CD: Chano Lobato
"Chano Lobato" (2 CD)

CD: Miguel Poveda
"Tierra de calma"


Chano Lobato
Biography, discography, audio and readers' comments




Of maestros and disciples

Silvia Calado. Nîmes, January 26th, 2008

Festival Flamenco de Nîmes 2008. Photo gallery, by Daniel Muñoz
(with Chano Lobato, Miguel Poveda, Rocío Molina)

Friday, January 25th. Miguel Poveda (cante) with Chicuelo (guitar) and El Londro and Carlos Grilo (clapping). Saturday, January 26th. Chano Lobato (cante) with Niño de la Manuela (guitar) / ‘Almario’, Rocío Molina Company: Leo Triviño and Emilio Florido (cante), Paco Cruz, Juan Requena (guitar), Sergio Martínez (percussion), Guadalupe Torres and Vanesa Coloma (clapping). 2008 Nîmes Flamenco Festival. Théâtre, Nîmes (France), 9 p.m.

Chano Lobato

Chano Lobato and Niño de la Manuela (Photo Daniel Muñoz)

Olé, Chano. Olé, Chano. And you can’t stop saying it. Not as long as the Cádiz-born maestro has that little spark of strength left to make it to the center of the stage. Not as long as he’s able to cross one country and reach another – after half a day’s journey by train, plane and bus – just to give more of his art to whoever wants it. And he was welcomed in Nîmes with wide-open arms, with one of those ovations that raises the temperature. In compensation, the cantaor offered a stint of Cádiz cantaor anthology, pampered on toque by Niño de la Manuela. And the thing is that although he’s a maestro, he never stops recalling those who preceded him, like Aurelio Sellés por soleá, like Ignacio Espeleta and Manolo Vargas por cantiñas, like the chirigota of Las Viejas Ricas por tanguillos... To which he added his ‘know-how’ in tientos-tangos and in that genre he’s so good at which is that of telling anecdotes. The city’s Roman amphitheater reminded him of the time when he wanted to be a bullfighter to bring up his sisters well. “And imagine how badly that cow beat me up, that it even ripped the heels off my shoes. Let my sisters go to the soup kitchen. It’s really hard to be a bullfighter. But a cantaor...”. And it also is, but he does a magic trick for it not to seem to be. Because you have to see him standing there, singing, without a mike and dancing por bulerías. And then leave clinging to the guitarist’s arm like a crippled little old man. The stage performs the miracle of breathing life into him... the same that he breathes into the stage. Who needs medicine?

Miguel Poveda


Miguel Poveda (Photo Daniel Muñoz)

It is not surprising then, with examples like that, that there are young flamencos who give it their all at the theaters. And there were two examples in the home stretch of the festival. After his performance, that of Rocío Molina. And the previous night, that of Miguel Poveda with a solo recital... which he had to perform despite a cold which he’d brought with him, precisely, from “the blessed land of Cádiz”. The young cantaor, recently awarded the 2007 National Music Prize, stuck to a classic format. Accompanied by the efficient, involved guitar of Chicuelo, plus the Jerez clapping of (the generous) Londro and Carlos Grilo, he offered a concert with his usual quality and good taste. The epilogue, using a pre-recorded background tone, consisted of unaccompanied cantes. Martinetes. Pregones. He conversed alone with the cante, with a chilling effect. Then with the guitar beside him, he did a somewhat more withdrawn cante, winding his voice. Not without first praising the venue, “where I know there’s huge respect for flamenco”, he moved on towards the alegrías which he told more than he sang at many instants, in the style of maestro Chano. And that hoarseness he picked up lying on the sand of La Caleta gave it an old-time aftertaste. He used the malagueña to catch his breath, finely sketching out the phases until the verdial de Vallejo, that of the murmuring. Then comes the night’s climax. Chicuelo starts up with his guitar, cheered on by the audience... and appearing all of a sudden is Diego Carrasco, who is an institution here. With his image and unclassifiable art, Miguel Poveda begins a dialogue. ‘Alfileres de colores’ brings madness to the theater. And the reference to bullfighting continues in the soleá, with that verse by Bergamín which Morente likes so much. Half gold. Half silver. And he has a bout with his hoarseness, but he wants more rounds. First, tientos-tangos, old-style. Then, the coplas remix. And then at the end, bulerías. He’d already warned that he intended “to leave my soul, because I don’t know how to do it any other way”.

Rocío Molina

Rocío Molina (Photo Daniel Muñoz)

And Rocío Molina did the same thing the following day, although she came at her peak. The Málaga-born bailaora closed the festival with ‘Almario’, which she premiered at Festival de Jerez 2007. And the truth is that this girl’s sureness, perfection and intensity are overwhelming. The show is nothing more than a simple - but well-conceived - setting to give free rein to the dance of this artist who is growing by leaps and bounds. And she can do so because she has already surpassed technique, to which she adds creativity and, to give it a name, flamenco flavor. If you pay attention, she is constantly referring to the roots. The taranto with castanets and her hair let down smacks of Fernanda Romero. The seguiriya in a bata de cola, Pilar López. The soleá with a shawl... But they are just aromas, since she floods it all with her personal way of attacking baile. And she might just as easily do a vibrant zapateado as start to border on parody, as go barefoot and, with her body just covered with a black leotard, get abstract and really avant-garde. She is followed to the letter without any breathers or neglect by her accompanists, the two guitarists Paco Cruz and Juan Requena, the two cantaores Leo Triviño and Emilio Florido and two effective clappers. And without that ‘group’ attitude the Málaga-born artist’s show wouldn’t be possible, since it adds extreme musicality to everything aforementioned, which she translates with every part of her body and which applies not just to the rhythm, but also the echoes, the tones, the climates. She left Nîmes dazzled. That’s the way young flamencos are... because they have maestros like the ones they have.

More information:

The flamenco season kicks off at the 2008 Nîmes Festival

Festival de Nîmes 2008. Full show schedule

The 2008 Nîmes Flamenco Festival lays stakes on the contrast between generations

Visit the international flamenco festival agenda

If you want to be a real flamenco surfer type
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