Saturday, April 23, 2011




THEY have done it again this year: The Spanish Embassy will be bringing in some gypsy flavour to the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA), the Macande Flamenco, an internationally acclaimed five-member song and dance company.

Only last year, they brought an epic classical act, Carmina Burana, which left the audience spell-bound by the voices and stage performances, and the versatile Los Aslandticos, which was also well received by the Zimbabwean audience.

For the record, Carmina Burana opened the HIFA 2010, dubbed “About Face”. Though the performance had a Zimbabwean chorus with two pianists, soprano, tenor, baritone soloists and Western and African percussion, the show was directed by La Fura dels Baus from Spain.

But the Spanish Embassy has gone an extra mile this time around: To top the icing on the cake, part of the HIFA programming will be broadcast live on Spain’s Radio 1 and 3, which are part of the publicly-owned Spanish Radio and Television Corporation.

A popular radio presenter on Radio 3, Pablo Batista, will set up camp here where he will broadcast live some of the events to Spanish listeners.

However, in gypsy language, Macande Flamenco literally means flamenco loco. Flamenco is a style of dancing characteristic of the Andalusian Gypsies in Spain which is vigorous and rhythmic with clapping and stamping of feet; and loco literally means crazy — the combination of these characteristics is surely a house in total disorder. In other words, prepare to dance and make merry all the way.

Macande Flamenco will do their act at the 7 Arts Theatre in Avondale on April 28.

According to Marina Garcia, the Spanish Embassy cultural attaché, flamenco music emerged from the marginalised working-class neighbourhoods of the Andalusian community from Spain.

“The ability of the music to grasp the most profound human emotions of seguidilla (drama), soleá (love) and bulería (joy), which comprise the complexity of human sentiment, is the reason why flamenco music and literature have been declared a World Heritage by UNESCO,” said Marina.

She said the company consists of two famous flamenco dancers — Oscar de los Reyes and Carmen Gonzalez — guitarist, Luis “el Salao” (meaning salty and is slang for charming/ amusing), percussionist, Juan Heredia, and singer, Bernardo Vazquez.

Radio 3 is the official broadcaster of nearly all the important music festivals in Spain, she added, saying the live broadcasts will be held during the week-long premier arts festival in the country.

Marina said Batista would go live on Hoy Empieza Todo, a morning magazine on Radio 3, En la Nube, a night cultural programme on Radio 3 and Música 3, a musical slot also on Radio 3. He will also feature on three other programmes on Radio 1, among others.

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