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For info on Jesus Munoz and his Casa Flamenca website in Albuquerque...










The info HERE


Valdemar Phoenix is a flamenco guitarist and teacher in the Houston area. The above performance is one in a series
ongoing flamenco house concerts at Casa de Lucia. For more info on Casa de Lucia house concerts, please call Lucia
at 832.721.0357 or email flamenco@flamencoinc.org

Check out La Tempestad's latest news!

All the Details HERE!


By Special Correspondent to Flamenco Buzz: Irma "La Paloma"

SAN ANTONIO, TX: Producer and dancer Tamara Saj saw her vision come to life in “Generaciones” this past June 26th and 27th, at the Jo Long Carver Theater in San Antonio, Texas. Inspired by her poem “Mi Madre, Mis Manos” and her desire to contribute to the flamenco community Saj tended to all details of a production which united art and ages. Generaciones featured artists from youth to maturity in flamenco dance and music of varied rhythms, styles and artistry. At the helm were Timo Lozano and Teo Morca who left no doubt that they are indeed masters. It is evident that these grand gentlemen of flamenco enjoy their art and expertise and thereby set us free to enjoy right along with them.

Left to Right...Timo Lozano, Teo Morca

Lozano was engaging with elegant poise and flawless rhythm por alegrías. He was joined by Francisco Orozco “Yiyi” in “Ritmos,” a dexterous cajón piece where Don Timo played and danced simultaneously, culminating in a solo de pies in full display of his mastery. Morca’s rendition of “La Boda de Luis Alonzo” flowed with artistry and joy. He smiled as he played mesmerizing castanets with ease and moved with finesse in full dance motion. The echo of temple set the mood for “Memorias,” when in confident and skillful fashion, Don Teo danced por siguiriyas.

Left to right...Solangel “Lali” Calix , Francisco Orozco “Yiyi, ”José Perello, Tamara Saj

Solangel “Lali” Calix glowed with splendor in “Aire,” fandangos de Huelva. Calix is a graceful and experienced dancer and castanet player. In the whimsical cantiñas, “Las Dos Hermanas,” Calix played the elder sister who reprimands Saj for her mischievous antics. While keeping in theme, their complicity was relevant of their dance careers as Calix was one of Saj’s teachers.

The musical support was provided by Francisco Orozco “Yiyi,” cante and percussion, and José Perello, guitar. Once again echoing the production’s theme, these talented and experienced artists of different ages graciously complimented each other as well as the dancers they accompanied. Perello’s “Tanguillos” and Yiyi’s “Toma que Toma” were featured in the second act.

Dancing her adaptation of an original choreography by Teo Morca, Tamara Saj displayed her artistry with intensity and individuality in Isaac Albéniz’s “Asturias-Leyenda.” In the second act, Saj’s soleares were emotive in delivery and composition. Whether in production, dance or entrepneurship, there is more to come from Saj as it is her desire to continue to be an active contributor to the arts community in San Antonio.

Left ~ Student recital group Right ~ Fin de la Fiesta

Clad in colorful and tailored costuming the young dancers of Fandango, under the direction of Sonya Jimenez, performed two group dances, “Duende,”choreographed by Timo Lozano and “Concierto de Aranjuez,” choreographed by Carmen Linares “Chiqui.” In “Duende,”Sonya, an experienced and skilled dancer, closed with beautiful mantón technique.

As the featured artists and company gathered for the final montaje por bulerías, Generaciones left us with joy and hope, reiterating that through study, dedication and collaboration, flamenco will continue to make its presence as a discipline of art and world genre for future generations.

All Photos: ©2010 Lorie García ~ www.studio4d4.com

Want to know what the show was all about???

Lali reviews Paco Peña Flamenco Dance Company presents…“A Compás (In the Rhythm)”


Story & Photos by Tommy Barrios

On June 25th, Gabriella “La Tempestad” took to the stage at Café Byblos in Houston, Texas for the first time since a terrible car crash when another driver ran a red light and nearly ended her life. She went through surgery to repair her injuries and some very intense therapy to aid in the recovery from them. For six months, she did not dance in public, but tonight that all changed.

