PUBLISHED FEBRUARY, 2008
Atlanta Gets Deep
A local composer sets a new production based on a work by Spanish poet Federico García Lorca By Julie Baggenstoss
Federico García Lorca is at the heart of much flamenco, and this coming weekend in Atlanta, his poem "Ciudad Sin Sueño (Nocturno del Brooklyn Bridge)" is the focus of a concert by Atlanta Young Singers of Callanwolde (AYS). The show, "LA LUNA ASOMA: Inspired by Lorca," includes guest artists Jerry Fields and Vecinos del Mundo Flamenco; Ann McPhail of Spelman College; J. Robert Adams of Clark Atlanta University; and Mel Foster, Morehouse College.
With the help of Fields and local composer David Marcus, both the audience and singers are infused with the delicious imagery of Lorca's texts. AYS Music Director Paige F. Mathis describes the marriage of music with Lorca's poetry, "Musical expression was an integral part of Lorca's character. To have music in tandem with the poet's words adds a deeper dimension of expression."
Lorca is considered one of Spain's greatest poets. He approached flamenco initially as a fascinated outsider, only to become a part of it. He found great inspiration in flamenco during the early part of the 20th century. Flamenco singer after singer has chosen to record his poems, many of which were never intended to be flamenco lyrics. And, today, entire productions are devoted to his work.
For his piece "CIUDAD SIN SUEÑO: THREE IMAGES," Marcus has divided portions of Lorca's text into three movements. Jazz and choir performances bookend this multifaceted dramatic cantata, while flamenco brings the poet to the stage in the middle of the show. Jerry Fields and Vecinos del Mundo Flamenco plan to present an excerpt from Lorca's Balidilla de los Tres Rios and cante jondo in a martinete, and more through music, dance and singing.
"To be able to contribute to the preservation of flamenco tradition probably has the most significance for all of us," says Fields of this unique performance before an Atlanta audience. "To be given the opportunity to bring all of our personal and interconnected feelings to such a strong and vibrant art form in this day and age is a unique opportunity."
This performance, sponsored in part by the Department of World Languages and Literature at Spelman College, takes place March 1 at 8:00 p.m. at Spelman College's Sisters Chapel (350 Spelman Lane, SW, Atlanta 30314). Tickets cost $12-15. For more information or to order tickets, please call 404-873-3365 or visit www.aysc.org.
The date for Atlanta's flamenco student expo is set. By Julie Baggenstoss
Fronteras has chronicled the growth of many performers, as they moved from beginner to more advanced levels of flamenco skill and knowledge. Be part of this show this year, on stage, in the audience or behind the scenes as a volunteer. More details coming to jaleolé.com soon.
Indian Ideas Meet Flamenco
Upcoming workshop fuses flamenco and Kathak. By Julie Baggenstoss
"The main emphasis is on compás and rhythm, which is the heart and soul of flamenco. The aim is to solidify the meaning and understanding of compás," says Cruz. She adds, "This is what links Kathak and flamenco, their sharing in the expression of rhythm, which in ancient times was associated with the 'heartbeat' of humanity."
Kathak originates in the Northern Region of India. Some say its percussive effects produced by the stamping of bare feet and bell-wrapped ankles are the origins of the heel and toe sounds in flamenco footwork.
Cruz's interest in Kathak stems from this traditional dance's emphasis on intricate footwork rhythms and subtle body movements utilised to interpret the mythological and sacred stories of Ancient India.
Cruz explains, "Kathak rhythms superimposed over flamenco palos exponentially expand the intricacies and possibilities of footwork! It's not just about tiempo and contratiempo, the meters and patterns in Kathak are much more complex."
Cruz says her workshops concentrate on a flamenco puro base infused with rhythm and movements from Kathak. She teaches flamenco technique, compás and Kathak footwork that can be incorporated into flamenco palos with the collaboration of percussionist Jerry Fields, who is well versed in Kathak percussion tabla rhythms.
"With his knowledge of Kathak tabla (Indian drum) and rhythms he is critical in showing and reinforcing the fusion of Kathak beats over flamenco Palos," says Cruz.
Cruz says, apart from the focus on rhythm, this workshop will also explore how Kathak and contemporary movements can be applied to enrich flamenco choreographies. She says she will teach dance steps, with the aim of personalising choreographies and increasing improvisation skills, in performances and for "juergas."
© jaleolé.com 2008