Makandé in London, ham and Guinness pints | Revista independiente de música

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Makandé in London, ham and Guinness pints

We had to take the tuve in London to go see Juanito Makandé’s flamenco-fusion live on the Friday eve of the Andalucía Day. That is already some fusion. That is one strange feeling, having taken the most famous public means of transport in the world to get to the small music venue The Dome, at Tufnell Park, and winding up in a corner of England set in Sevilla for the occasion. A clash between the social black and white in which you could find the musty make-up of posing and the flamenco celebration of our identity as a community here, so far and with so much cold.

The ones who paid more were lucky to enjoy a ham tasting, the lack of which in the land of fish and chips was accounted for before the show started, which would happen around half past eight, when the supporting band came on stage. A band, we could call flamenco-like, their name? I knew it, but you would forget it as soon as I did, one of those fairground ensembles, one of so many, with lyrics hackneyed to vice and the misunderstood Spanish blood, and that only counted with the singularity of having an English member. It was somewhat funny watching him keep time.

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After a 30-minutes warm-up of the audience, Juanito Makandé and his band appeared onstage to make their London debut. Makandé’s live performance is impeccable, I must say. He introduced his flamenco-fusion to the audience with the blow of his box, adding instruments little by little and breaking his rough voice with a jondo cry. He gave the audience no respite, made it impossible to be bored and, song after song and with a perfect execution, made it very clear why he is the best heir of flamenco and the highest type of music in Andalucía nowadays. Towards the end of the show, he took a moment to make us understand why he has the support of the world of flamenco when he turned that nightmare of an open-air trunk session into heartfelt, deep and pure flamenco. Wonderful, who could have said, that song in another soundtrack of the Sevillian cani (excuse my Andalucian argot), is now a delight.

Makandé’s revision of his last album, Las canciones que escribí mientras volaba (the songs I wrote while I was flying), took turns with songs from previous albums, with a tribute to the late Migue from Los Delinqüentes and with the classic by Kiko Veneno Echo de menos, as well as with a bulería accompanied by a bailaora (female flamenco-dancer) onstage, who concluded the task of making us forget about the fact that, when we got out of the small venue there would be neither orange nor olive trees.

Thus was that night in which Juanito Makandé’s flamenco-fusion landed at London to celebrate the identity of the south in this so very different south. A triumphant fusion, as much as the combination of jamón serrano with pints of stout.

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