37th FIESTA DE
LA BULERÍA DE JEREZ, 2004
The universal appeal
of Capullo de Jerez
Carlos Sánchez. Jerez, 11th September
More than eight thousand people turned out at the
bullring in Jerez de la Frontera to witness the 37th edition
of the Fiesta de la Bulería. This year's event, dedicated
to Francisca Méndez Garrido ‘Paquera de Jerez’,
contained something for everyone, with some first-rate performers.
Capullo de Jerez and Joaquín Grilo were the evening's
showstoppers. Luis el Zambo left a good taste in the mouth,
Vicente Soto ‘Sordera’ did his thing, while El
Torta never quite seemed to find his feet.
Jerez 'por bulerías'. This is how the current edition
kicked off, with a group comprising up-and-coming local talent.
Jesús Méndez, Sara Salado, El Torrán,
Sandra Rincón, Paco Peña ‘Gasolina hijo’,
Eva de Rubichi and Rocío Fernández were entrusted
with warming up the proceedings. And the guitars of Pedro
Pimentel and Manuel Jero rounded off the group of newcomers.
Next up was cantaor Luis el Zambo from the famous flamenco
barrio de Santiago in Jerez. The cantaor's dark voice, oozing
gypsy charm, provided the very definition of the roots and
the essence of cante flamenco. Antonio Jero backed him up
on guitar. An original voice coupled with an excellent command
of compás made for a worthy performance. His repertoire
comprised taranta, malagueña, soleá with a hint
of bulería por soleá, seguiriya, fandangos and
bulerías. El Zambo showed due respect for the roots
of cante. And of course he wanted to leave the public in no
doubt that the 'bulería corta de Santiago' is unparalleled
as a cante, all the more important in these times when light-hearted
cuplés encroach ever more on the idiosyncrasy of this
(Photo: Carlos Sánchez)
He was introduced by Luis de Pacote. The simple mention of
his name had the audience in raptures. The arena erupts. This
is a vocalist with universal appeal... and not only with the
present audience. The man of the moment is Miguel Flores ‘Capullo
de Jerez’. He kicks off with his standard repertoire.
Soleá por bulería. Then he shifts gear. “Que
no me gusta el pan, que no me gusta el queso, lo que más
me gusta son tus besos” (I don't like bread, I don't
like cheese, what I really like is your kisses). To a rumbas
rhythm. The troubador from the Asunción neighborhood
takes up populist themes and builds on them in his lyrics.
“Tantos majaretas y tantos criticones” (So many
madmen, so many faultfinders). A protest song. Antonio Jero
accompanies him on guitar. Tequila and Jesús Flores
provided the backing 'coros' and 'palmas'. And Rubichi slapped
the cajón. He winds up with some lyrics he wrote in
memory of the March 11th bombings in Madrid, which he first
sang not long ago in the capital's Sabatini gardens. “Tenemos
que unirnos y luchar por la paz” (We have to unite and
fight for peace). And Jerez fell to its knees before him.
Capullo knows how to transmit his feelings - he gets his message
across. Por bulerías. The bullring goes wild. Rumba.
“La vida es una rutina” (Life is a routine). The
audience were on their feet.
Dance, form and movement
After the interval it was dance that took over the proceedings.
Joaquín Grilo. The bailaor from Jerez, so fond of his
hometown, was the night's other shining star. Tonight he was
bursting with enthusiasm, and it showed. His dance dazzled,
his furious footwork was breathtaking, his soles crashed mercilessly
down on the stage. On this occasion he brought along his complete
company. The artist gave his home town a taste of his new
show ‘Forma y movimiento’. He began with a foot-stomping
tango. The whole company huddles around him. Grilo stays put.
In the seguiriya he starts to give a taste of what he's capable
of. His steps are measured, he displays them up and down the
front of the stage. He swirls around, and brings the piece
to a close. El Pulga and Carmen Grilo give the bailaor a chance
to catch his breath, 'por tangos'. The dancer returns. The
soleá plunges him deep into a world of immortals, brimming
over with sensations. He's immersed in his dance. His body
demands more and more of him. He enters a trance-like state.
His artform has invaded his person. Lefèvre's violin
adds extra depth to the moment. And the bulería calls
him. He's on his home turf here. He gives his all. This one's
for you, Paquera.
Then it was back to the vocals, with Vicente Soto ‘Sordera’.
The artist from barrio de Santiago drew on an up-beat repertoire
in keeping with the philosophy behind the event. Diego del
Morao strummed the chords for him. Alegrías, soleá
por bulería, seguiriya (a little heavy for three in
the morning), tangos and cuplé por bulerías.
The evening was drawing to a close. Now came the turn of the
bohemian Juan Moneo Lara ‘El Torta’ from La Plazuela
in the very heart of Jerez. The audience chanted his name.
But this wasn't Juan's night. The pressure was too much for
him. Fresh from his triumphant appearance with Diego del Morao
a few days ago at the Festival Bienal de Sevilla, the genius
from La Plazuela just couldn't get a grip. Taranto, cartagenera,
and still trying to hit the spot with a malagueña.
He leaves the somber forms behind and switches to some more
up-beat rhythms - first 'por tangos'. He recalls Luis de la
Pica. He performs a new tangos piece from his forthcoming
album. And then it was time for a bulería. His talent
resembles that of bullfighter Rafael de Paula. He's capable
of giving both the best and the worst performances. He dedicated
some lines to the matador from Jerez. He rounds off with a
bulería on the subject of drugs. Oh, well - maybe next
time. The curtains came down on the thirty-seventh edition
with the obligatory Grand finale, featuring each and every
one of the performers. And that's it... until the thirty-eighth.