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...
sang in such perfect unison that it was almost as though they shared a single voice. Not to mention that they have very strong, alluring voices. I hope that sooner or later the Saavedra brothers have the opportunity to develop a solo or duo career.
The evening ended with the show “Open Piano with Grilo” by David Peña “Dorantes”. I have to say right off the bat that I am not a fan of Dorantes’ music. Despite labeling himself a flamenco pianist, I would say that his music is more modern jazz than anything else, so therefore, I cannot evaluate him as a flamenco artist.
Although I don’t like Dorantes’ music, I loved two of his guest artists. Rafael de Utrera, who’s sung with big name musicians and dancers, has an excellent voice for accompaniment. But the star of the second half of the evening was the exceptional dancer Joaquín Grilo. With inexhaustible energy and an entirely unique style of dance, Joaquín Grilo makes every event he participates in a success.
Text and photos by Justine Bayod Espoz