Review: Juan Martin and his Flamenco Ensemble, National Centre For Early Music, York – By Steve Crowther

June 7, 2010 at 09:14 Leave a comment


“Juan Martin opened his set with a whimsical explorative piece, which had the most lyrical episodes punctuated by the characteristic strumming chords (rasgueado).

This was followed by taconeos, notable for the sheer variety of colour and timbre displayed by this remarkable performer.

The show really came into its own with the entrance of dancers Raquel de Luna and Miguel Infante. They danced a series of short set pieces (Sevillanas) full of pride, posture and intent. It was a whirling, twirling delight.

The duet between Juan Martin and singer Carlos Brias was emotionally raw and gripping.

Later, the guitarist was joined by clarinettist, Paul Fawcus, in three Sephardic songs. The first two were particularly touching: a simple setting with the clarinet darkening, shading the lovely guitar melody, followed by a melancholic, sumptuous clarinet song with gentle guitar commentary.

The Rondena from Picasso Portraits was first performed for Picasso’s 90th birthday bash, and it was obvious that the composer had pushed the boundaries of Flamenco with jazz, experimental and improvised playing, in honour of the great man.

But it was the dancers who stole the show. In the Alegrias (joyful dances), dancer Raquel again performed a series of movements, each ending in the most frighteningly blurred staccato footwork, explosive gestures, a performance as intimidating as it was beautiful.

The response from dancer Miguel was scary. Again a virtuoso display of percussive foot-tapping, indeed the sheer physicality of the performance was spectacular: rhythmic, strutting, a performance emanating as much testosterone as sweat, on a Sunday, too. “

A review by Steve Crowther from the Yorkshire Times of one our recent concerts with Juan and the group. This small, intimate venue venue really responded on this hot and steamy May evening.

Being a converted church the stone floor was too hard for the dancers so two sheets of marine ply were skillfully taped to the stone floor.

A new DVD filmed in glorious HD is available now from Flamencovision



Entry filed under: Music Events, Reviews. Tags: , , , , , .


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