Moraíto, Palma de Plata 2023
A few days ago, the thirty-first Palma de Plata award ceremony for Moraíto Chico was held at the Teatro Florida in Algeciras. An event that takes place annually thanks to the work and commitment of the Sociedad del Cante Grande.
A few days ago, the thirty-first Palma de Plata award ceremony for Moraíto Chico was held at the Teatro Florida in Algeciras. An event that takes place annually thanks to the work and commitment of the Sociedad del Cante Grande, one of the most prestigious and longstanding flamenco clubs among the more than 500 currently in Spain. It enjoys significant municipal support under the administration of Mayor José Ignacio Landaluce. In other editions, stars like Fosforito, El Lebrijano, Terremoto, Chocolate, Paquera, Manuel Moneo, Tío Borrico, or Antonio Chaqueta, among many others, have received this distinction.
Moraíto (1956-2011) had always been different, representing an alternative Jerez school of guitar playing.” Alternative” because Manuel Moreno Junquera, Moraíto, had a distinctive style with his own sound, unique touch, and unmistakable swing.
Manuel took advantage of the opening created by Paco de Lucía to forge his own path, one that was fresh and distinct without being flashy. If all young guitarists sound the same, with that jazzy overtone, Moraíto, or Morao as we used to call him, stayed in Jerez while developing his own distinctive sound.
Moraíto, as admired for his art as he was beloved for his good nature, was the absolute guest of honor in Algeciras. The spacious theater was nearly full, but more than just listening to music, what we all wanted was to somehow feel his presence and express the affection we hold for him, so genuine, so much a part of us.
Seven men in black, two singers, a guitarist, and four palmas percussionists set the stage for delivering the youthful yet mature flamenco singing of Juan José Rodríguez, great-grandson of Juan Talega, alongside El Purili, presenting his elegantly festive singing and dancing.
Following the protocol of the tribute with Carlos Vargas, president of the club among others, there was “youthful classic flamenco,” as described by Manuel Martín Martín, who has been presenting this event for years with his accustomed ease.
Luis Moneo, the personification of flamenco expression, was accompanied by his son Juan Manuel, performing soleares, martinetes, and deblas, as well as siguiriyas dedicated to his brother El Torta. This performance was supported by palmas percussionists Guille Campos, Manuel Soler, Nono Vargas and Ramón Heredia.
Due to unavoidable circumstances, the popular Diego del Morao, son of Moraíto, could not be present. However, there was a finale with Pepe del Morao on guitar, and refreshing young singers Chanquita and Rafael el Zambo, alongside the seasoned Enrique el Zambo, always projecting joy. And of course, the classic trio of palmas percussionists, Chicharito, Rafael Romero and Gregorio Fernández, who delivered the Jerez feeling ready for immediate consumption, triggering a standing ovation from the audience.