GSFA Flamenco Season Finale May 8th at New Hazlett at 8pm
Tickets $40.00 General Admission, $35.00 Students, Seniors, Members
www.gsfapittsburgh.org or[masked] or [address removed]
What is Flamenco?
Flamenco is a dynamic and passionate folk art that originated with the
gypsies of Southern Spain, and it is often improvised and spontaneous. Its
elements - the song, dance, and guitar are blended together in various
distinct rhythmic forms. There are several forms or "Palos" and the
flamenco artists - the singer, dancer, guitarist must all be fully
schooled in the art informally or formally in order to participate with
other artists. Gypsies say “ it’s in the blood”. Spain’s famous poet and
writer Federico Garcia Lorca, called flamenco one of the most gigantic
inventions of the Spanish people. The tragic lyrics and tones of flamenco
clearly reflect the sufferings of the gypsy people. It is thought that the
gypsies who ended up in Andalusia traveled from India and Pakistan
acquiring the name "gitano" from Egiptano, the old Spanish word for
Egyptian. Apart from the Indian and Jewish influences, the Arabs made an
immense contribution to the molding of the art-form which is not
surprising since they ruled Spain for seven centuries. Yet flamenco in its
present form is only some two hundred years old.
The source of flamenco lies in its singing tradition, so the singer's role
is vitally important. The flamenco guitar was used originally as an
instrument of accompaniment. Today solo flamenco guitar has developed as a
separate art. There are broadly speaking two main styles in Flamenco: the
"jondo" - profound and serious, the cry of people oppressed for many
centuries; and the "chico" - happy, light and often humorous. The song "el
cante" is most important as it is considered to be the source which gives
inspiration to the guitar playing "el toque" and the dance "el baile".
Flamenco dance is by nature oriental, so differs fundamentally from other
well established European dance forms. Complex rhythmic patterns are
created and requires sophisticated footwork technique.
The ladies sometimes wear long costumes often with many frills and practice for
hours their elegant arm and hand movements. The men are typically formally
dressed and their dance movements reflect more strength and power as
opposed to elegance and finesse. The upper body of both the men and women
must emphasize grace and posture. In much of the more serious flamenco,
there is a release of pent up hatred of persecution and often an evocation
of death ( particularly in "Seguiriyas"). The dancers job is to interpret,
project and illustrate the mood of the song within the rhythmic structure,
and the interaction of singer, guitarist, and dancer improvising together
results in great energy and art. At any one moment either singer, dancer
or guitarist may have the lead and the other artists support with "Jaleo"
yells of encouragement and "Palmas" hand-clapping keeping a strong
rhythmic base for the momentary soloist.
The Flamenco Cast for May 8th at New Hazlett 8:00pm
This was the name given to Jose Valle Fajardo by his Grandfather. Since
then, the name "Chusco" has come to describe a guitarist of consummate
skill and a profound understanding of the Flamenco traditions.
A native of Antequera, Spain, Chuscales grew up in a traditional gypsy
family well known for its professional musicians and dancers. His
grandmother was among those who lived in the caves of Sacromonte, one of
the legendary cradles of flamenco. Chuscales recalls, "there were shows,
with Gypsies from Granada who grew up in families that lived there. I wish
you could see it, the families in the caves and the singing and dancing.
There might be seven, eight, maybe nine caves, all with singing and
dancing, and there would be more singing and dancing on the streets every
day. It was unbelievable. It was very formative time in all my life. It
was like a dream. This is where I learned everything — the rhythm, the
beat, the guitar. I am still learning from those thousands of nights
performing with my family, with my father, my grandfather, and my
Chusco began his performing career as a dancer — an experience that
provides him with a detailed understanding of flamenco's rhythmic nuances.
He elaborates as the accompanying guitarist, "I can understand and follow
dancers. I can see where they are going before they take their next step.
I know what the dancer is looking for, how much tension is in the music,
the right rhythm, when to play strong or soft so if a dancer asks me for
something, I know what they ask." Chuscales' affinity for dance is
delightfully apparent in his artistry, blending music and movement as he
does is no accident. "It's something we learn through life," he says. "A
lot of people don't have my luck to grow up in the caves, learning
flamenco in a Gypsy family where the music comes from tradition to
tradition, from legend to legend. I thank God I have been around such
great musicians all my life.
