Paco Peña at Sadler’s Wells

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London’s many flamencophiles and Hispanophiles have a lot to look forward to this coming week, since Paco Peña’s latest show, Flamenco sin fronteras, will be on at Sadler’s Wells as of June 30th. Cordobés by birth, Paco Peña started off as a guitarist and is now better known as the creator of a series of shows that have appeared annually for some years now and that combine carefully controlled choreography, very high quality performance and lyrical narratives that catch the imagination. His signature style is one that combines a traditional approach with artistic sophistication. There is also a very clear rigour about his approach to flamenco, a close attention to detail combined with stylish performances by top dancers and musicians and, always, his own presence on stage that seals the show with an auteurist stamp. Paco Peña sees himself as having many roles; that of el cordobés, that of the company director, the mentor and much more. What is clear is that he is in many ways a maestro of the arte.

In a sense, Paco Peña is a diasporic flamenco artist. While his roots are in Córdoba, he has nevertheless lived outside of Spain for many years now and so it is not suprising that his dance narratives often carry an element of longing or nostalgia. Flamenco sin fronteras promises to be about travel. It revolves around the cantes de ida y vuelta or forms of flamenco that emerged from intercourse between Spain and Latin America, when Spaniards took their music across the Atlantic in their travels as colonizers, hybridized it with forms of music they found there and then returned,as indianos, to Spain to add new dimensions to the repertoire of flamenco… and so we find touches of Cuba in guajiras and habaneras, of Colombia in colombianas, of Argentina in tangos and tanguillos. This music, which has a lilt that undulates ocean-like, is a beautiful evocation of centuries of connection and movement to and fro between Andalusia and Latin America.

June 26, 2010 Post Under General - Read More

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