Getting a “paso” float ready for Semana Santa inside San Marcos
The door to San Marcos was open and we saw people preparing for Semana Santa

Even though the mornings have been getting a little cooler, it has been warming to tolerable levels in the afternoon. But we have learned that it chills quickly in the evening, so we always wear our heavier coats when we go to performances. Another adaptation to the chilly mornings is that we haven’t been going out to breakfast and go to an early lunch instead so we can sit outside.

That is what we did on Thursday. By the time we headed in the direction of the restaurants we favor, it was bright and almost comfortable. We stopped at El Gallo Azul (the blue rooster) and at first sat in the sun. by the time our food arrived, we had to shift to sitting under the parasol because it was too hot to sit in the direct sun. We took our time and had a good meal while Patricia people-watched. Because school is out for the holiday, there are many children on the streets and they are often accompanied by grandparents. There also seem to be a lot of babies in strollers and carriages. It is nice to see people gathering around the babies and talking to them and the parents. It is clear that they don’t always know the parents or the babies, but no one seems to object to the familiarity.

At Sala Compañía, we saw a very good guitar concert called Una Promesa (A Promise) given by Juan Diego Mateos. He played several genres of music, but focused on flamenco. The three palmeros (clappers) and the percussionist who accompanied him were also very good and seemed to be having a good time. It was noteworthy to me that the percussionist (Juan Peña “El Chispa”) did not use a cajón, the box (what “cajón” means) used for bright, often jangly, accompaniment,  but instead used a olla / pot which produced more subtle supporting sounds. The guitar was crisp and clear without being mechanical or hard.

Here is the first part of the synopsis: “A promise” is the latest work by Juan Diego Mateos that, together with the previous two, form a trilogy that Antonio Soteldo “Musiquita” and Juan Diego decided to complete the first time they came together to create the album “Respira”, later followed by “Bedallama”. The title not only refers to this purpose, it also alludes to the commitment that every father makes to love his child for life.” [original] For once I thought that the synopsis was exactly what was shown to us.

I would have been completely satisfied if the concert had consisted of only the guitar music. But we were also treated to dance by Manuela Carpio and cante by Miguel “El Lavi”. Mateos, Carpio, and El Lavi are al Jerezanos. The last third of the concert was high energy and I think the audience really enjoyed it. I know we di.

We moved on to Villamarta for the evening performance called Peculiar by Ana Morales. Here is the concept: “Different, special, unique or rare, someone who does not fit into generic traits and a look with different characteristics emerges or is born from them. This is how we will enter
this world, which we will create between different personalities to configure a “Flamenco Painting” from an abstract vision of this art. A journey with endless possibilities open to explore the world of dance, music, flamenco.” [original].

We did not like this espectáculo at all.

I think that if an artist wants to go on a journey of self-exploration, they should work with an analyst and not make an audience suffer through the wanderings of their minds. This was an hour and forty minutes of apparently random activity (I know it could not have been) with elements like Morales putting on knee pads and sliding around like a soccer player who has just scored a goal, background muttering just below audibility, marching back and forth across the stage, a video of an affectless Morales staring at the camera and making movements with her arms that looked like they could have been done by a marionette, and so on. I won’t even mention the drums that could have been used by a marching band. There is no question that Morales and Antonio Morales can dance well but they did not do it often enough. At times, they would take a few strides (not steps), do a couple of flamenco steps and then take a few more strides. All very disconnected, from our perspective.

I do not think we were the only people in the audience who did not, shall we say, fully appreciate what we saw. As soon as the curtain came down, people started leaving, which is not something we see very often. There was applause, but it was muted.  

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