"Felix de Lola" flamenco singer from Sevilla, Spain began his flamenco
singing with the Compallo family and went on to study with the renowned
flamenco singers, Jesus Heredia and Naranjito de Triana. His recent,
extensive touring schedule has brought him to the world stages throughout
Western and Eastern Europe, Costa Rica, South Africa and the United
States, singing for a list of illustrious artists such as dancers Juan
Polvillo, Angel Atienza, Junco, Juan Ogalla, Belen Maya, Pastora Galvan,
Antonio Granjero, Antonio Hidalgo, Carmela Greco and guitarists Jose Luis
Postigo and the prestigious guitarist and composer Jose Luis Rodriguez,
musical director of the famed Cristina Hoyos Flamenco Company. Along with
his superb singing talent, Felix composes music and verses for flamenco
song, composes theatrical works and musical adaptations for flamenco
theater. In Costa Rica he is recognized as a leading exponent of Flamenco.
Recent projects include composing musical adaptations of Costa Rican
writer, Cristy Van de Laat's The Red Book of Black Haiku" and the
play"Moureliana" based on the poetic works of writer, Jose Nestor Mourelo
Born 1981 in Malaga, "Antonio Arrebola" began dancing at the age of
eight. He was trained in Ballet and classical Spanish dance at the
Conservatory of Malaga, where he also began studying Flamenco
intensely with Susana Lupianez and Pepe Ruiz. In 2001 the Fundación
Cristina Heeren de Arte de Flamenco in Seville offered Antonio a full
scholarship to continue his studies with Flamenco greats, such as Manolo
Soler, Javier Barón and Hiniesta Cortés. The following year, Mario Maya
selected him as a student at the Centro Escénico in Granada, where Antonio
Arrebola studied with Alejandro Granados, Rafaela Carrasco, Belen Maya,
Juan Andres Maya and Mario Maya himself. Antonio's technique is
exceptional. He combines his temper and power with sensuousness, subtlety
and humor to arrive at a style all his own. He is one of the most
promising young dancers in Spain today.
Jose "El Chino"
Percussionist from Barcelona, Spain. Toured with the likes of Danilo, Las
Chuches, La Hungara, Las Peligro. Musical collaborations with Miguel El
Toleo for the recording of "Flamencos en Catalunya" and "Fiesta Gitana
Vol.9". Performances include the ?Velada de Santa Ana? with Compa?ia
Manolo Marin, Por Mis Tacones at the Palau de la Musica and regularly at
Los Tarantos, Jazzsi and at the Sala Apolo.
"Nelida Tirado" began her formal training at age six at Ballet Hispanico
of NY where she trained in classical ballet, graham technique and
classical spanish dance/flamenco. Barely out of her teens, she was noticed
and was invited to join Jose Molina Bailes Espanoles and toured the US for
the next several years. She joined Carlota Santana's "Flamenco Vivo"
company and was soloist, dance captain for several years. She was original
member of the Metropolitan Opera’s Spanish Ballet and performed in Franco
Zeferelli’s “Carmen at the Met and toured Japan. In 1997, she received an
Artist in Residence grant from the New York Foundation of the Arts.
Her desire to continue learning led her to Spain in 1997 where she
immediately began studying and performing professionally with Juan Andres
Maya in Granada.
Nelida was offered a scholarship with the "Fundacion Cristina Hereen" in
Seville but instead, joined Compania Maria Pages where she was soloist and
repetidora (dance captain) performing at major prestigious flamenco
festivals within Spain and Spanish television such as the Bienal del Arte
Flamenco, Festival de Jerez, Festival de Otono, Festival de la Guitarra in
Cordoba and the Flamenco Festival USA .Shes performed nationally and
internationally throughout France, Italy, Uk, Japan and Germany. In 2000,
she was part of World Music Institute's "Gypsy Caravan 1" with Compania
Antonio El Pipa. Clearly a successful dancer, she has had the opportunity
to work with many of Spain's major flamenco artists such as Fernando
Romero, Manolo Marin, Manuel Soler, Antonio Reyes,Juan Ogalla, Isabel
Bayon, Manuel Linan, Pastora Galvan, Juan Manuel Canizares, Antonio
Malena, La Tobala, and Marina Heredia.
Upon returning to the US, Nelida Tirado worked with the "Noche Flamenca
and was featured flamenco star in the highly acclaimed show "Riverdance"
on Broadway and the show “Jarocho” touring Mexico and China. Summer of
2005, she represented as a solo artist, Compania Maria Pages in The Aichi
Expo in Japan. She was recently chosen to participate in The E-MOVES
choreography showcase at Harlem Stage and presented her first solo concert
June 2007 “Flamenco Pa’ Dos” with guest artist David Paniagua at The Peter
Jay Sharpe Theater at Symphony Space.