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Flamenco Festival 2007 - Sadler's Wells

Preview by Jack Foley

SPAIN’S greatest artists unite once again for Sadler’s Wells’ fourth annual Flamenco Festival in London, taking place from February 23 to March 3.

Showcasing the very best in flamenco dance, music and song, the festival offers an opportunity to see some of the world’s best flamenco artists perform in London.

The line-up is as follows…

Fri 23 – Sun 25 Feb – Ballet Flamenco Eva Yerbabuena
Regarded as one of the most important female dancer/ choreographers in flamenco today, Eva Yerbabuena has been awarded the Flamenco Today prize three years in a row, the Spanish National Dance prize and a Time Out Best Performance of the Year award.

Yerbabuena balances the need to take the artform in exciting new directions with a reverence for the flamenco tradition. This approach maintains the purity of the rhythms and lines of flamenco, whilst marking her out as one of the most exciting figures in the new order. For these performances she’s joined by her company of dancers, singers and musicians who demonstrate her pure and timeless flamenco style.

Sun Feb 25 – Iberia/Rosa Torres Pardo, Lola Greco & José Antonio Rodriguez
Iberia is a key piece of classical Spanish music, created at the beginning of the century by composer Albéniz, and is said to be the greatest piano work to come from Spain. For Iberia, Albéniz created a new, complex musical language to capture the spiritual essence of Spain.

For this performance, three major artists from different fields join to together to celebrate this renowned work. Classical pianist Rosa Torres Pardo has played across the world, and produced a number of acclaimed recordings. She is joined by Lola Greco, who was a star principal dancer for the Ballet Nacional de Espana and award-winning classical guitar player Jose Antonio Rodriguez.

Mon Feb 26 – Estrella Morente
A star in Spain, 20-year-old vocalist Estrella Morente has dazzled audiences and critics alike with her compelling performances of flamenco and popular Spanish songs in the Andalusian tradition.

Daughter of the famed singer Enrique Morente, she is a celebrated new voice in flamenco who brings a fresh approach to this revered tradition. Her vocals range from gypsy cante, to the subtle lilt of 1940s cantadores like the late Pastora Pavon, with a nod to recent flamenco fusions, before returning to the source of flamenco tradition – full of passion, grace and fire. And most recently Estrella can be heard as the singing voice of Penelope Cruz in the film Volver.

Tue Feb 27 – Málaga en Flamenco
This celebration of Malagan flamenco features more than 20 of the region’s finest musicians, dancers, and singers including; singer Rocio Bazan, famed for her resonant sound which perfectly captures the tragic beauty of flamenco music; and the popular group Panda de Verdiales who demonstrate Verdiales (essentially a Malagueña fandango dance) accompanied by traditional flamenco instuments, amongst other prestigious artists.

The show demonstrates the natural flamenco music which originated in Malaga, including music by composers Ramón Montoya and Isaac Albéniz.

Wed Feb 28 – Isabel Bayón Compañía Flamenca with guest artist Miguel Poveda
Isabel Bayón from Seville takes flamenco back to its origins in an intimate show of pure flamenco dance, accompanied by cante, guitar, percussion and clapping. Her elegant, precise style is captivating and beautiful. She has been dancing flamenco since the age of six, and has choreographed for Ballet Nacional de España and Compañía Andaluza de Danza, as well as forming her own company.

For this evening, she is joined on-stage by singer Miguel Poveda. Faithful to traditional flamenco, Poveda is acclaimed for his pure, mature sound, which is a perfect match for Bayón’s dance style.

Thu March 1 – Gerardo Núñez Quintet with guest artist Carmen Cortés
One of flamenco’s greatest solo guitar players joins forces with one of flamenco’s greatest dancers. Gerardo Nuñez is famed for his jazz-inspired flamenco playing. His skillfull playing earned him the award for best flamenco guitarist at the 2002 Bienal de Flamenco, and he has worked with world class artists like Julio Iglesias, Radio Tarifa and Danilo Pérez, as well as Spanish pop stars Mecano and Rosario.

Here he is joined by traditional gypsy flamenco dancer Carmen Cortés, who returns to Sadler’s Wells after her performance in the 2005 Flamenco Festival London as part of The Four Elements. A powerful bailaora, Cortes is known for combining complete control with irrepressible explosions of energy.

Fri March 2 – Compañia Flamenca Carmen Cortés
Bailaora Carmen Cortés has a fiery, expressive style, spanning both classical and modern flamenco and influenced by her gypsy heritage. The veteran flamenco dancer from Barcelona is joined onstage by her company of six dancers in a theatrical show inspired by the heroines created by writer, Federico Garcia Lorca. They demonstrate a range of styles from the dramatic buleria to the lightness of the solea, accompanied by traditional flamenco music specially composed by David Cerraduela.

Sat March 3 – Gala de la Bienial de Sevilla
Completing Flamenco Festival London 07, this gala brings together the very best flamenco artists, as acknowledged masters share the stage with rising stars. Tradition and innovation come together in one unique celebration of this vibrant dance form.

The Gala features Joaquín Grillo, Isabel Bayón, La Moneta, Manuel Liñan, Olga Pericet & Marco Flores.

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