Arcángel by candlelight
The cantaor from Huelva performed at Santa María square in Baeza (Jaén province), in the series “Rebirth by candleight”
Arcángel. Noche de las Velas (“Night of the Candles”). Santa María square, Baeza (Jaén). September 13th, 2019.
Picture the atmosphere. A UNESCO World Heritage city like Baeza and more than 20,000 candles lighting up Santa María Square under the gaze of historic buildings like the Cathedral and the University, witnessing Arcángel’s recital.
The performance started just past 10 PM, with Dani de Morón on the guitar. The round of cantes started with a granaína evoking Chacón, but a palo seco (a cappella) and with lots of personality, without steering away from the required notes, even knowing how hard it is to sing without following the guitar. He then seamlessly switched to a sublime composition por tientos, while his palmeros, Los Mellis, subtly introduced the rhythm, perfectly accompanying Arcángel’s cante.
Hereafter the round of bulerías started, sounding very fresh but always evoking the old masters and poets like Federico García Lorca and his Poeta en Nueva York. Being a great cantaor from Huelva, he could not leave out the fandangos, singing Cayetano Muriel ‘s fandangos de Lucena, as well as Málaga’s cantes abandolaos.
As the cantes de trilla began, and also por seguiriya, the young bailaora Lucía la Piñona, from Cádiz, displayed her skill with a dramatic baile seguiriyero in the style of the Jerez school, with hints of the Seville school, too. Arcángel also sang por cantiñas with Lucía’s baile gaditano, and por zambras, evoking Manolo Caracol.
In the sevillanas, a cante seldom performed by cantaores, Arcángel gave everyone a surprise, accompanying himself with the guitar and singing for La Piñona, who also danced with him right after he finished singing, as Dani de Morón and Los Mellis clapped a compás.
At the end of the recital and after the pleasant coolness which refreshed the night in this World Heritage city, the public asked for more, but an approaching storm meant it was not to be.
Text by José Ramón Checa