XLI Fiesta de la Bulería
Text and photos: Estela Zatania
Four decades and counting… Word had gotten round that this might be the last edition of the venerable Fiesta de la Bulería. Maybe that’s why everyone was on their best behaviour. Perhaps it’s why there were no incidents despite the six thousand people congregated, the show began on time and Torta didn’t make a scene.
The idea of opening with Antonio el Pipa’s company also worked. A version of his successful work “De Tablao”, radically adapted for the occasion, got the crowd seated and orderly at the announced time, dissuaded rowdy partying up in the stands and delighted the audience. No Mariana Cornejo, no Carmen Ledesma, not even aunt Juana, she of the gravel voice. Just Antonio’s flashy dancing, competent back-up and the eager corps de ballet…who needs more than that?
Elu de Jerez, wonderful in spite of the violin and chorus she saw fit to bring along. The Fiesta de la Bulería is no place for such refinement, nor does the powerful Elu need to depend on it. In fact, this is a singer so over-endowed with raw strength and lung power, in smaller venues she can be as excessive as a symphony orchestra in a piano bar. With the accompaniment of Pascual de Lorca and Miguel Salado, she sang an assortment of tangos, bulería por soleá full of flavor, fandangos and bulerías.
El Torta, with Juan Manuel Moneo on guitar, came to the festival “raring to go”, and he kept his word. Received with a warm ovation, he let his talent unfold with alegrías cantiñas, bulería por soleá, siguiriyas, popular tango songs and bulerías, with all the substance of his charismatic personality.
“Jerez Joven por Bulerías”, and the characteristic twang of the guitar ‘por medio’ for bulerías gave no respite for nearly one hour to accompany the marathon fiesta brought by José Carpio “Mijita”, el Quini, Pedro de la Fragua, Luís de Pacote, Antonio Peña “El Tolo”, Manuel de la Fragua, Davinia Jaén, Tamara de Tañé and Felipa la del Moreno, each one doing his or her full routine, with Miguel Salado and Pepe del Morao on guitar. It was overly long, and the repetitious nature of the offering was not even tolerated by locals who normally can never get enough bulerías.
An “outsider” was announced, and it turned out to be Esperanza Fernández. That’s Jerez for you, even someone from Seville (Google says we’re a 67-minute drive from downtown Seville) is an exotic element. Dressed in lemon yellow, the lady comments it’s the first time she’s come to the Bulería. With her alegrías de Cádiz, siguiriyas, tangos de Triana and bulerías, and the excellent guitar of Miguel Ángel Cortés, she won over the tough crowd.
Betting on a sure thing, the organization left Capullo de Jerez for the last. With the punchy guitar of Manolito Jero, he started out at the typical wooden table with his people knuckling out compás, sang his standard repertoire and left the enthusiastic crowd singing his famous “Apágame la Luz” and “Son de Lunares”, wrapping up the happening at 3:35 in the morning.