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El Purili, present and future of traditional cante

Peña Flamenca de Bormujos “Miguel Acal” celebrated the opening of its new venue with a wonderful recital by the young cantaor from La Línea. Miguel Acal

By Luis M. Pérez. Seville, October 29, 2018. Photos by Carmelo Camino.

A recital of cante jondo on a Sunday at 1 PM. I’m really liking this flamenco during the day thing, it’s like Seville’s Fair during the day, not as tiresome as the late-night performances, and I even have time to attend the noon mass. Tripe and chickpea tapas. Flamenco aficionados gather at the bar, ticket on hand. “I’ve never seen this kid performing live”, “You’ll be amazed”. Some members of the peña get on their seats and others remain standing, leaning against the door.

First comes the opening ceremony (the third one in a short time), of the new venue of the Peña Cultural Flamenca of Bormujos, an important town in Seville’s Aljarafe district. This peña is named after the veteran flamenco critic Miguel Acal, journalist from Granada who grew up and lived in Bormujos until his sad passing in 2002. His widow Nani was there, and she read an unpublished and emotional piece by her late husband about flamenco, his great passion. Ending with his trademark “Salud y libertad” (“Health and freedom”) the sign-off words in all of his radio shows, we got the goosebumps which stayed with us for the whole recital.

It was a real a privilege watching this scrawny kid of eighteen in an oversized suit climbing on the stage in front of Joselito de Pura, the most robust guitarist from Chiclana de la Frontera. It’s a very small peña. “Please, take those mics away…”. All of us are already captivated, particularly the ladies. I don’t mean to be sexist, but Alonso Núñez Heredia “El Purili” (born in La Línea de la Concepción in 2000) has been blessed with grace and angel, and that makes him quite handsome, I can’t deny it.

Alonso has been an artist since he was a child. He sits down and the public goes silent. He warms up with the depth of Antonio Mairena, his lerele lele evoking Cádiz and Caracol, with a nod to Juan Talega. He then sets forth to Mairena’s Plaza de las Flores and comes back by the hand of La Andonda, toma esa escalerita de vidrio, por una suben las penas, ay, por otra baja el alivio.

After the explosion of joy by those aficionados who can’t quite believe what they’re listening to, comes the guitar of Joselito de Pura (born in Chiclana de la Frontera in 1987), who by chance has the same surnames as Alonso. Although he has the skill of a concert guitarist, as we could attest by listening to his album “De Chiclana a la Carbonería”, released last year, he’s the dream accompanist for any start of cante. He’s always attentive, always waiting and ready, and has that sound between Jerez and and Morón which moves us at each note. He continues por soleá, in a style between Cádiz and Alcalá. The people on first row can barely handle it.

The broth por seguiriyas is boiling. Alonso becomes a gloomy man like an evening storm. “Manuela, my dear, he’s so good in the lower notes”, “In the medium notes too”, “I know, I know, but I really like his low notes”. With a shriek that would break the hardest of hearts, it feels as if Tío José de Paula himself had appeared in the room, and oles bounce up and down everywhere. “I told you that you’d be amazed”, “True, but all he does is imitate Antonio Mairena, not a good model for a kid so young”. After the wonderful break given by Joselito’s guitar, Alonso performs his version of Tomás El Nitri and Antonio’s “Huye usté pa allá”.

“Well, I’ll sing a little por bulerías”. The public is overwhelmed with joy, because after showing that he can handle the rhythm of the bulerías cortas of Cádiz and Jerez and demonstrating that he knows by heart all the recordings of Antonio Mairena, Alonso stands up unexpectedly, showering us with grace from his huge hands a compás of the oles from the public. He should make an effort to stop trying to imitate Perico El Pañero, his idol among the living cantaores, from whom he copies even the way he dresses. Yet, at that age many great artists have imitated their idols and later developed their own personality.

Before finishing the recital, some fandangos, completely captivating the demanding public. Now we soak in the atmosphere of the peña and authentic flamenco in this great recital of cante. “Did you try the migas?”, “No, they ran out of them”, “So have another tripe tapa and let’s talk about cante, which is what we really like”.

Event notes:

Show: Recital of cante flamenco
Place and date: Peña Cultural Flamenca de Bormujos “Miguel Acal”. October 28, 2018
cante: Alonso Núñez “El Purili”
Guitar: Joselito de PuraMiguel Acal“El Purili”Joselito de Pura“De Chiclana a la Carbonería”Ficha artística:Recital de cante flamencoPeña Cultural Flamenca de Bormujos “Miguel Acal”Alonso Núñez “El Purili”Joselito de Pura

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Filólogo madrileño. Media vida en Sevilla. Centinela de las palabras. Lo jondo le acelera peligrosamente el corazón.

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