XV BIENAL DE FLAMENCO DE SEVILLA
“Aires de Jerez” – La Macanita
Text: Estela Zatania
In a Bienal program overloaded with avant-gardism, experimentalism, jazzism and other isms that leave ordinary flamenco fans scratching their heads, the organization stuck in the perfect antidote: two parts Méndez sisters, one part each Manuel Parrilla, Chícharo, Gregorio and Bo, a generous helping of María del Mar’s dance (without additives), add a generous amount of Tomasa Guerrero “Macanita” and mix well to get the unmistakable Jerez flavor par excellence.
Although Farruquito’s show at the Auditorio had gone overtime, there were no empty spaces in the large patio of the Hotel Triana, a venue the organization of the Bienal de Sevilla reserves for the most traditional offerings. The neighbors deck out the banisters of the upper floors with colorful Spanish shawls as a sort of collective declaration, not only of their complicity and interest, but of a certain longing for times past when Triana’s nights filled with the voices of Titi, Sordillo, Oliver, Teta and so many others.
Classic flamenco is the humble stepchild of a festival that refers to the genre as a “cultural industry”, but not to worry, as Bogart once said: “we’ll always have Jerez”. Not because it’s better or worse, nor even because of the number of artists, but because they refuse to give up. The people in Jerez tell themselves a lovely story, and fight to make it become reality, because another quote to consider is that of Kurt Vonnegut: “We become what we pretend to be”.
And Jerez longs to be the guardian of compás, of old-time flamenco and the absence of artifice. More often than not it’s more façade than reality, but with Macanita and her entourage, you know the authentic aroma of flamenco will always be present. Tomasa, the dark beauty, began with martinete – it’s not normally a woman’s cante, but is being cultivated by some – then, soleá and alegrías. A guitar solo with Parrilla and Pepe Morao has the guarantee that both dynasties offer, and María del Mar Moreno delivers her favorite dance, siguiriyas, with all the depth of feeling required, and the cante of Macanita who seldom, if ever, sings for dance.
Paca and Manuela, nieces of the great Paquera de Jerez, evoke the force, the compás and the torrential flamenco we miss so much ever since the queen of bulerías took her leave. Macanita interprets malagueñas ending with the fandango of Frasquito (frowned-upon in Jerez, although it sounds fine), and rounds out the recital with bulerías with her irresistibly toasted voice. The no-holds-barred fiesta ending was inevitable, and the lovely story keeps going…