From what I’ve seen of her, dance is her life. I first saw her dance in October of last year and she was stunning! I drove from New Orleans to Houston for a flamenco fix and drove back the same night. I was literally left breathless; sitting on the edge of my chair, watching her dance one song in her second set that night. Moments like that are rare. She carries an elegance on stage and is very expressive in her face and movements, but there usually is a smile on her lips. She is very powerful in her footwork. I learned how she earned the name Tempestad that night on that small stage. She gave one of the rarest things I’ve heard and have had the privilege to experience, and that is what is called duende. I am forever grateful to her for that.

One of the factors that make flamenco is the powerful emotions that are felt by those performing and those watching and that is what cultivates the atmosphere to give birth to duende. It is almost like being held in a trance only caught in the moment of the feelings being experienced, a moment of ecstasy. It is very addictive, much like a drug is to a junkie.

She is not only lovely to look upon, but is very personable talking to her many fans after the show. How rare it is that someone can posses that much talent and beauty, and still be so gracious to everyone.

I returned again in November to watch this amazing dancer. There was no flamenco happening in New Orleans at the time, so Houston was the closest place to see any. I was not disappointed. I took some photos and was able to capture some lovely pictures of her. One in particular that strikes me I call “Duende”. The way she moved and the settings on my camera made her look as though a ghost was on stage, like her spirit was dancing. That is what I see when I watch her dance, her spirit coming through and her body is the vessel which contains it.

I had taken a copy of the photo to show and give to my flamenco friends on December 17th anticipating seeing her dance again. I was told that she was in a car crash the previous week. I could feel the blood run from my face, my heart dropped, and I was breathless again. My thoughts were what a terrible loss! Then I was told that she was in bad shape, but expected to recover. I will not tell of the emotions and thoughts running through my head of all that can be wrong. I work in the medical field, and I know what happens to people in crashes such as she experienced. Smashed femurs, a destroyed pelvis, and serious spinal and muscular damage are usually the result. In an email she told me she “would make a full recover and be dancing in no time.” I replied, “That’s good to hear, but you’re always in time.”

I know the difficulty of not being able to do something you love for an extended period of time. Resentment and anger can build, and all kinds of thoughts can run through your mind. It can be torture to have something stripped from you because of someone else’s mistake. Especially when it was completely preventable.

I determined that I would drive the 700 mile round trip from New Orleans to Houston to witness the first time she danced again. Then I received the announcement that for her birthday she would take the stage for the first time since that fateful day. I couldn’t wait to see this. Questions of whether she would be able to perform as good as before entered my mind, but only for a moment.

I arrived early to see the show at Café Byblos. It was a nice place with great food. I was disappointed with where my table was located, but I would deal with it. There was some tension in the air as the group took the stage minus Gabriella. A wonderful Sevillanas performed by some very pretty women and good dancers. Lucia’s cante was so nice. Note to self: I need to learn more Spanish to appreciate the song more. Val’s guitar sounded great as well.

After that, Val started to play Soleares. I’d seen a video of Gabriella perform it before with Carlos Sanchez playing guitar and it was very moving to see, even on youtube. This would be the first time I would see it live. She entered the stage wearing a beautiful black bata de cola and this is the first time I had seen anyone wearing a bata. Her raven hair, which extends to her waist, was adorned with a red flower and comb. Her skin was as porcelain. Her lips were ruby red and her eyes are a blue that challenges the waters of the Costa de Almeria and the depths of the oceans. Her trademark red ribbon adorned her neck. Elegance and beauty took the stage.

I saw what appeared to be a bit of trepidation on her face. She started to dance then the look went away and the seriousness of the Soleares took over. At one point, she tried to hold back a smile, but couldn’t. Her smile used to light up a room, but tonight, it lit Houston if not all of Texas. She is back!

The dance slowly built in tension and tempo. She tossed the bata with ease and she twisted and swirled with the strength of a hurricane. I was mesmerized. I had moved to take some photos of her and was squatting by the stage. I could feel and hear the stage as though it were claps of thunder. Lightning had struck. She is stronger and better than ever before. She was celebrating her birthday with the gift of dance and the love she has for it. May it never be taken from her again.

