The XIX. Flamenco Festival Caja Madrid, dedicated to the memory of the singer Enrique Morente
The last I saw of the XVIII Caja Madrid Flamenco Festival before packing my bags and heading for Jerez was the dual show starring the singer from Huelva Arcángel and the pianist from Seville Dorantes.
Arcángel began the evening with a gorgeous concert. With a delicate yet strong and expressive voice, Arcángel is representative of a young style of singing that strictly preserves the flamenco tradition. Maybe it’s because he’s lived them firsthand, but he sang the fandangos de Huelva masterfully.
What also contributed to the success of Arcángel’s concert were the artists with whom he surrounded himself: the guitarist Miguel Ángel Cortés flaunted his talent with a solo that was heavily applauded by the public, and the brothers, possibly twins, Antonio and Manuel Saavedra, responsible for choruses and palmas...
When Mayte Martin’s concert ended on the second night of the XVIII Caja Madrid Flamenco Festival, the Flamenco Calle de Alcalá 2010 Award was presented to the maestro guitarist Enrique de Melchor, whose concert ended the evening.
The son of Melchor de Marchena brought with him a large group of artists. Among those who shared the stage with Melchor, the most impressive were the excellent flamenco flutist Juan Parrilla and singer Chato de Vélez. I’d seen Juan Parrilla on several other occasions and admired his talent for a long time, but Vélez was a discovery. With a clear and strong voice, he soon won me over, becoming in a single night one of my favorite backing singers...
On the 16th of February, the Catalan singer Mayte Martin opened the second night of the Caja Madrid Flamenco Festival accompanied by guitarist Juan Ramón Caro. The magnificent flamenco singer was even more affable than usual, joking with the audience and creating a welcoming, cozy environment, even though the concert took place in the enormous Circo Price Theatre in Madrid, which is in actuality a circus ring.
Shortly after taking the stage, an audience member shouted effusively “¡Guapa!” (Beautiful), to which Martin responded, “You’re not half bad either.” After singing several numbers, another spectator yelled “You sing better every day.” And Martin quipped, “She said it, but I know you were all thinking it.” They were both probably right. Martin presented an almost impeccable concert. Only when she began to sing a garrotín did she have to stop a few seconds so that the guitarist could adjust the key, and despite the rocky start, the garrotín was one of the evening’s most evocative pieces...