Multiculture, On Stage

Flamenco Festival London 2011

The art-form is one of the most famous Spanish cultural legacies, known and practised far outside the borders of the Iberian peninsula. London has not escaped the influence of the Andalusian dance.

Between February 8th and 19th, the English capital will host the Flamenco Festival London 2011, in which many of the most respected Flamenco dancers, musicians and performers will participate.

Estrella Morente, a singer from Granada, and daughter of the Flamenco artist Enrique Morente who died recently and was considered one of the foremost practitioners of the art, will open the festival on 8 February at Sadler’s Wells theatre in London, inspired by famous Flamenco performers such as La Niña de los Peines, La Perla de Cádiz and La Repompa, and also with the influence of musical styles of artists such as Imperio Argentina, Nina Simone and Chavela Vargas.

The following day – also at Sadler’s Wells theatre – Israel Galván, a dancer from Seville, will perform one of his most critically acclaimed shows, “La Edad de Oro” (The Golden Age), together with the signer David Lagos and the guitarist Alfredo Lagos. Miguel Poveda will star on February 10, whose youthful voice already enjoys an significant position in the world of flamenco.

Aside from this, one of the most important events will be the performance of Bizet’s Carmen, starring and choreographed by Aída Gómez, with scenic direction from Emilio Sagi and under the musical direction of Miguel Roa, between February 11 and 13.

On the same day theatre-goers can see the “Baila de Palabra” show, which in collaboration with the Instituto Cervantes will feature Mercedes Ruiz, a dancer from Jerez who combines tradition with the avant-garde aspects of flamenco.

This show will take place in Lilian Baylis Studio, Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R 4TN. The next item will be on February 15, with “Cuando las piedras vuelen” (When stones fly) of Rocío Molina, who one critic has described as “an extremely talented and intelligent dancer”.

On February 16, the guitarist José Fernández Torres “Tomatito” will himself perform Luz de guía. The show is dedicated to the singer Camarón de la Isla, with whom “Tomatito” worked for several decades, from when he was only 15. A multiple Latin Grammy award winner, José Fernández Torres has collaborated with musical artists as influential as Paco de Lucía, Elton John and Chick Corea.

Camarón de la Isla and Paco de Lucía
Camarón de la Isla and Paco de Lucía

The festival will finish with the Ballet Flamenco of Eva Yerbabuena, who will perform “Cuando yo era” (In my time), between February 17 and 19. Born in Frankfurt, Yerbabuena’s show seeks to evoke memories of the Spanish Civil War.

On film

The Flamenco Festival 2011 will also feature some productions of the ‘big screen’ within the context of Andalusian music, thanks to productions entitled “Cine and flamenco” (Cinema and flamenco) organized by the Instituto Cervantes. On February 4, it’s the turn of the film “Morente Sueña La Alhambra” (Morente dreams of the Alhambra – 2005), directed by José Sánchez-Montes, and on February 11, the film “La leyenda del Tiempo” ( The legend of time – 2006) will be shown, the story of a gypsy child who must come to terms with his father’s illness against a backdrop of flamenco.

The featured film on February 18 will be “Salomé” (2002) by the acclaimed Spanish director Carlos Saura, choreographed by Aida Gómez. The film cycle will finish with “La Carmen” (1975) by Julio Diamante, which sets the classic story of Carmen in Spain in the ’70s. The films will be shown from 17.30pm at the headquarters of the Instituto Cervantes in London.

The entrance will be free while seats are empty, but reserving places is mandatory; this can be done through the address reservas.londres@cervantes.es The Instituto Cervantes, official centre of Spanish language and culture, is located at 102 Eaton Square, London SW1 W9 AN (close to Victoria Station).

Information: www.londres.cervantes.es, http://www.sadlerswells.com. Telephone: 0844 412 4300. Sadler´s Wells Theatre is located at: Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R 4TN.

(Translated by Ambrose Phillips – Email: ambrosephillips@gmail.com)

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