This was a night I will never forget. Gabriella danced more and for me, time did not exist. Flamenco is such an emotional art and to see her thrive after such tragedy only elevated the experience of those feelings.

After the show, she went around the restaurant talking with friends and fans. I waited patiently for my turn. There was so much I wanted to say. I congratulated her, wished her a happy birthday, and said many other things. I could have talked with her all night, but I didn’t want to deprive others of meeting this jewel of flamenco.

Usually on someone’s birthday, they receive gifts, and I think she did. However, unlike most celebrations, Gabriella gave one of the greatest gifts. She gave others the gift that she had received with all the passion she has for dance. If someone were there and not moved, they needed to be checked for signs of life.

I drove home that night and for the entire time, my mind was flooded with thoughts and joys to witness such a wonder. I’ve done many things in my life for the thrill of an adrenaline rush. I’ve raced cars, motorcycles, and jumped out of a couple of airplanes. None of those compare to the thrill of what I experienced or felt that night. I can only guess the pride and joy felt by her mother, Maria.

Thank you Gabriella. I hope you’ve had the happiest of birthdays and that you have many more. May flamenco live in your heart forever!

From previous years' festivals:


Interview with Samara Amador at FFNM

Readers, the beginning of this interview was hilarious and delicious. I was furiously translating for Mari who was relating to Samara (whose face alone would launch 1,000 Bollywood mega-hits) a wild juerga she held at her house in Boston for her mother, Manuela Carrasco and her musicians. Samara was laughing hysterically. A priceless moment in time!!!...and when we all caught our breaths, the interview continued……….

FB: Samara, how did you enter into this life, into this “vida flamenca”?

SA: Goodness, since I was born. Wait – in the womb, I was already into flamenco. My mother was dancing with me in her belly until she was seven months pregnant. When I was one years old, I was already dancing. Before I crawled, I danced.

FB: Do you think your family will continue on in flamenco forever? We want them to continue forever!


FB: With the future of flamenco, is it going to grow stronger now? Because of the internet going international, people going everywhere…….?

SA: Yes, because of the internet, but also because of the shows, and everything else. Notice that these young people are really in vogue now. One thing I will say is that we’re taking it too far in the sense of trying to innovate into everything, and you can’t let the young people forget about the past.

FB: Outside of Spain and Europe, what other countries are watching and studying flamenco?

SA: Well! Most every country in the world! There is Japan, Africa……it’s huge over there (Japan). Listen – go anywhere in the world, and in that part of the world, flamenco is enjoyed there. There are many singers, dancers, musicians; you name it, they are there [in the diverse parts of the world].

FB: Is the amount of work that you have limited to how much you actually want to do?

SA: Yes, the amount of work is determined by myself. They can ask for me yes, but…

Just then “ La Capitana” shouts out for her daughter to come to eat, and we all froze – you should have seen our faces, we all turned into good little girls, not wanting to make Mama mad...

FB: Do you have any children? How old?

SA: Yes, I have a little girl. She’s 7 years old, and she dances well, VERY WELL.

FB: When will she start to dance with the family?

SA: Not yet, within a few years, she’s still too young. On top of everything else, she’s just like my mother. She refuses any choreography shown to her. She wants to do her own dance, and instructs herself.

FB: Which is to say what?

SA: My mother never took classes from anybody. Never! Ever!! (Mari and La Gata high- fived each other).

FB: It’s from the family!! What have I been saying all these years?

SA: But wait – it’s very important to learn technique. After that, you have to put your part and your heart. Technique nowadays is very necessary. My goodness, and what they are doing footwork-wise these days!!

FB: We want to say to you, that you are the real thing. I hear a lot of singers, but you have that quality in your voice, that “metal” as they say. How do you get that voice? It’s the difference between espresso and American coffee…..

SA: (Laughs). I was born with this heavy timbre in my voice, this metal. What is true is that I have a teacher in cante, which my father’s sister, La Susi. She has had a long career in flamenco, an enduring one.

FB: Do you have a CD of yourself available?

