.
The work has imperfections, but the successes far outnumber the small failures. If the first number with diaphanous fabric hanging from above triggered an “oh no, please, not again” in your reviewer’s thoughts, the milonga, rondeña and tonás triggered “why not?”
In flamenco dance it has become nearly meaningless to speak of “palos”, or forms. The tendency is toward homogenization and mixture, not only via fusion with outside music, but also within classic flamenco. For all practical purposes, there are only two forms, one binary (tango, farruca, garrotín, etc..), and the other, an “amalgam” that incorporates measures of two and of three beats (soleá, bulería, siguiriya, alegrías, etc…). And this is how Concha Jareño administers her show, with the help of guitarist Juan Antonio Suárez “Cano”. She revives Camarón’s “Canastera”, spruces up rondeña, revitalizes tangos, bulerías…
The show’s message seems to reveal itself when a short alegrías bit with guitar and cante, and Concha wearing a bright red ruffled dress to represent flamenco as it was presented in the era of festivals and tablaos, gives way to a violín (the magnificent Konstantín Chakarov). Suddenly, the dancer takes the flower off and removes the colorful costume to reveal a black dress underneath, to symbolize present times. But then, she removes the black layer, and a neutral flesh-colored layer is beneath, leaving the door open to a looming unknown future this dancer is eager to explore.
Isabel Bayón “Tórtola Valencia”
Dance: Isabel Bayón. Guest artist: Matilde Coral. Cante: Miguel Ortega, El Pulga. Guitar: Jesús Torres, Paco Arriaga. Percusión: El Pájaro. Viola: Rafa el Viola. Choreography: Isabel Bayón.
Darkness, smoke, mystery, coldness, lots of libretto and little emotion. The work called “Tórtola Valencia” is the sum of its elements.
Isabel Bayón is not only admired on her home turf, but is considered one of the best of her generation, and this work is generously supported by the Agencia Andaluza para el Desarrollo del Flamenco and the Ministerio de Cultura. Which makes me the odd woman out.
Isabel is a fine professional who long ago learned how far she could go at each instant, and never crosses those limits or miscalculates. Ever. And it is precisely that absence of risk-taking that makes her product lacking in the quality that induces you to get out of the house, get into your car, find a parking place and pay hard-earned money to spend an hour and a half immobilized in a theater seat.
The work itself doesn’t help either. Long audiovisual segments with text that is barely visible from where I was seated, a story of little interest about a somewhat flaky showgirl (judging from how she is presented) who had men at her feet a hundred years ago. Tangos…a guajira with two small fans…garrotín, a seldom-heard cante that is rarely danced…farruca… The musicians look more at each other than at the dancer, which goes a long way to explaining the lack of spontaneity. In general, very little cante. It takes a huge personality to get by without cante, and even then it’s ill-advised.
The moving appearance at the end with Matilde Coral and user-friendly Miguel Poveda to sing to her (we can all thank Isabel Bayón for this present), gave the dynamic edge that had been missing throughout the rest of the show.
Javier Patino “Media vida”
At 35, to record a solo album and play it in live recital is an admirable accomplishment for any guitarist in this day and age. To call the project “Media Vida”, which means ‘half a lifetime’, seems over the top in one so young. But he has taken full advantage of his years. Javier Patino, from Jerez, never shied away from cante and dance accompaniment, quite the contrary, and this makes his playing solid and chewy. He was also taken under the wing of Gerardo Núñez, and was musical director for several important dancers, most notably Javier Barón with whom we had he pleasure of seeing him play a couple of days ago within this festival.
At the Bodega de los Apóstoles, the young guitarist began with a lyrical siguiriya. A firm, decisive touch, good technique, fresh original music. The bulería contains interesting modulations, and the fandango de Huelva is dedicated to his teacher José Luís Balao. Guest artist, Tino di Giraldo, adds the tasteful percussion, and Pablo Martín joins the group with his upright bass for a contemporary rumba with Alexis Lefévre on violin for zapateado, granaína and tanguillo among other pieces…Patino commands a large repertoire.
The mother of all fiesta endings took place with the wonderful dancing of Javier Barón and the singing of David Lagos and Miguel Ortega.