Seville’s Big Flamenco Bash, The Bienal 2010
An overview of the worlds biggest flamenco festival, recently held from the 15th September to 9th October 2010.
Editors Note: I am proud to announce that the Flamenco Australia Magazine has adopted a sister permanently stationed in Spain. Estela Zatania is the Andalucía Corespondent for the magazine component of DeFlamenco.com and will keep us in touch with an overview of major events that take place in our spiritual home. We hope you enjoy Estela's first article for us...
Three and a half weeks, 24 days, 55 shows including 26 world premieres to collectively fill nearly sixty thousand seats in six different major venues. The numbers are absolutely boggling, and that isn’t even including the associated pre-festival and parallel activities with countless book and record presentations, conferences and expositions.In the twenty-first century size does matter after all, and Seville’s Bienal de Flamenco, celebrated every two years in September/October since 1980, is the world’s biggest flamenco festival. You may not find it so exciting if you had to attend every show as I did, but certainly there were some unforgettable moments…and some forgettable ones as well.[ad name="googleadt"]The avant-garde inclinations of the organizers reflect their desire to make the Bienal a showcase for the cutting-edge of flamenco at a time when interpreters are taking big artistic risks to keep up with this exponentially expanding genre.There were plenty of big stars, but many people wondered why goddess Manuela Carrasco wasn’t on the program. Fans of a more contemporary style were disappointed not to see Israel Galván announced, although his influence was present via the choreography he provided for sister Pastora Galván’s show, without a doubt one of the high points.Chalk up a point for experimental shows in the name of Andrés Marín, the man with the robotic movements and futuristic line, who had the inspired idea of pairing up with earth mother Concha Vargas. Dancer Javier Barón was even more brilliant than usual, and the lesser-known dancer Choni provided a humorous and well-conceived show that was also long on good flamenco.Good old Antonio el Pipa made everyone happy with his classic approach, and young artists Fuensanta la Moneta from Granada, and Rafael Campallo from Sevilla made a fine showing. María Pagés was her usual spectacular self in a visually appealing show that was short on flamenco.There were some major…and costly…disappointments in the form of shows by Farruquito, Eva Yerbabuena and Rocío Molina, each of whom stirred a lot of interest but failed to come through with the goods. Some wonderful young singers such as Antonio Campos, David Lagos and David Palomar among others, were well up to the challenge of solo recitals, while old hands Estrella Morente and Esperanza Fernández fared less well.Straightforward cante was generously supplied by Agujetas, José Menese, Pansequito, Marina Heredia and others, as well as in several shows devoted to traditional flamenco from Triana, Extremadura, Jerez and Lebrija respectively.Without a doubt, the opening and closing nights generated the most excitement. The inaugural extravaganza on September 15th starring Miguel Poveda, today’s single most popular flamenco singer, was attended by nearly seven thousand people in the Seville bull-ring, and the spectacular closing night on October 9th was given over to his majesty Paco de Lucía. Both shows lasted just under three hours.
Estela Zatania in Jerez de la Frontera
... I know some of our Flamenco Australia Magazine readers were in Seville and many more are aware of, or have at some stage made the pilgrimage to the Bienal.
Deflamenco dot com is the only medium of any kind to review each and every one of the shows, and we encourage you to read the English translations with photos from the Benial 2010, which can be accessed via http://www.deflamenco.com/revista/paginai.jsp?codigo=2793