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October 2, 2008


“Con solera. La noche de las tres lunas”
Víctor Monge ‘Serranito’

October 1st, 2008. 9:00pm. Teatro Lope de Vega



Text: Estela Zatania
Photos: © Archivo Bienal de Flamenco, Luis Castilla

Musical director, original idea and interpretation: Víctor Monge ‘Serranito’. Guest artist (ethnic instruments): Javier Paxariño. Dance: Ángel Múñoz. Cante: Eva Duran, Gema Caballero. Keyboard: Moisés Sánchez. Second guitar: Paco Vidal. Bass and guitar: Julián Vaquero. Percusson: Víctor Monge junior.

Victor Monge ‘Serranito’, from Madrid, was one of the first who managed to make a career playing solo flamenco guitar in concert, and way back in the sixties, flamenco fans had already heard about him.  Older than Paco de Lucía, but too young to be considered of the Sabicas generation, he occupies a special niche in the history of flamenco, and his path is different from that of any other.

Bienal de Flamenco. Foto Luis Castilla
Bienal de Flamenco. Foto Luis Castilla

Long before Paco arrived on the scene, Serranito already felt the impulse not to follow the flock, that led him to explore the possibilities of his chosen instrument and genre – the classic case of a man ahead of his time.  When Paco de Lucía made such a profound impact on the art, and many good guitarists practically gave up, Serranito was one of the few who managed to keep his position, and went on the make eighteen recordings, travelling to faraway countries in representation of his home country of Spain.

A few years ago, with the intense current interest in flamenco guitar, which on an international level has eclipsed the importance of dance, Serranito has mounted a sort of comeback to energetically claim his rightful place among the stars.  He came to the Bienal with a show freely based on the confluence of Christian, Moslem and Hebrew cultures: the “three moons” of the title.

Bienal de Flamenco. Foto Luis Castilla
Bienal de Flamenco. Foto Luis Castilla

Madrid native Serranito has an extraordinary feel for Andalusia that he applies to this work, which more than a series of compositions, is a sort of symphony, to interpret original compositions with the backup of ethnic instruments, as well as a second guitar, keyboard, bass, percussion, dance and cante.  As in everything Serranito does, there is a clear vocation to explore, always without exaggeration or excesses.  The repertoire reflects the multicultural intention in petenera, tangos with a strong Granada Arabic flavor and the intrinsically oriental sound of a taranta, in addition to a tribute to García Lorca, alegrías and some non-descript jazz pieces that were far too long for an audience that already has been burned a few times in recent shows of the Bienal that were flamenco-free.

Serranito’s phrasing and picado runs are reminiscent of the nineteen-eighties.  It’s not today’s technical level…nor even the day before yesterday’s…but the interpreter’s command and good taste make up for any technical shortcoming.  Two women singers, Eva Durán and Gema Caballero for alegrías in E position, siguiriyas and tangos among other things, and the contemporary zapateado of Ángel Muñoz, offered relief from the purely instrumental.  But perhaps the best moments came in the soleá, where the musician put technique at the service of artistic expression, allowing us to behold the beauty of human hands making 6 strings speak.