All roads lead to the bulería

Susana Domínguez. Jerez, September 9th, 2006

One more year – and they’re going on thirty-nine now - Jerez celebrates the arrival of September, the month of the harvest, with the Bulería Festival. The city of wine filled its night with bulería-flavored cante. But with one twist: it changed the stage from the bullring to the modern Estadio Chapín. And it nearly filled up the five thousand seats for the event with an expert crowd that felt like partying it up. Cantaores with so much personality like Capullo de Jerez and Diego el Cigala were the stars on a night drunk on jondura.

La Macanita (Photo: Victoria Dia)

This year’s edition, dedicated to Jerez-born poet Antonio Gallardo, was opened with his verses and a commemoration of great flamenco artists from the area. The Méndez family was in charge of kicking things off. And they did so with one of their greatest assets: Jesús Méndez. Por fandangos, he got across to the crowd his affection and respect for his aunt, La Paquera de Jerez. The applause was unanimous and continuous. Following the one-hundred-percent Jerez-style prelude, La Susi was the one in charge of keeping the flame alive. The cantaora from Alicante, seconded on toque by Pedro Sierra, brought out her most flamenco temperament por soleá, quoting the cantes of the recently-deceased Fernanda de Utrera. Continuing, of course, por bulerías, she managed to rub off on the crowd with her special voice and the clapping marked the beat for her throughout the entire performance.

Seguiriyas as a prologue. Bulerías as an epilogue. Fernando Terremoto knew exactly how to handle his tremendous voice at the event in Jerez, not neglecting to go por malagueñas and fandangos with his trademark. A sign that he enjoyed it was the grand finale he offered to his audience, breaking out in a flamenco-style dance which was accompanied by cheers from the crowd and an impressive compás of clapping por bulerías.

Diego el Cigala and Diego del Morao (Photo: Victoria Dia)

Following the break it was now time for Diego el Cigala, one of the most international artists on today’s flamenco scene and one of the ones most longed-for by the Jerez audience. And more so coming as he did, accompanied on guitar by Diego del Morao. Martinetes seasoned with guitar and box drum began the performance. Soleá, tangos, fandangos, bulerías... And the crowd bent over backwards for the cantaor, who hadn’t been heard in Jerez for seven years. And it was time for the baile with Joaquín Grilo. The Jerez-born bailaor performed tangos, soleares and alegrías more than reliably, backed by a group from which, among others, Carmen Grilo, David Lagos and José Manuel León stood out.

And from Jerez to Jerez. La Macanita also came out to bewitch. She first warmed up with cantes like the soleá, before reaching full bloom por bulerías, which she turned into a celebration of cante and baile. Then at nearly four o’clock in the morning, the great victor of the night came out on stage: Capullo de Jerez. Accompanied on guitar by Niño Jero, he performed cantes por soleá, tangos and bulerías, improvising with lyrics of his own, as usual. Completely devoted to his people, he put the cherry on top of his performance and the 39th Bulería Festival, which irremediably called for a grand finale.

Grand finale por bulerías (Photo: Victoria Dia)



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