Reflections from the Flamenco Community
Saturday’s show at the Rialto Center for the Arts brought me to appreciate even more, flamenco – a favorite of mine – as well as classical Indian music. Anoushka Shankar and the artists on stage blended Indian and flamenco traditions seamlessly to create new sounds that opened me to new ideas about the art forms, myself, and the world around me.
In flamenco, fusion is a slippery slope because the tradition is wrought with details that can be lost when artists move in and around the genre. Many of those intricacies were not lost – but showcased – in the tones of the rumba, granaína, seguiriyas, and more through the sweet voice of flamenco singer Sandra Carraso, the flamenco guitar of Melón Jiminez, and cajón player Bernhard Schimpelsberger, as well as the Indian musicians on stage. With these details shining, I was satisfied and moved that these musicians knew each other’s art forms deeply, together entertaining and drawing me in again and again.
The highlight of the night for me came when the mridangam player took his solo, surrounded by flamenco and Indian musicians clapping in support of his mesmerizing drumming patterns. They were all together communal as in flamenco. It was at that moment that the history lessons, connections, clever innovation, and experimentation of the evening took a back seat to the one idea that we are people and we love music. And, through music, we can journey together through life’s lows and highs, no matter our boundaries.
Much credit for the evening goes to Mr. Schimpelsberger, who played cajón, an instrument that itself represents fusion in flamenco. Whether winding through the sitar or other instruments, his slaps and golpes brought to my ears the footwork of the flamenco dancer that I imagined with the group. He reminded me of one of the things that I love so much about flamenco: everyone involved is making music together.
by Julie Galle Baggenstoss