Blanca Paloma has that leprechaun that no other country could take to Eurovision. From Illicit with Sevillian roots, hers is a flamenco free of stereotypes that defies the curse that has weighed on Spain since Remedios Amaya placed penultimate at the 1983 festival. A fusion of folklore and electronics with an open Lorca staging and a refrain as Spanish as international -"Who wouldn't know how to sing eaea?"- that conquered the public and critics in the second semifinal of the Benidorm Fest and places it as a favorite of Eurofans for the final this Saturday.
Blanca Paloma's duende on stage, perhaps the one she lacked in the last edition of the festival, when she came in fifth place, has a name and a face, the one on the cover of her single. Life is kinder when you have a grandmother Carmen. She also has a shawl, inherited from her during her lifetime when Carmen had not heard her granddaughter sing. He never did. At least, in body present.
Flamenco was a necessity for me, I had to fill the void that my grandmother had left when she left
It was when the grandmother was absent that Blanca Paloma received the call of flamenco. He went past the Antón Martín market, in the heart of Madrid. She heard heels clicking from the street, and as if guided by the Pied Piper, she entered between the fish and vegetable stalls. On the second floor she found the origin of the zapateao: the Amor de Dios school. There she took her first steps in the folklore with which Carmen entertained the after-dinner.
"It was a necessity, I had to fill the void that she had left when she left," she revives in conversation with EL MUNDO the morning after her overwhelming victory. "It was all very revealing. The teacher, Lina, reminded me of her," he says. Months later she made her debut in Switzerland with her flamenco painting.
The spectacular staging that brought Benidorm to its feet on Thursday night is almost a biography of the girl from Elche who rediscovered her origins. Trained in Fine Arts and hardened on the backstage of contemporary theater as a set designer and costume designer, Blanca Paloma sang between palms in the center of a very delicate red circle of fringes, the ones that adorned her grandmother's chest in that shawl that always accompanies her. . There she found her coat that catapulted her to the final.
My proposal is a rite of invocation, of trance, of catharsis to connect with our ancestors
"It was a way of feeling embraced by her, in that comfort space in which she caresses me, but at the same time pushes me to leave empowered to continue this journey through the flamenco legacy that she has left me," she says. On stage, Blanca Paloma surrounds herself with five women, three dancers and two choristers, in "a rite of invocation, of trance, of catharsis, where we somehow connect with our ancestors, with the strength that they have left each one of us. ".
The father of the woman from Elche, Fran, observes from afar the commotion that she generates wherever her eldest daughter goes, who did not start as a favorite and has broken the schemes of the Benidorm Fest. "I taught my daughters to dance sevillanas, but it seems that the voice skipped a generation," reflects the son of the honoree Carmen, the Andalusian root of his art. Not in vain, he baptized her as the Virgen del Rocío. The Eurovision gene is carried by the Ramos in their blood: the youngest of the family, Sara, was about to participate in the first edition of Junior Eurovision, back in 2003.
"Mine is a proposal that may be liked even more outside of Spain than within, here many people did not finish connecting with the song until they saw the staging", says Blanca Paloma, "when you see the final result you understand how it was imagined". Is it a lullaby, a Christmas carol? No one succeeds in defining exactly what this hypnotic Eaea is, and that lack of definition is what makes it unique.
Mine is a proposal that may be liked more abroad than within Spain
Since that flamenco delirium was revealed in a sequence shot on the stage of the Benidorm Fest, Spain has climbed four places in the Eurovision bets. The foreign press present in the city of skyscrapers is clear: it is a product ready to take to Liverpool. Nine months of hard work remain behind on a project that started long before, in front of a café in Barcelona, and that on Saturday will experience for the second time the opportunity to be crowned at the great European song festival.
And that curse? "When Remedios Amaya sang in Munich, they were not prepared for something like that, it was an impact, she was ahead of her time," she says, "I want to get on that Remedios boat, hopefully Spain is ready to return to Eurovision with a proposal flamenco. We are".
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