On Friday night Alex and I went to Sadler’s Wells to see Paco Pena: Flamenco sin Fronteras. The show was amazing! This YouTube video is compilation of the show, and should give you an idea of what we saw.
Paco Peña is a famous flamenco guitarist, and in this show he’s collaborated with Spanish and Latin American musicians and dancers to show how Spanish flamenco has infleunced Venezuela, Peruvian, and African music, and vice versa. The Spanish musicians are seated on stage left, and are dressed rather severely in black. On stage right, the South American musicians are dressed much casually in white (and some are barefoot!). It’s really a fascinating combination hearing the play between the two groups — and play is the best word I can think of. Clearly these musicians are having a good time! I have a weakness for Spanish guitar, and while this was not exactly classical music, it still has the passion and power that I love.
The dancers were amazing: individually, as couples, and in a larger group. Personally I liked the crispness of the traditional flamenco, but Alex really liked the more relaxed attitude of the adaptations. There was one drummer who was particularly good — at one point his hands were moving so fast you couldn’t see them anymore!
Clearly this show was designed to highlight the best of both cultures, both of which are vibrant and colorful. In fact, a number of times during the performance I just wanted to close my eyes and imagine myself in a little bar somewhere in Spain, drinking wine and enjoying the performance. It felt so lively and personable — the perfect end to the week! If anything, this experience made me regret not seeing flamenco in Madrid while we were there. Oh well, we’ll have to go back!