The flamenco flair

Published May 18, 2022
Spanish musicians and dancer perform at Arts Council.
—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star
Spanish musicians and dancer perform at Arts Council. —Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

KARACHI: What is life without rhythm? One of the answers could be: dull. And dance, like poetry, is all about rhythm. They say: dancing is poetry with arms and legs. Music and dance lovers had this unforgettable experience on Monday evening at the Arts Council of Pakistan when they watched, with a great degree of joy, a flamenco concert by a Spanish group.

The four artists — dancers Choni and Victor Bravo, vocalist David Bastidas and guitarist Juan Manuel — entertained the audience with performances that had flair and panache.

For the uninitiated, flamenco is an art form generally associated with southern Spain.

Speaking about the performance and introducing the artists to the enthusiastic audience prior to the start of the show, the Spanish ambassador to Pakistan, Manuel Duran Gimenez-Rico, said: “Flamenco is an art consisting of dancing, singing, tap dancing… It comes from this [subcontinent] part of the world. It started many, many years ago. The Roma migration to Spain took their instruments and art to Spain and mingled with other cultures that already existed in the country. So you are going to witness something that’s very close to your heart.”

Spanish group enthrals audience with performance

He was spot-on! What transpired on stage later did prove to be closer to the hearts of those who were in the council’s main auditorium because they enjoyed every bit of it. The tone of the gig was set from the get-go when the four artists appeared on stage; Choni and Victor’s moves immediately had the crowd’s undivided attention. Once their prodigious tap dancing talent came to the fore, no one wanted to take their eyes off the performers. It was simply marvellous.

The versatility of the musicians became evident when a guitar solo was presented as the follow up to the opening bit. Juan Manuel effortlessly moved up and down the scales, creating melodious sounds on the instrument.

The sound and look of the concert changed when Choni came back on stage backed up David Bastidas impressive vocal range and engaging riffs of the guitar. It was a mirthful exhibition of the art form, an uplifting form storytelling.

Next up was the shift in mood, from joyous to a little pensive, with all four artists in front of the audience. The storytelling altered from happy to a touch of broodiness, leading to aggressive moves. Fantastic stuff, arguably the best piece on the playlist!

One needs to mention that while our music and dance buffs thoroughly enjoy all types of theatrical presentations, they need to learn a bit about western art forms, most of which do not depend on improvisation. Clapping and cheering the performers in the middle of an act is not always advisable. It disturbs the artists’ concentration. Hitting the right note while singing, playing the right chord on the guitar and making the right move in a dance recital requires a great deal of practice and attentiveness.

Published in Dawn, May 18th, 2022

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