Describing Francisco Contreras Molina, also known as Niño de Elche, is complicated. Seeing him on top of a stage, guitar in hand and singing his ‘Antología del cante flamenco heterodoxo’, it seems that anyone could have it clear: it is pure flamenco from head to toe. However, it is he himself who proclaims the opposite, something like he defines an ‘ex-flamenco’.
“I came here by chance, but I’m liking it,” Richard confesses in a recently learned Spanish in which his English accent is glimpsed during the Niño de Elche concert. The young man, from the south of England, has spent a few years in Spain learning the language and working and, as he points out, he did not want to miss the opportunity to delve deeper into the culture by listening to something as representative of the country as flamenco live.
From Pamplona and connoisseurs of this art are Marta and Óscar, who repeat as spectators of Flamenco On Fire. “We really like coming to the festival. Although it may not seem like it, here we also like flamenco a lot,” she says, among an audience that followed the singer-songwriter with their palms and was amazed when his voice was transformed into shouts that penetrated the walls of the venue. “I’m sorry, I always end up paying for a damaged mic,” the Niño de Elche joked after hitting the microphone to the rhythm of the music in a show that left no one indifferent.
Niño de Elche, always faithful to his groundbreaking, curious and anarchic spirit, has been in charge of closing the Saturday afternoon of Flamenco On Fire, a festival that brings together the most established artists and emerging talent in all flamenco disciplines since 2014 . Before him, singer-songwriter Frank Maza lit up the Citadel stage – one of the points where the festival is held – with a performance that traveled between pop and electronica. During the previous days it was the turn of artists such as Niña Pastori or Javier Rubial and this Sunday Big Loise and Juanito Makandé from Cádiz will perform.
The festival, which during the 2021 edition revolves around the question ‘What is flamenco?’ invites the public to reflect on what this art implies, which moves from the stages to the balconies through free performances in some of the most emblematic and historical corners of Pamplona such as the Town Hall, the Ezpeleta Palace or Baluarte.
Flamenco On Fire was held on August 25 in Tudela and between 26 and 29 in different stages of Pamplona. In addition, it has had actions in Navarre municipalities such as Viana or Estella.