Flamenco NorthWest

At $20/ticket, the professional flamenco performance held at the TESC recital hall Saturday evening (4-16-11) @ 8:00pm was an exceptional bargain, the artistry was simply stunning. It included Savannah Fuentes and Veronica Barrera as dancers, Enrique Chavez ‘El Peru’ as percussionist, Vincinte Griego ‘El Cartucho’ as vocalist, and Gerardo Alcala’ on classical guitar. The performers were warmly generous and the evening rewarding in an intimate informal venue. The dancers had the graceful beauty and physique of accomplished athletes: sinewy, lithe, exquisitely coordinated, dramatic, and captivating. The recital hall was nearly sold out, the audience spellbound.

Professional Dancer raised in Seattle brings Flamenco to the NorthWest

Attracted to flamenco at 17 while growing up in Seattle, Savannah Fuentes honed her dance skills with dancer, Ana Montes. She continued her studies in Madrid with teachers such as La Tati, Belen Maya, and Cristobal Reyes.

A Florid dance performance captures a spellbound TESC audience

Ms. Barerra has a thousand watt smile that lit up the stage. Veronica, originally from Argentina, has been studying the Flamenco art form for the past 20 years, with interruptions to birth two daughters and gain four academic degrees. She began her studies with Dame Libby Komaiko of the Ensemble Español in Chicago and has since studied with notable flamencos like, Ciro, La Tania, Belen Maya, and Timo Lozano. She has performed in Olympia and Seattle for the past ten years with Amorfo Flamenco and Carmona Flamenco. In 2004 she had the privilege of performing in the Seattle Opera’s production of Carmen.

Vocalist and dedicated flamenco artist studied at TESC

Demanding and serious while remaining invitingly warm toward his audience, Vicente Griego “El Cartucho” from Dixon/Embudo, New Mexico has devoted his life to the study of cante flamenco, the art of flamenco singing. In 1992, Vicente began touring the US, Canada and Latin America, with the Jose Greco II Flamenco Dance Company, where he was mentored by Caño Roto singer, Alfonso “Veneno” of Madrid, Spain. Vicente remains a pupil of acclaimed guitarist, Chuscales and continues to accompany internationally renowned companies such as; Yjastros, Juan Siddi Flamenco Company, Carola Zertuche’s Teatro Flamenco, Martinez’ Pueblo Viejo, Fanny Ara, Jesus Montoya y Pureza Flamenca and Encuentro.

Percussionist Extraordinaire Herrera provides the musical foundation

Born in Lima- Perú and raised in Puerto Rico, Enrique Chávez Herrera ‘El Peru’ began his professional career as a percussionist and a drummer in Puerto Rico. In 2008 Enrique graduated from the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico where he majored in classical Percussion. Enrique has performed and recorded with various artists encompassing a wide range of different musical styles: Jazz Caribeño, Jazz, Latin Jazz, Reggae, Hip Hop, Brazilian music, Plena, flamenco, Rock, Salsa, Funk, Pop, Arabic music and Afro Puerto Rican music. In 2006 Enrique performed at Carnegie Hall and at the Museo del Barrio in New York with the Concert Band of the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico. Currently Enrique is playing with different groups in New Mexico including the Albuquerque Jazz Orchestra, Bobby Shew, Juan SIddi Flamenco company, Flamenco Guitarist José Valle “Chuscales”, Circus Luminus, cantaor Vicente Griego, Salsa group Calle 66, Humoso Jazz Quartet and the Flamenco company Yjastros.

Fluid Classical Motion with a Stacatto beat

Liquid stylist Gerardo Alcala’ of New Orleans and Flamenco guitarist, Gerardo Alcala’ is one of the few foreigners to be respected as a full-fledged Flamenco artist by the gypsy Flamencos of Andalucia, among whom he lived the authentic Flamenco lifestyle for many years. He learned his art from the masters: Rafael el Aguila, Parrilla de Jerez, Niño Jero, Rafael Alarcón, Eduardo de la Malena, and Pedro Bacan. In the intimate closed-door sessions, or Juergas, where the pure sould of Flamenco, el Duende, can surge forth in all its savage beauty, he has spent countless hours accompanying great gypsy singers such as Agujetas, Gitano de Bronce, El Garbanzo, El Monea, Salmonete, Chato de la Isla, Dolores, Antonio, Luis, Diego, El Gordo, and Paco Agujetas, and many others. He has performed professionally in major theatres on three continents, including Carnegie Hall, as well as for television, radio and film. In the U.S. he toured extensively with the Spanish dance companies of Jose Molina and Teo Morca and did many recitals with the legendary Anzonini del Puerto. In Spain he performed with the all-gypsy company of Fernanda Romero and has had particularly long and close relationship with the Agujetas family, including Manuel Agujetas, who has preserved the deepest and purest singing in Spain. With them, he was featured as sole accompanist in the prestigious Circulo de Bellas Artes in Madrid and the Dutch film “Duende”. In 1990 he was honoured to become the first North American ever to be contracted to perform as a soloist in the Bienal de Sevilla, Spain’s most important Flamenco Festival. In 1998 he accompanied Luis Agujetas on his CD “Entre tu Tierra Y La Mia”. In 2000, he appeared accompanying Luis, Diego, and Paco Aguetas in the film “El Turista Soy Yo”. In 2002 he was first guitarist at Mexico’s most important tablao “gitanerias” and did a tour of Spain and France accompanying the singer, Dolores Agujetas. Gerardo performs both as a solo guitarist and with his group, Flamenco Alcala’, (a singer and one or two dancers). He is based in Vancouver, BC.

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