XVII Festival Flamenco
Paco del Pozo & Argentina & Miguel Poveda
Teatros del Canal
Cante PACO DEL POZO con ANTONIO CARRIÓN, guitarra; JOSÉ SALINAS y RAFAEL PERAL, palmas
Text: Manuel Moraga
FLAMENCO ART AND ARTISTS
Many years of wonderful performances were left behind at the Albéniz Theater. The recently opened Canal Theaters are the new venue for the Festival Flamenco Cajamadrid. Judging from public opinion, it was not a change for the better. But the important thing is the art has a place to be exhibited, wherever it is. For now, the first night, starring flamenco artists of the new generation, couldn’t have gone better.
It was an intense and complete program that opened the 17th Festival Cajamadrid. On stage, three performers with the common denominator of youth, but with different styles and offerings. Madrid singer Paco del Pozo wasted no time heating up the atmosphere, and surprised many of those present: “There are so many good singers we never hear about!” and similar comments were heard among the aisles of a strange theater that looks more like a dingy futuristic jailhouse from Mad Max than a concert hall.
Paco del Pozo has a very special sensibility. His voice is dense and thick, but he is able to mold and adjust it to the expressive needs of diverse styles. He transmits a strange feeling of maturity almost inappropriate for his age. In live performance, he grows somehow and managed to demonstrate, not only his knowledge, but also his stage experience. He also had the virtue of trimming the duration of his performance. He knew how to act like a professional and without a doubt, left a very good impression, thanking Madrid for its love of flamenco. It’s a pity artists like Paco del Pozo have such a hard time proving their worth in other corners of the flamenco map, especially Andalusia. The audience gave him a standing ovation.
Singer Argentina was also sent off with a standing ovation, and gave a fine performance, although she didn’t administer the time as well. In content, Argentina alternated well-rehearsed songs with others that left room for creativity, like soleá and siguiriyas. It’s a good thing that performers leave this type of window open for emotions to be felt on the spur of the moment, because flamenco should always have that element of spontaneity. As occurs in bullfighting, the individual proceeds according to what he finds in the ring.
Argentina has gone up a notch in her singing and her way on stage. Now she is much more of an artist than just a couple of years ago when she still exhibited a certain shyness. Even so, she would have come off better had she reduced the length of her performance, considering she was the second on a program of three singers. Special mention for Torombo, who not only is an amazing dancer, but also does terrific backup with compás and shouts of encouragement.
The fact is, after Paco del Pozo and Argentina, a high standard had been set, but Miguel Poveda is like tennis-player Nadal, not only in his physical appearance, but also in the dignity with which he takes on a challenge. He came on with a voice somewhat deeper than on other occasions, perhaps due to a slight cold, but personally, I really like the medium-deep register in Poveda’s voice which is normally high. Miguel had an absolutely magical night.
This singer’s progress is spectacular. Not so long ago, he was barely a boy determined to keep to established forms. Then began his period of experimentation and now, with no interruption in the process, he exhibits admirable maturity. He has gone from singing to interpreting. From drawing lines, he has gone on to searching for emotion, and within his clean tonal reach, his voice breaks with great effect again and again. Furthermore, his stage presence is important, and he knows how to be an artist. Splendid malagueña and taranta, magnificent in cantiñas and tangos, somewhat less successful in his version of the soleá of Charamusco, but always giving every bit of himself in everything he did.
Without a doubt, three great cante recitals by three young flamenco artists who showed just how good they are, and who no doubt will one day be three truly great maestros.