Montse Cortés
Biography, discography, Real Audio and readers' comments



Silvia Calado. Madrid, November 25th, 2004
Translation: Joseph Kopec
Photos: Daniel Muñoz

‘La rosa blanca’ (‘The White Rose’). Montse Cortés: cante. Diego de Morao, Eduardo Cortés: guitars. Piraña: box drum. Alain Pérez: bass. Luisa Carmona, Jenara Cortés, Antonio Campos, Miguel el Lavi: choruses. Casa de América Concert Series. Madrid, November 25th, 2004. 9 p.m.


Montse Cortés and her group

The final stretch of the year has been full of flamenco album premieres. And Madrid is the stage. Just three days ago José Mercé premiered ‘Confí de fuá’ at the Lope de Vega Theater, and a couple of weeks ago Niña Pastori presented ‘No hay quinto malo’ in the concert series at Casa de América. The same venue hosted the presentation of the second album by Montse Cortés. ‘La rosa blanca’ was heard live for the first time on this fortunate stage, a cozy amphitheater with a nearly family-size capacity which, to top it all off, has excellent technical means. Thus, the audience was able to enjoy as much as they wanted the voice of a cantaora in a state of grace, whose faculties turn this line of new songs nearly into a mere excuse.

The concert's repertoire - which faithfully reproduced the album... and that doesn't always happen in flamenco - was shaped by eminently festive cantes: tangos, rumbas and bulerías. She only broke away from this line to sing the soleá ‘Lloran al lao mío’, accompanied solely by the reliable guitar of Diego de Morao. As she herself said with her sweet speaking voice, she did “a tribute to traditional flamenco”; that which, although she doesn't show it on her albums, she masters with as much skill as that other more extroverted one. She used this cante to look inside, to demonstrate knowledge and moderation. But it was just a drop of intimacy amidst the merriment.

The concert started off with the bulerías ‘Nostalgia añadía’, announcing the formula to be followed: flamenco song of a rhythmic cut, nearly always with shallow poetry, embellished with choruses and endowed with open spaces to let the cantaora's voice loose. From her faintest register to the most forced one, the cantaora works it out. And the thing is that from her vast experience in accompanying baile and guitar for artists of the likes of Joaquín Cortés, Antonio Canales and Paco de Lucía, Montse Cortés has achieved absolute security and a perfect mastery of her vocal qualities. She knows her limits, and if she goes beyond them, she always comes out smelling like a rose, leaving the audience flabbergasted.

The rumbas ‘Río de azúcar’ warmed up the ambience, opening the way to the first single off the album: ‘Hiere’, a song through tangos with a catchy refrain that the group (box drum, bass, two guitars and choruses) performed outstandingly. Following the break of the soleá, the Catalan artist came charging back with the tangos ‘...Y si no es verdad?’, composed by Huelva-born cantaor Arcángel, and therefore impregnated with his melodic style. The bulerías ‘Un ole a tiempo’, the work of bailaor Farruquito - who had already composed a song for Niña Pastori on her previous album ‘María’ -, proposed a different game with the rhythm, with sensationalist cuts and spaces stressing the vocal juggling which the cantaora is capable of.

Montse Cortés

Next, she sang ‘La rosa blanca’, a tango-rumba which gives the album its name. Judging by the warm applause from the crowd, it has the makings of a future hit. With the same enthusiasm, they received ‘Las Alfareras’, bulerías with a quick tempo, with Jerez roots and stylized development which on the album has the added plus of Tomatito on the guitar. Once having presented the group and thanks having been given to all who should have received it - including the producer, Javier Limón, who was forgotten - she sang the chorus ‘Jesús de Nazaret’, a sort of prayer-cum-ballad with which she shares her religious feelings. The crowd rose to its feet straight off. Montse Cortés could hardly swallow so much affection. “You've really touched me. I'll sing whatever you want. Shall I sing ‘Hiere’ again?”. And she did. Taking advantage of the abundant complicity, Piraña prompted the audience to even accompany on clapping, like at all good concerts. Everybody happy. “God bless you!”

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