XVI BIENAL DE FLAMENCO DE SEVILLA
“SIN MUROS! Una voz en alto ” DORANTES
Text: Estela Zatania
Piano: Dorantes. Argentine accordion: Marcelo Mercadante. Acoustic guitar: Ricardo Moreno. Violin: Faisal Kourrich. Double bass: Yelsy Heredia. Voice and chorus: Rafael de Utrera. Palmas and chorus: Hermanos Saavedra “Los Mellis”. Percussion: Tete Peña. Guest artists: Esperanza Fernández, El Pele, Pedro Peña, Renaud García. Special collaboration: Pedro Ma. Peña, guitar. Original music: Dorantes.
To attend a piano recital presented as a “flamenco show” is always an act of faith for the avid fan, something I assume you are if you’re reading these words. The standard signposts of compás, cante, classic guitar riffs, etc, are barely present, or at least are hard to identify, and the imposing sound of the piano treads heavily compared to the six strings of a guitar, and the former upstages everything else.
Once you accept these difficulties, it’s always a pleasure to enjoy the music of David Peña “Dorantes”, even when he doesn’t quite satisfy the permanent hunger for flamenco endured by us fans of the genre. In his work “Sin Muros”, the pretext of a world without borders translates handily into “fusion”, that magical word that is used nowadays to validate all sorts of musical experiments, although some fare better than others. So, on the program, next to each musician’s name, is the stomping-ground they inhabit: Argentina, Morocco, France, Cuba and of course Lebrija, flamenco town par excellence, and home to the Peña family which is Dorantes’.
The participation of important voices was to have been the icing on the cake that would give a special glow of authenticity to the pianist’s original compositions, but two important last-minute drop-outs due to strong personal reasons, those of José Mercé and Juan Peña “Lebrijano”, the latter a close relative of Dorantes, were a hard setback to absorb. Lebrijano’s planned performance of “4 Leguas de Amor” was covered by an instrumental version of same, and José Mercé’s piece was managed by Rafael de Utrera.
Other compositions in three quarter time insinuate bulerías, and the palmas back them up in that way, although without the energy normally supplied by cante, and with long solo bits by the percussionist and double bass, the flamenco aroma keeps at a distance. The voice of Esperanza Fernández falls a bit flat in granaína, a form that requires a sort of shading the singer doesn’t normally employ. By contrast, the warm wise voice of Pedro Peña, father of Dorantes, with his other son, Pedro Ma. Peña on guitar for soleá, put the flamenco feeling right up front where it belonged. In guajiras, Esperanza again just meets requirements, but Rafael de Utrera woke everyone up with the brilliance of his register in alegrías.
“CORRAL DEL CARBÓN ” ANTONIO CAMPOS
Text: Estela Zatania
Young Granada singer Antonio Campos isn’t in a hurry to make the big time at all costs like so many others of his generation. He wants to perfect his art, have the chance to interpret it, make a living and enjoy the respect of fans and peers. In this sense, Campos already has everything, and the absence of more superficial ambitions is added value.
At the Teatro Alameda, another highly enjoyable evening with artists “lesser” not in quality but fame. The insistent drone of a romance is played by young Morón guitarist Daniel Méndez who, despite his absolutely contemporary approach, is unable to resist letting out a few sounds that identify his hometown, but with a modern way of touching the strings – it’s a fruitful union of influences.
Of the rich crop of young Granada singers, Campos is one of the most complete, experienced and respected. Compás so substantial that it’s nourishing, and again we are reminded of the importance of having done time singing for dance, although like most Granada singers, he has no problem with the subtlety and shading required for free-form cante such as malagueña of Chacón, ending with fandangos of Lucena and Albayzín.
In cantiñas, Antonio can boogie with best artists Cádiz has to offer, singing about the “Alhambra de Graná” instead of the “Muralla Real”, and he closes with alegrías de Córdoba. Personal touches combined with knowledge, the best and tastiest flamenco recipe. Soleá de Alcalá and Triana, siquiriyas, tientos with the carefully-crafted phrasing of older singers (for many young people, tientos is little more than an introduction to tangos) and bulerías which included granaína por fiesta.