Voice of the Earth

At Sala Paul on that wet and windy Wednesday night it all felt a bit like a party. There were foreigners in the audience, but lots of Spanish, locals, too. We were all there to see Jerezano David Carpio, singing songs from his new disc Con la voz en la tierra (With the Voice of the Earth). Regular readers of this blog may recall an article in 2015, which referenced a stunning performance by Carpio and his collabrators at the same venue (Festival de Jerez II ).

Carpio’s set included aforementioned regular collaborators, guitarist Manuel Valencia (last seen at Kings Place in London) and double bassist, Pablo Martin, also harmonica player Diego Villegas and percussion by Carlos Merino. Palmistas were Chicharito, Carlos Grilo, Diego Montoya, Javier Peña and Marce. But this time there were new additions. Some musical arrangements (those on the new disc, I guess) were formulated with guitarist Santiago Lara (see The Guitar in Time), so, when the performers came out, it was he who was the guitar accompanist to Carpio’s singing.

Carpio began with an unusual song for him, slightly percussive and owing something to jazz-rock, it involved all the performers on the stage. He then moved on to delivering more traditional tarantas in the masticao style, his voice a sinewy one, its sound prolonged and varying, accompanied only by Lara.

It was not long until Manuel Valencia joined him. Then, to some surprise in the audience, so did Jerezano guitarist Diego del Morao, to play on a buleria dedicated to his late father guitarist Moraito, who died in 2011.

Collaborating and sharing is Carpio’s style. I particularly enjoyed his tango duet with Pablo Martin’s double bass, which had a loose and jazzy style, the bass strings being plucked rather than bowed. He also shared the melody of a song with Villegas’ harmonica.  He, like others at this Festival, is interested in taking traditional flamenco to a new place.  More difficult to do than with dance and even than with guitar, perhaps, because flamenco singing is, to my untutored ear, the most traditional of all the disciplines.

One further surprise awaited. As Carpio stood at the front of the stage and began to sing another buleria, a figure appeared from the audience and climbed on to the stage. It was Miguel Liñan and he was wearing his dancing shoes. Carpio collaborates regularly with Liñan, who featured at the 2016 Festival (see Reversible) and here the dancer gave a short but virtuoso display.  By now everyone who had performed during the set was on the stage, joining in and even Carpio’s young son climbed up, to hand his father some flowers.

The audience was on its feet, stamping and clapping and the performers reciprocated with encores. As is now becoming traditional it ended with another buleria, played and danced with gusto ( even if without Liñan’s finesse ). It might have been raining outside but everyone here was having a ball.

If you enjoyed reading this article and would like to find out more about performances at the Festival de Jerez 2018 try           Caballero and Patino at Sala Compania                  Dancing to Different Tunes                   Festival Art 2018


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