SA: Me? No, no.

FB: Why not?

SA: Not yet.

FB: Is it that you’re traveling too much?

SA: The thing about the recording business is that it’s difficult. The piracy and such, as well as that most of the recording companies are bankrupt.

FB: You mean in Spain?

SA: In Spain and internationally.

FB: I think that if you would record here in the U.S., you would do well

SA: She nods.

Just then La Capitana appears, second call for Samara to come for supper. With that she makes a hasty exit.

Interview with Rafael Campallo, Mari Katsigianis posing questions and Damaris Solis translating

FB: Welcome to the Festival, your work is great!

RC: Thank you!!

FB: Can you tell us how you developed your particular show??

RC: The concept behind this show was well thought-out musically and is the result of the close relationship between myself and my siblings. Because of that close union we respect each other’s artistic talents and that’s perfect for me. We have been able to achieve a harmony and tried to convey a measure of sweetness to flamenco, with charisma, along with the personality that I think myself and my sister and other siblings try to find in flamenco in general. This show has been developed around the way we relate to each other.

FB: Why do you feel the need to impart “sweetness” to flamenco?

RC: It’s a form of expression, the way the cante is introduced, the music, the beginning of the phrasing. There are different ways to introduce the “entrada” [the signal at the beginning of a number]. Instead of the starting out being musically dense (rancio) or raucuous in volume, we sought to go beyond that, to the ethereal. It was better to start off slow and deliberate, and delicately build from there.

FB: How do you think the artists here regard the FFNM compared to the other festivals in the United States?

Well, I can’t speak for my colleagues at the festival, but I can tell you what my opinion is. I know that it has been 20 years since the festival is in existence, which says a lot about them, and take notice that it is very well organized. That they make sure the artist is well taken care of, every detail attended to.

FB: From what we see here, I know because I have been to both places, I will see what they do here and then I will see some of it in Jerez; do they bring us the same things here that they show over there?

RC: Well if Mari was in Jerez, she would have seen me in a different production in that there are four dancers and the concept is straight flamenco. Each one does their particular dance, and thereafter we do a fin de fiesta. In the beginning there is a short choreography by Manolo Marin and it’s not the same thing that we would do over here. Over there what you will see is a show. Here we are able to perform in a production developed between Adela and myself. The way in which we dance/perform is always the same; we each have our individual styles. My philosophy is that in whatever festival I participate in I will dance the same here, as in Japan, as in Sevilla. I will give the same quality of performance

FB: Do you travel with one outfit in your carry-on at all times?

RC: Normally, I’ll try to carry a working outfit all the time, with shoes and such just in case. I may not have what to wear in the street, but I’ll have an outfit to dance in.

FB: Because Albuquerque is an established flamenco city, it has more support for the flamencos. Do you see other cities becoming like Albuquerque in how they support flamenco?

RC: Every time that I have come to the U.S. it has been with Cristina Heeren, she’s a woman of great influence here, and I have never had any problems in any of the festivals I’ve participated in. I’ve noted as an artist, I am very well received here. Over the years I recall that I was in San Francisco working with a well-known dancer there (whose names escapes me) and we were organizing many productions/festivals in that city and again, I was well treated and received. What an artist needs to see here about coming to the U.S. to work is not which festival is better than the other but the way in which the artists are treated. I mean, you go with your group to work, and you need to know that there have been some preparations made for you.

FB: We love how innovative and beautiful the productions are starting to be. If you had a dream budget, that you could do anything you wanted on stage, what would you do?

RC: My dream project is to dance every day for the rest of my life. Projects come and go, and ideas come in all the time. There is one idea that I would like to see developed -- where flamenco is mixed with other types of music. Yes, I am aware that flamenco has been done with just about every type of music. Actually, I don’t like to talk about the future, that’s something of a delicate topic for me; you never know what is going to happen to you. I like to live in the moment, and also in the moment that I am dancing.

FB: You have your particular style, the distinctive Campallo style. What kind of music do you see yourself fusing with?

