Miguel Poveda: The Golden Voice

Miguel Poveda received no less than three standing ovations from a full house at Sadler’s Wells tonight. Small wonder. His resonant voice filled the theatre for an hour and a half, at times thunderous, at times soft and tender, an exercise in the control of power. In a year when the world has lost two flamenco majestic singers, Terremoto Hijo and Enrique Morente. it is deeply heartening to see Poveda fly so high. Many flamenco aficionados will recall Poveda from his early albums — Zaguán, for example — when his voice was a touch too gentle or maybe even too soft to be flamenco. People may also recall him as the youthful besotted lover in Bigas Luna’s film The Tit and the Moon, where he comically crooned flamenco to his undeserving beloved. All that has changed. Though still relatively young, Poveda has matured immensely as a singer, gaining in range, depth and strength. He is, I believe, the single most important living cantaor and, if ever any male singer can take on the mantle of Morente or Camarón, then it will probably be him. In 2010, he launched the Flamenco Bienal in Sevilla with a concert in the famed bull ring of this city and went on to gain a prestigious award at this festival, the latest of many in his shining career. Tonight he sang what he is best known for: some deep song, but also coplas as bulerías, a rumba… For Poveda returns flamenco from the most elite of stages, such as that of Sadler’s Wells, to the terrestrial, the everyday and the popular. He takes the art to new heights, always stretching himself to perform his best, but then also always returns it back to where he got it from: Badalona, the working class Barcelona suburb where Andalusian immigrants live and where, as a child, he imbibed flamenco through the radio, television and records. Poveda brings to flamenco something new, as well something old: he both bows to tradition, always ensuring that these are respected, but also innovates, at times perhaps unconsciously through his Catalan upbringing. What is certain is that his maturity as a singer has ripened greatly since his move to Andalusia where he is now located. The effect of contact and exchanges with singers in Seville and Jeréz can be felt in his voice.

Despite the upbeat nature of tonight’s concert, it too had its gestures of remembrance. Poveda paid homage to two, very different, but equally great flamenco singers, Pepe Marchena (who broke with traditions of dress and posture, as well as song) and Antonio Mairena (the purist who sought to rescue and preserve flamenco from dilution or contamination) . He also paid tribute to the memory of the late Enrique Morente. Poveda is certainly a siger who has followed in Morente’s trail.Like Estrella Morente, he is, quite literally, Morente’s next generation. Like him, he innovates, works with other musical forms, adapts painting, poetry and art to flamenco and pushes the art tirelessly further, without ever losing touch with that which is traditional or popular. On stage and off it, he is kind, generous and humble. This amazing and immensely likeable singer is definitely one to watch:

February 11, 2011 Post Under General - Read More

Comments are closed.