Ana Salazar
Biography, discography, Real Audio and readers' comments.


Jondo from the Seine

Candela Olivo. Madrid, November 2003
Photos: Daniel Muñoz

'Ana Salazar canta a Edith Piaf'. Ana Salazar: cante and baile. Pepito Rivero: piano. Patricia Prieto: choruses. Juan Pedro Cornejo: accordion. Víctor Ambroa: violin. Yelsi Heredia: contrabass. Pablo Martín: percussion. David Tavares: guitar. Guillermo McGill: drums. Theater of the French Institute. Madrid, November 26th, 2003.

Ana Salazar

'Ana Salazar canta a Edith Piaf' comes to life. The album's live performance which provides a new twist to the encounter between flamenco and 'chanson' goes on stage with dignity and reliability, ready to make itself an outstanding place on the international musical performance circuit. To do so, the show has points of guarantee. The main one is a more than complete artist, who not only sings, but also dances, acts, comes across and believes in it. The second is how well-assembled the show is both in the musical accompaniment live - in the wave of flamenco jazz, more of an update of the original sound of the Little Sparrow of France -, and in the staging. The third is the project's universality: neither too much flamenco, nor too much 'chanson'; it gains naturalness in the mix. The whole is coherent, visually attractive, approachable and full, very full of sensitivity. This proposal, young and responsible, opens another door to flamenco through which it may be understood.

A whisper in off invoking silence leads up to the drawing of the curtain. The accordion tempers the throat pointing out the melody, wrapped by the piano, violin, contrabass, percussion, guitar and drums. All the instruments, now tempered, await Ana Salazar's stage entrance. She arrives stealthily, dressed in trousers, a vest and a knotted kerchief around her neck. The headband microphone - enough for her tone of voice - gives her freedom of movement. And she exploits it, moving gracefully all over stage, to the beat of 'Padam padam'. The singer and bailaora's expressiveness don't take long to capture the audience. Seated, she now sings 'Como yo', with a 'femme fatale' pose from films from the '40s; sweet, sensual, a diva. Patricia Prieto as her double. Music and voice, soothing. No, you can't say it's flamenco, but the expression is flamenco; the way of modulating, the way of moaning, of thrilling.

Ana Salazar

The 'story' flows with painstaking rhythm and painstaking esthetics. A small group is formed - McGill, the album's producer, now seated on the box drum -, through bulerías. "I'm going to sing a little something for you all". It's the tale of the accordion player. She cheers on, acts, strolls, poses... Her stage presence is mighty, addictive. And she knows it. And she plays with all the resources at her reach... including the rests, used with maturity. Still, at one end of the stage, she utters a whispered stanza that shakes the audience. Including the finishing touches of feet movement; that's what she's a bailaora for. "Let the music stop". With a slight change in attitude and wardrobe, completing the attire à la Marlene Dietrich with a jacket, she performs 'Dios mío'. The piece, slow, is enriched with a few touches of baile... They are, by the way, always measured out and fitted, to just the right extent. A finishing touch of the feet for that sorrowful stanza of love, like the entire recital.

Even singing a bit of French, she brings 'Mon manège a moi' through tanguillos. The instruments play muffled to mark the beat for her... and she turns winsome, prevailing over the entire stage and then some. The rhythm is placated, restrained, to shape 'Con este sol'. A guitar points to the star and she looks at it while she sings. The chorus falls completely back on the choir so that here Ana Salazar may truly dance, with all her energy, with all her plasticity. The gradations of musical accompaniment stress the theme, very rich in nuances: the finishing touches with the feet, the cante alone with the piano, the silence, the choir a short step behind... Phew.

The famous 'Non je ne regrette rien', sifted by the Cádiz born artist, becomes 'No me arrepiento de ná'. With a red rose in her hand, stressing her gestures, she sings it heartbreakingly. The chorus, which has a special something reminiscent of Las Grecas, enables her to move around and demonstrate her charisma even more so. She goes on dancing... without music... or making music herself, striking, resounding. Outstanding. The piano joins her, and she sketches with her body upon its keys. When she stands firm at one end of the stage, her panting is felt and the last lyrics come out of a sigh. The crowd hold their breath.

Fade to black. A voice sounds in French, suffering from love, Edith Piaf's countenance appears and a flamenco guitar, packaged, doubles the lament. The transition allows Ana Salazar to change attire. She now has her curls pinned back and is wearing a long red dress which silhouettes her. A microphone stand serves as an axis for her. Grasping it, she sings 'Historia de amor', based on the original lyrics by Piaf herself. She sings with more gusto, the music urging her on, the whole sounding great. The emotional climax was yet to come... 'Palabras de amor' brings it on. She feels it and makes it felt. Tension. Intention. Silence. Time stands still in the raising of her arms. A tear slides down her face. And with it she goes on singing wrapped up by the notes from the rear; a restrained, sincere rear. That's jondura. That's feeling. To come out of the trance, 'Himno al amor' through bulerías. Eyes, smile, esthetics, wink, gesture, enjoyment. The concert is reaching its end. Over the piano chords of 'La vie en rose', Ana Salazar presents her people, "tremendous artists and people". Complete native ease, as if at home. There goes that song, rhythmic, alive, leaving a good taste in your mouth, good vibes. Final crescendo. To the max. The theater explodes.

Ana Salazar

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