Venue: Festival Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre
Season: one performance only
Duration: 2hrs 20mins (incl interval)
Festival Bookings: BASS 131 241 or http://www.bass.net.au
This was a double bill, each group performing for half of the concert and together showing very different styles. Guitarist, Oscar Guzmán, and vocalist Pepe de Lucía, here from Spain, were joined by local performers, dancer, Roshanne Wijeyeratne and percussionist, Adrian van Nunen playing cajón for the first half and then the Australian group, Arte Kanela, performed for the second half. This group is led by guitarist/composer, Richard Tedesco, and his brother, Johnny Tedesco, the principal dancer and choreographer. They are joined in this concert by singer, Manuel Varela, and dancer, Chantelle Cano.
The more traditional style of Flamenco came from Guzmán, Lucía, Wijeyeratne and van Nunen. The cajón is originally from Peru but was introduced to Flamenco in the 1970s by guitarist Paco de Lucía, Pepe’s brother, a man often referred to as the greatest Flamenco player of all time. While in Peru, he was given a cajón by percussionist Caitro Soto and could see that it had a place in Flamenco.
Pepe de Lucía has won many awards and accolades during his career and is one of the most distinctive voices in Flamenco, filled with passion and expression. Oscar Guzmán’s intricate and sensitive guitar playing has earned him plenty of awards, too. To have two such top level Flamenco musicians on stage at the same time is a coup for Festival organiser, Slava Grigoryan. Together they took the audience on a musical journey to Spain and brought alive the history of Flamenco and its origins in Andalusia. Local dancer, Wijeyeratne, performed a few dances with them, her beautiful movements reminding us that Flamenco is a multi-faceted form, combining music, song and dance.
A new take on Flamenco, that has all of the traditional flavour, but adds an enormous level of virtuosity and flamboyance, with a vastly extended technique, was presented by Arte Kanela. It could be said that this group is doing for Flamenco what Michael Flatley did for Irish dancing and it has already taken it beyond the Flamenco enthusiasts to a wider audience through working with such people as Kate Ceberano and The Cat Empire, appearing on numerous television programmes and touring to WOMAdelaide and various folk festivals.
Dance was a much more prominent part of this group’s performance, the brothers linking the more modern, complex guitar work and incredibly fast and powerful dancing to take the Flamenco into new places. Cano’s duos with Johnny Tedesco added a competitive edge to their work and raised the excitement level even further as they flew about the stage with ever more complex steps and increasing speed.
With a good many Spanish speaking people in the audience, lots of serious Flamenco enthusiasts, there was no shortage of applause for everything that both groups did during the evening. This was a performance that thrilled and amazed.
Reviewed by Barry Lenny, Arts Editor, Glam Adelaide.