XVI BIENAL DE FLAMENCO DE SEVILLA
“DUNAS” María Pagés, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui
Choreography, director, dance: María Pagés, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. Original music: Simón Brzoska, Rubén Lebaniegos. Taranto music: Fyty Carillo. Musicians: Barbara Draskowska (piano), Ismael de la Rosa (cante), Mohammed El Arabi-Serghini (Arabic singer), Fyty Carillo (guitar), David Moñiz (violin), Chema Uriarte (percussion).
María Pagés did it again. She has once again put together a theatrically exemplary show which is immensely attractive, original, and above all, very carefully and lovingly worked in every way. And as happens at times with these works that are so original and personal, it takes a really strong magnifying glass to detect any bits and pieces of flamenco. So here I am, caught between praising the theatrical accomplishment and protesting the inappropriate nature of this show for the Bienal de Flamenco where the organization did not find room for other more flamenco artists, revered by followers of the genre, but possibly not household names among the public at large. Perhaps filling the one thousand eight-hundred seats of the Teatro de la Maestranza is not an objective that is compatible with presenting shows that reflect the genre referred to in the title of the festival.
At least it wasn’t a “conceptual” work, because let me tell you, the saturation of breakthrough concepts reached quota days ago. María Pagés’ newest work seems more appropriate for Cirque de Soleil, and I say this with no ironic intent whatsoever, but with the utmost respect. “Dunas” has that visual fascination, includes elegant acrobatics and makes use of spectacular effects of light and shadow which may or may not be the original work of Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, star of contemporary dance and María’s partner in this show. In any case, you take this person out of the show and all that’s left are many meters of diaphanous curtains, and the characteristic waving of Pagés’ arms and torso. In fact, the most intriguing and engaging piece wasn’t even dance, but rather the brilliantly simple projection of line drawings carried out on the spot by Cherkaoui in sand over glass. I lost all notion of time, but the memory of that moment feels like it lasted about fifteen minutes. This man’s extraordinary graphic skill allow him to tell complex stories such as Adam and Eve, the life-cycle of birth to death or the attack on the Trade Towers with just a few lines drawn with his fingers, all on the spot and with dizzying speed.
At worst, the show could be criticized for having a uniform atmosphere beginning to end, an hour and a quarter. I vaguely remember a verse of tientos sung to martinete, a bit of soleá, a strange pas de deux to the compás of siguiriyas without singing in which Cherkaoui does cartwheels or squirms on the floor – the most flamenco fragments of “Dunas”. But the most imposing visual memory is of the great expanses of translucent sand-colored material, and the complicated handling of them so brilliantly carried out.
“MARINA” MARINA HEREDIA
Ficha artística: Cante: Marina Heredia; Guitarras: Bolita, Luis Mariano, Diego del Morao; Palmas y Coros: Anabel Ribera, ToñiNogaredo, Jara Heredia; Percusión: Paquito González. Colaboración especial: Parrita y Farruquito.
Text: Gonzalo Montaño Peña.
Singer Marina Heredia came to the Bienal de Flamenco to prove she’s a real flamenca with a command of the basic cantes, that she is a grown woman and wants to be among the stars that make up the panorama of flamenco singing.
She opened with a pregón that was both her calling card and a declaration of intentions. A sweet carmelly voice for bittersweet melodies, she ended with pregón with a tonás. She went on to tangos from her native Granada, styles that are truly close to her heart, standing and delivering her spectacular voice and flamenco image.
Fandangos del Albayzín have a personality of their own in her voice, and although the comparison with her friend and paisana Estrella Morente may become tiresome, it must be said that these two singers have truly personal styles. Two artists from similar influences and surroundings, but with a different flamenco essence.
She dresses in a short suit to demonstrate her knowledge of Levante cante: minera and levantica. Good pitch and good taste in the execution of these styles that require great breath control.
Overall, the show had excellent aesthetics, with no complex staging but intelligent lighting and well-distributed space. More quality than quantity.
Out to prove herself, she took hold of a malagueña with all her strength and tried to go all the way in soleá and siguiriya, although we could only see flashes of what this cantaora is capable of doing. Antonio Mairena said that to sing soleá or siguiriyas with true feeling, you have to be at least 50 years old. Perhaps he was right and these cantes need to sit and soak, like a good stew the day after.
The guest artists added a touch of luxury, both Parrita who sang a bulerías song along with Marina, and Farruquito por alegrías written by the dancer, possibly the chilliest moment of the evening.
With a tribute to the rumba of Bambino, the recital came to an end, and the audience showed their appreciation. Beautiful singer, beautiful stage, good accompaniment and high-quality collaborations. Every detail carefully planned.
“ENSAYO Y TABLAO” Segundo Falcón, Lalo Tejada, Inma Rivero, Juan José Amador
Text: Estela Zatania
Last night the series of the Bienal de Flamenco de Sevilla that corresponds to the Hotel Triana, the open-air venue the organization reserves for more informal or spontaneous presentations, was spectacularly closed out.
“Ensayo y Tablao” as the….show?…work?…happening? was called, began, alas, very badly. From one of the balconies of the old house in whose patio the shows are held, a woman, dressed in flamenco garb and illuminated with a spot, let rip apparently senseless and extremely unpleasant noises at peak volume in between very long silences. It was about ten minutes of this and it was seriously annoying, so much so, that a few people got up and left. One person shouted from the audience “come on, get on with it already!” triggering laughter. I wasn’t able to find out the meaning of this bizarre introduction, but if anyone knows please do inform me.
The attempt to represent the teaching work of Manolo Marín, whose participation was one of the most noteworthy elements of the show, led to the uninteresting dance of Lalo Tejada with a male dancer, both in bata de cola and carrying a fan. The whole thing began to pick up a bit when Marín requested tangos de Triana and danced a few minutes for us with his admirable personal artistry. Another dance by Tejada was just watchable, and you began to realize the cool temperature and the wind that was picking up.
From one of the other balconies, Paco Taranto sang siguiriyas accompanied by the bells of Llorenç Barber in an unfortunate experiment of contrived fusion. The fandangos of Diego el Boquerón from another balcony, and the peteneras of Segundo Falcón from yet another, fared quite a lot better.