November 20, 2018

FOLK/Music Espiritu del Flamenco, Flamenco song, music and dance

Saturday: 1 p.m. Penobscot, 9:15 p.m. Penobscot; Sunday: 1 p.m. Penobscot, 4 p.m. Two Rivers

Espiritu del Flamenco performs intense and passionate music that evolved in the region of Andalusia in southern Spain. Flamenco music tells stories of love, death, suffering, poverty and persecution – all experiences endured by the Gypsies, the first flamenco artists.

Migrating from India across Europe, Gypsies first entered Spain in large numbers in the 15th century. Many made their way to Andalusia, an area with an extraordinarily rich musical heritage. By the end of the 17th century, the Gypsies’ blending of local musical traditions with

their own genre and sensibilities created flamenco. For centuries, flamenco was confined to the margins of society, but the music attained respectability by the mid-19th century. Its popularity spread across Spain and the world, spawning a spectrum of flamenco varieties.

The three elements of flamenco are el cante (the song), la guitarra (the guitar) and el baile (the dance). The earliest form of flamenco was purely vocal, accompanied only by toque de palmas (rhythmic hand-clapping). Later, guitar was added as the primary accompaniment to the song. Flamenco dance as we know it today emerged at the start of the 20th century.

Jos? Maria Rold, known as “Pepe de Sevilla,” was born in Seville, Spain, and is not only the heart of Espiritu del Flamenco but also one of the greatest living flamenco singers. Pepe arrived in 1949 in Mexico City, where he sang at numerous flamenco venues. He then traveled throughout Mexico on tour with his own group, Los Majaretas de Triana. From 1957 to 1971, Pepe owned the Bar Sevilla in El Paso, Texas, the meeting place of many great intellectuals and flamenco artists of the time, including Agustin Castellin “Sabicas,” Antonio Triana, Luisa Triana, Maestro Manolo Matos, Miguel Galvez “El Ni?o de las Cabezas,” Juan Perrin, bullfighter John Fulton Short and Nobel Prize winner Pearl Buck.

Jos? Maria Rold III began studying flamenco guitar during his late teens with artists such as the virtuoso Lionel James, Pepe Marco and his cousin Manuel Antonio Rold from Seville. He collaborated with his father and a wide array of flamenco artists to form Espiritu del Flamenco to present a traditional tablao-style flamenco to audiences. Spontaneous and improvisational, it is considered one of the highest forms of flamenco. In tablao, there is no formal choreography or synchronized organization; each artist shows the best of his or her art individually, while magnificently supported by the rhythms kept by the others.

Andrea Del Conte is an internationally recognized flamenco performer, choreographer and teacher. Born in Rochester, N.Y., she began studying classical ballet at age 4. She studied Spanish classical, folkloric and flamenco dance in Madrid, where she has lived over the past 30 years. She directs the Andrea Del Conte Danza Espa?a, one of the most popular Spanish dance companies in the United States.

Sonia Santamaria is from Rota, Spain, in the province of Cadiz, and began her flamenco studies at an early age. Santamaria continued her artistic development under the tutelage of Coral Citron in Las Vegas, Nev., where she is a member of both Citron’s dance company, Fiesta Flamenca, and Espiritu del Flamenco.

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