Adel Guitar Festival – Spirit of Flamenco – 4.5K

By Melissah Picca

The 12th of August marked the last night of 2012’s Adelaide International Guitar Festival, it also marked the only night to witness the Spirit of Flamenco at the Adelaide Festival Centre.

Having recently toured Spain’s ‘Costa del Sol’, attending flamenco performances religiously, I decide to tame my critical eye prior to the show. Obviously not every take on flamenco is going to be the same and with acts from Australia and the USA being showcased, I’m looking forward to the contrast.

Proceeding in to the Festival Theatre, the audience is greeted by a dimly lit stage with 4 wooden chairs at it’s centre. As the first act appears I notice there is only one guitarist, which goes against the grain of a traditional flamenco show. For this reason, Adelaide’s own Florian Remus has been provided with a great amount of responsibility, usually there would have been two other guitarists to work with in a smaller venue, tonight Remus is subject to the opinion of roughly 1200 people. Despite the fact that the performance could have done with more sound, the positive of having one guitarist was that it was an opportunity to showcase Remus’ talent. He captured the intricacy of the Spanish guitar flawlessly and the audience loved him, that is if multiple standing ovations are something to go by.

Visually, the show was well done with the flamenco dancers situated at the front of the stage and the musicians behind. Forty five minutes in, the performers up the tempo bringing the first half of the night to an end.

The audience seem impressed but perhaps would be more so if there had been an introduction to the songs and their meaning, so that they could appreciate how the guitar together with the vocals and distinguished layers of percussion create a story.

Jason McGuire otherwise known as ‘El Rubio’ (the blonde one) headlines the second act on an open tuned guitar that sonically resonates throughout the theatre. McGuire’s take on flamenco is a fusion of jazz and classical guitar combined with the true Gitano (gypsy) spirit. He gives a brief introduction to himself and proceeds with the act. Mcguire’s guitar playing only gets better and better as the show goes on. He provides precision rhythm as well insanely fast flamenco lines that wow the audience, essentially performing a two-man job effortlessly.

Movements flamenco wise are more raw and there is a distinct connection between dancers and the music. The performance is dynamically outstanding, with the delicacy of flamenco footwork perfectly in time with it’s instrumental backing held together by the cajón (percussion box).

The performance ends with a collaboration of guitar work, vocals and flamenco by those in both the first and second acts of the night. Surprisingly, castanets were not used, however, the guitarists were obviously the highlights of the show and their fellow performers complimented them well.

The Spirit of Flamenco channeled the sounds of the Gitano perfectly with a unique style that could only be seen outside of Spain.

Kryztoff Rating:     4.5K

1 comment

  1. Was a great show..few corrections though…’costa del sol’ is a tourist area quite removed from where the flamenco is in Spain…the castanets are not part of flamenco puro but belong more to Spanish folk dances such as the jota and sevillanas…most flamenco shows do not feature them…more common to find one guitarist in modern flamenco..sometimes two…rarely three…i agree that maybe introductions to the pieces may have added to the performance but also could interrupt the flow of the performance..for those critical ears? The forms such as alegrias, bulerias etc should have been picked by the reviewer,,,,,as awesome as the Americans were our local component did our home town proud..ole!

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