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The Award Winning Enrique de Melchor

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...

Unfortunately, the other guest artists were also the performance’s low points. The female singers Marta and Loli Heredia, unlike their male counterpart, had weak voices and lacked spirit. And the dancer Alfonso Losa, whose dancing has no discernible elegance, misdirected the audience’s attention his crude and tasteless display of flamenco dance.

I’ve attended other Enrique de Melchor concerts in the past that I enjoyed more for the simple reason that they were more focused on his guitar playing rather than on the song and dance portions of the performance. Although the Caja Madrid concert was about celebrating Melchor’s talent, I left feeling that he’d been relegated to the roll of accompanist.

And although I would have liked to hear more of Melchor and less of his backup artists, I left delighted with the concert’s star piece, a colombiana – a palo that is not heard very often – that accentuated Melchor’s playing and the other musician’s strong points.

Text and photos by Justine Bayod Espoz


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