RC: Actually, Hip-Hop, yes, it lends itself to it. It is a form of expression like flamenco. It is a life-style, just like flamenco. In Sevilla there are great rappers, you know, also jazz musicians. In flamenco, it’s about what you are feeling, your life-style. If you’re sad, you will show it by how your body expresses emotions, including when you are happy. In Andalucia we live this life, you see?

NOTE FROM DAMARIS: Mari spent a little time telling Rafael how important the internet is to flamenco. He is not into using computers or the net, yet we told him it is because of the internet that people knew he was coming. All in all, we were enthralled by the humility and beauty of Rafael Campallo.


FB: First of all, we’re very happy to be here, with friends, and now with a new friend (gestures to Karime) this festival is very well organized, and rich in scope……

KA: I believe that as well……

FB: I would like to know, what is your impression of the American audience?

KA: Well, American audiences are quite astute; they’re able to pick up on the emotions an artist transmits at the moment, it’s very gratifying for an artist to perform in front of such a public. This is the fifth year that I have been coming to the festival at Albuquerque, and have been working for this festival since I was 15 years old, I’m 20 now. I am thrilled; it’s a pleasure coming here every year and I want to continue doing that as long as they’ll have me, God willing.

FB: Have you worked in other cities?

KA: Once in New York, a few years ago. I would love another opportunity to work there; it’s one of the cities that I have dreamed of getting to know.

FB: Are you teaching classes here?

KA: Yes, we’re putting together a tientos.

FB: Do you find the American students very enthusiastic and willing to learn as much as they can?

KA: Yes, absolutely. Although… (she pauses) they tend to get frustrated at times, and want the teacher to simplify everything. This is what I observe: that they have the drive, they exhibit the passion and that the love for flamenco is there, which is the most important thing.

FB: Can you explain what it is that you have to simplify?

KA: For example, as you’re teaching the class, and you show them the steps, the students will stop you [to clarify the step], and well, I would tell the students that it is good for them to be challenged. That’s the way I learned -- from teachers who would show steps at a faster pace and higher level than where I was at the moment. I believe the only way to learn is if you’re challenged and stretched as a dancer. It’s up to you as the student, to take responsibility for your education and to try and force yourself to keep up with the teacher, I know it’s difficult. If you have enough determination, you can accomplish anything.

FB: Who has been the most influential person(s) in your flamenco career, and in your love for flamenco?

KA: There have been many, and they have been from my family. Let’s see, there is my mother and my grandmother, I remember watching them dance around the house, as well as the dance school that my grandmother ran with my great aunt, Antonia Amaya and Leonor Amaya. They are in direct blood relation to Carmen Amaya, they are her sisters. Also, Carmen “La Chuni”, that’s my mother’s sister, my aunt. This is to say that flamenco is mother’s milk to me, as I have experienced it first hand from them, my family.

FB: Can you give us your viewpoint then, as to how an individual, be it a dancer/singer/guitarist, who is a non-Spaniard and who wants to make it as a professional in flamenco but did not have that exposure in a family setting, can it happen?

KA: It is neither impossible nor difficult, it’s quite possible. The proof is in the company of flamencos here at the festival, in the Americans like Eva Encinias and Joaquin Encinias. He (Joaquin) is a true representation of the American flamenco as well as his dance company. That’s why I know it is possible. If you love flamenco, you can then get closer to the roots of flamenco and that is to say the feeling of it. It doesn’t matter if you’re a foreigner, a non-Spaniard, and that we’re not in Sevilla. I repeat: if you want something and are willing to fight for it, you can do anything.

FB: Would you like to add anything else, Karime? Where else would you like to work in the U.S.?

KA: Well, I would jump at the chance to work in New York, and then I’ve heard there’s a great community in San Francisco.

FB: We would like to know about your involvement with Noche Flamenca, would you be going over there?

KA: I don’t know, although I would love to. I met them a few months ago in Madrid, and I have heard a lot about them. They called my husband, who is a guitarist to work with them….

FB: What are you doing after the Festival?

KA: I will be re-united in Madrid with my mother, who’s flying back from working in Japan. Then with rest of the family, we will be participating in a very important flamenco festival in Montmarsan, France. After that, there’s always work with my mother’s company.