XVI FESTIVAL FLAMENCO CAJAMADRID 2008
Teatro Albéniz. Madrid. Wednesday, January 30th, 2008
Text: Manuel Moraga
A CANTE TASTING
It was a night to enjoy one of the main characteristics of this art: personality. There may be nothing in common between Cabrero, Mayte Martín and Calixto Sánchez, but they are all part of what we call flamenco. Last night we were able to experience a true cante tasting.
José Domínguez “El Cabrero” was “very anxious to sing for everyone”, but unfortunately, it never went beyond that, the wish. It’s true Cabrero isn’t cozy with “duende”, but his singing is honest. His particular honesty, yes, but after all, each one’s honesty is the one that matters. He seemed weak, struggling too much, although true to his line. It was like champagne without bubbles: we got the essence, but no energy. Someone behind me said “he’s stuck in the nineteen-sixties”, and I ask myself, can you imagine Cabrero singing about commuter trains, as Mercé did, or a “play station” or whatever they call those contraptions? Well, it might be possible, but we all know how it would be. What I mean to say is, each person is the way he is, and if Cabrero were any different, he wouldn’t be El Cabrero. One thing for sure, we truly enjoyed Rafael Rodríguez on guitar.
Dear Mayte Martín:
End of letter.
That leaves Calixto, who is like an investment in government bonds: a sure thing that doesn’t tend to fail. Calixto Sánchez likes to put on ceremonious airs. The left hand clenched in a tight fist, the right one open and the jacket unbuttoned to sing with his full chest unhampered. Mayte Martín is a tough act to follow, and the singer from Mairena del Alcor had to made a big effort to keep up the pace. Malagueñas, siguiriyas, tientos, cantiñas, bulerías and “the complete works of Machado” like a friend said. All to deliver that internalized, serious, ceremonial, almost liturgical flamenco. And Manolo Franco, a delight. In other words, three different ways of understanding and transmitting the same thing. A night to compare different flavors, to inhale different aromas, to appreciate different colors. A true cante tasting.