38th JEREZ BULERÍA FESTIVAL 2005
Carlos Sánchez. Jerez, September
38th Bulería Festival. Capullo
de Jerez. El Torta. Montse Cortés. Diego Carrasco.
Domingo Ortega. La Reina Gitana. Bullring. Jerez de la Frontera
(Cádiz, Spain), September 10th, 2005
The thirty-eighth edition of the Bulería Festival.
For yet another year, thousands of people thronged to the
bullring in Jerez to attend this huge flamenco event opening
the city's Autumn Festival. A festive ambience. An enticing
bill, with the presence of two great cante stars, Juan Moneo
‘El Torta’ and Miguel Flores ‘Capullo de
Jerez’, and that of a prodigal son, bailaor Domingo
Ortega. The sell-out crowd was guaranteed. But the edition
paying tribute to Lola Flores was unbalanced. El Torta was
disappointing and Capullo established himself as the life
of the party.
El Torta (Photo: Carlos
Ten o'clock at night. Jerez smells like young wine, like
fresh wine. It's harvest time. The previous night, the traditional
‘grape treading’ was done. Kick-off of the ‘Autumn
Festival’. The people are welcomed by bulerías.
The crowd starts to take their seats to the beat of the land.
This is a party; that's how it's understood by most. People
come to have a good time and that's all. That's the concept
there is nowadays of this traditional flamenco event. You
shouldn't make fun of the artform. Felipa la del Moreno opens
the upbeat bill. She is followed by Joaquín el Zambo,
Ángel Vargas, Barullo, Luis Moneo and Anabel Rosado,
among others. From Santiago to La Plazuela. A hotchpotch of
performers to the sound of Fernando Moreno and Antonio Jero
on guitar, with Santiago rhythmic tapping. Part of the ‘Royal
Filarmoney (Philharmonic) of Santiago’ - Chícharo
and Gregorio -, together with brothers Cantarote and Curro
de la Joaquina. There sure is rhythm here. The group parties
it up, championing the bulería.
Piano's turn. Rosario Lazo Montoya ‘La Reina Gitana’
(‘The Gypsy Queen’) made her keyboard sound more
flamenco than ever. Fully-devoted from the very first instant,
she offered a show balanced with cante and baile. To endow
it with more musicality, she included violin and German flute.
The Jerez-born artist wanted to pay her own tribute to Lola
Flores. The crowd rewarded her for it. The night turned chilly.
Like that bulería by El Torta says: “El frío
los huesecitos me calaba…” (“The cold pierced
my little bones…”). But the crowd was well-prepared
to weather the falling temperatures. Nothing better than sherry
or spirits to stave off the uncomfortable chilly night air.
We leave the land of wine with the presence of Montse
Cortés. The Catalan artist made her début
in Jerez. Fighting at great bullrings is always complicated.
But her performance grew. She was well-accompanied by Daniel
Méndez on guitar. Tonás, taranto and soleá,
then finishing off with the tango-rumba ‘La rosa blanca’,
the title of her latest album. Camarón-like touches
to the delight of the crowd.
An intermission over twenty minutes long. Enough time to
get the stage ready for baile. Domingo
Ortega came back to his native land. The prodigal son
returns. Hitting the nail on the head. He came ready and willing,
and you could tell. He started off with alegrías doing
baile full of personality. Scrutinizing and varying each of
his movements. With unexpected finishes. Reliably. With contemporary
hues. The Jerez-born bailaor had fun on stage. He finished
The crowd was waiting with bated breath. It's time for El
Torta. Curiosity and the circles of people swell up. Nobody
knows what he'll do. Not even he himself, shut up in his own
world. He kicked off with soleá. But he came in hoarse,
nearly voiceless. He struggled in each stage. He writhed with
each word. Restless and deep in thought. He grabbed the seguiriya
as well as he could. He did the same thing with the tangos
and bulerías. He was disappointing and surrendered
his reign to the night's great victor, Capullo de Jerez. The
bullring went crazy no sooner did it hear his name. The audience
sang out his name as if he were a rock star. Here was flamenco's
Mick Jagger. With the same old repertoire. But that didn't
matter. “When I get down to singing, I put my hope into
it”. He turned the bullring upside down.
This is a party, especially in the stands. That's how those
bearing the chilly night air welcomed Diego
Carrasco, the compás guru who returned to the Bulería
Festival following an absence of over thirty years. And he
did so his way and with his troops. “The old world and
the new world … José Monge Cruz, present!”.
He began with a bulería dedicated to ‘Camarón
de la Isla’, next doing ‘Vida y gloria del gitano’
through bulerías, paying tribute to La Faraona and
finishing off with ‘Yo te quería María’
from his latest album, ‘Mi ADN flamenco’ (‘My
Flamenco DNA’), which by the way, has been nominated
for the Latin Grammy Awards. The thirty-eighth edition closed
with a grand finale which left the image of Capullo dancing
with El Torta on cante.