XIII FESTIVAL DE JEREZ 2009
Juan Diego, Ángel Muñoz, Adela Campallo “Inspiración”
Text: Estela Zatania / Photos: Ana Palma
Juan Diego “Inspiración”
Young Jerez guitarist Juan Diego presented a discreet but dignified show at the Villamarta Theater the second day of the Festival de Jerez 2009.
Shortly after the Big Bang, when they first began dancing flamenco, a specific pecking order became established: the singer sang, and if someone wanted to dance, they would do so in the background, while the guitarist, if there was one, came trailing behind, tying it all together, giving support without getting in the way. Then, they invented the flamenco dance company in order to satisfy the general public, and dancers created complicated choreographies that singers and guitarists had to learn in countless hours of rehearsal. From these circumstances we get the terms “cantaor de atrás”, to refer to someone who sings for dance, and “concertista”, the guitarist who plays on his own.
Nowadays, however, guitar is fashionable, and has acquired a prestige that puts it at the top of the food chain. The best soloists regularly dress up their recordings and performances with voice and dance, and the concept of a show that revolves around guitar is becoming more common all the time. Perhaps the most noteworthy thing about “Inspiración”, as Juan Diego’s work is called, is the relatively reduced role of the guitar; with accomplished stars like Ángel Muñoz and Adela Campallo, dance is no longer a side order, but the main dish. Singers Eva Durán and Londro also defend their personalities energetically in this presentation that hinges on classic flamenco thanks to the good taste of Juan Diego.
Seguiriya, soleá por bulería, tangos, alegrías, guajira, bulería, soleá… Juan Diego’s guitar has a sweet delivery with contemporary harmony and the permanent quest for the instrument’s roundest sound. A trumpet, that could have been a disaster, actually adds an interesting dimension, and the acoustic guitar and percussion are wisely administered.
But needless to say, when the indefinable Tomasito took over the stage with his antics in compás, we all had to fasten our seatbelts, everything else took second place and all the applause was for him. In the end, you leave the theater with the feeling of having seen an enjoyable, varied, contemporary flamenco show of high quality.
Mª José Franco “Bailando para mí”
Baile: Mª José Franco, Juan Ogalla. Cante: Luis Moneo, José Anillo, Manuel López-Creo. Guitarra: Juan Manuel Moneo, Pedro Pimentel. Violín: Sophia Quarenghi. Percusión. Raúl Domínguez.
This is the second time since breaking away from Antonio el Pipa to make her own company, that Cádiz dancer María José Franco has come to the Festival de Jerez, to this same Sala la Compañía, with what could be described as an ambitious work.
Thanks to her excellent background, not to mention the years spent alongside el Pipa, Franco knows the ropes well, and is a real pro. She has experienced backup, is a hard worker as can be seen from the high technical level of her polished choreographies, the attention to staging, the wardrobe and everything that surrounds the presentation of a show of this nature. She is elegantly beautiful, and her slender long-waisted figure seems designed specifically for dance.
So why, as also happened the first time around, don’t things come together? The dances feel very long, there is no communication with the musicians, no warmth or charisma of any kind. Guest artist, the admirable Juan Ogalla, almost becomes contaminated by the lack of energy, as if wanting to avoid upstaging the star, but in the end is incapable of containing his talent, and offers the best moments of the show, especially in the ‘a capella’ bulerías.
Towards the end, María José briefly loosens up and gets inspired, but it’s too little, too late. It is my sincere belief that this dancer is much better away from the context of a “work”, as we saw her last year in Cádiz at the Baluarte when she thrilled two thousand demanding fans, including yours truly.