Flamenco 22 – Three to Follow

This week we’re going to take a look at the some younger artists that are taking Flamenco into the twenty-first century, drawing on the same structures we have seen from their older peers. Flamenco continues to evolve and is in safe hands, we believe.

David Peña Dorantes, was born in Lebrija (Seville) into a family whose dedication to the secular music of Andalusia is legendary. A quick look at his family tree reveals an extraordinary pedigree: his grandmother María “La Perrata”; his father Pedro Peña; his uncle Juan Peña “El Lebrijano”; Fernanda and Bernarda de Utrera, and if we go back far enough, the legendary nineteenth century Cantaores Mercé “La Serneta” and Tomás “El Nitri”.

Here is an early clip showing just how he has brought his distinctive piano playing in line with that heritage and by doing so added something really special to contemporary Flamenco. This piece, which is sung in Caló – the Spanish Gypsy or Romaní dialect – is called “Orobroy”:

As well as lapping up the family musical tradition, Dorantes studied piano, harmony and composition at The Higher Royal Conservatory in Seville. His classical training and family heritage have given him a wealth of knowledge and musical expertise to draw on ranging all the way from the strictest classical forms to those at the forefront of more contemporary and vanguard experimentation.

Here he is playing a piece called Semblanzas de Un Río (Sketches of a River). We will find out a little more about the Bailaores, Pastora Galván and Joaquín Grillo, a little later in this post:

This Flamenco pianist is just one of the artists that are beginning to be called “Flamencos del siglo XXI”

Here’s one last piece from him called “Sur” (South):

Joaquín Grilo Mateos, choreographer and Bailaor, was born in Jerez de La Frontera (Cadiz) in 1968. From 1981 he was a member of his mentors, Fernando Belmonte and Paco del Río’s, Flamenco Ballet “Albarizuela”, where he became principal dancer. The company toured extensively overseas. He undertook his first tour, at the age of only 13, to Israel in 1981. Here he is dancing Alegrías:

His zapateado is so clear, distinctive and personal, that the Flamenco-Jazz pianist Chano Domínguez used it as a percussion “instrument” on his recording in the style of Bulerías of Thelonius Monk’s Well You Needn’t.
Grilo has won many awards, the first being at the Cordoba Concurso de Arte Flamenco in 1986. He has toured Europe with the writer Fina de Calderón in a Flamenco / Literature crossover show, dancing pieces inspired not only by her writings but by those of Federico García Lorca as well.

The Bailaora Pastora Galván de los Reyes was born in Seville in 1980. She studied at the Conservatory in Seville and by the age of fifteen was making her first professional tour to the United States, returning in 1997 to teach a series of short courses at the University of Stanford. By this time she was working with artists of the stature of Eva “La Yerbabuena” and had a two year residency at the Seville Tablao “Los Gallos”.
She spent the early part of the first decade of this century touring the world and has come to be recognised as one of the young Bailaoras with the strongest Gypsy style and spirit.
Since then she has worked with Joaquín Grilo, Arcángel, and Antonio Canales. In 2006 she was the undisputed star of the show, La Francesa, at the XIV Biennial Festival in Seville. She has continued touring in Europe and beyond to unanimous critical and popular acclaim. Here she is dancing a Soleá:

Her latest collaboration with the Cantaor Arcángel, Zambra 5.1, has been successful at both the Maestranza Theatre in Seville and at the Malaga Biennial Flamenco Festival.

And here, to end this post on the newer generations, are a couple of clips. First up Dorantes with Pastora Galván in Danza de las Sombras (Dance of the Shadows):

And finally Dorantes with Joaquín Grilo in a delirious Bulerías as our fin de fiesta:

One Response to Flamenco 22 – Three to Follow

  1. Pingback: The Flamenco Series « Casa Maki

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