Confessions of a Flamenco enthusiast!

This weblog is where I share my love and enthusiasm for Flamenco with the world. Events, my upcoming gigs, as well as featured items like Flamenco shoes, fans and mantons available at Edie Hats, will all be here. As well as my thoughts, musings, and inspirations! If you are interested in what I have to say on other subjects, check out my MySpace page and my Flickr photos.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Flamenco on the East Coast

When I was growing up in Nova Scotia, the music of Flamenco was introduced to me by my mother. I remember her bringing Paco de Lucias's first record home. I would have given anything to be able to learn more about it...but the music that prevailed even in our own house, and coming from the other houses, were the sounds of fiddles, guitars, step dancing...and Celtic songs. The people to learn from were steeped in Celtic. I learned to play the 5 string banjo instead of palmas and castentes. Rich in their culture and music, there is a similarity in the way Maritimers and Flamencos live with their music. People still pull out their instruments, gather together and make music as second nature. Music, singing and dancing glues families and communities together. The East Coast has been a place where artists and musicians from all over the world have settled and migrated to. They fall in love with the place, and adopt it as home.

Shawn Harris who's singing has been described as rich, strong, soaring and heart-rending

So it's with joy and surprise that on one of my trips back home to visit my parents, I heard about a flamenco group that had taken up residence in Halifax in 2001...after moving from Newfoundland yet! I sought out lessons with the beautiful woman I saw on the website, she turned out to be the most wonderful and gracious woman, and an extraordinarily dramatic and powerful dancer.

I am now friends with this lovely group of people, and would like to introduce them to you.

Shawn , Tony Tucker, Meagan Matheson after the show

My last trip home found me in the midst of a Flamenco Festival, that preceded the week of East Coast Music Awards (in which they eventually were to win Best Group Recording In Roots Traditional) and in freeezing cold weather, I made my way to the performance at the Casino/Sheraton Hotel (another addition to the Halifax night life since I left 30 years ago....honestly - the fanciest bingo hall I ever DID see!) I ascended the stairs out of the sea of bewildering blinking lights of the Casino, to a beautiful wood paneled room that looked like something out of a Luxury Liner in the 30's (certainly not the Halifax I grew up in!) The room was filled with people eager to see the show....obviously loyal fans,and not all Flamencos. And what a show they did for us!! Truly a strong and unique representation of the mix of talents brought together in one place by this group...The mix of traditional Flamenco, and ..."other" such as renditions of "Flamenco'ed" Edith Piaf , sung by the exotic and beautiful Maral Perk, was absolutely wonderful.

El Viento Flamenco after the show

All experienced performers from other musical traditions (see for their bios) including Classical,Gospel, and straight up Rock and Roll, they delivered a high energy, professionally polished and incredably satisfying performance. One of the highlights for me was Shawn's absolutely refreshing and funny buleria that he wrote and performed in English! Listen to it here in an interview with Shelagh Rogers a few days ago, and see if "HE'S NOT LOVELY, TELL YER MOTHER!!!!"

1 comment:

bobzyk said...

Dear Edie,

Thank you so very much for your wonderful article about El Viento Flamenco. It's a joy to have such supportive friends and you're welcome in Halifax anytime! Hopefully we'll get out west sometime soon, let's cross our fingers!

Besos y abrazos,
"El Tortuga" Bob Sutherby
Guitarrista, El Viento Flamenco