Flamenco is a whirling, twirling melting pot of a discipline.
From the Encyclopedia Britannica: “[Flamenco is a] form of song, dance, and instrumental (mostly guitar) music commonly associated with the Andalusian Roma (Gypsies) of southern Spain.
“The roots of flamenco, though somewhat mysterious, seem to lie in the Roma migration from Rajasthan (in northwest India) to Spain between the 9th and 14th centuries. These migrants brought with them musical instruments, such as tambourines, bells, and wooden castanets, and an extensive repertoire of songs and dances.”
Supposedly, in Spain they encountered the cultures of the Sephardic Jews and the Moors, thus beginning the mixing, mingling, sharing and shifting of tradition that would birth our modern idea of flamenco.
Perhaps nobody strutting their stuff today better embodies the centuries-long cultural intermingling that produced the modern form of the dance than Seattle’s Savannah Fuentes.
Born in Seattle to parents of Puerto Rican and Irish ancestry, she is reportedly one of the only touring artists in the Pacific Northwest region with strong links to flamenco culture.
She studies both baile (flamenco dance) and cante (flamenco singing) and has toured throughout Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah, Montana, Idaho and Arizona.
She has independently produced more than 250 performances and workshops featuring internationally recognized Spanish Flamenco artists such as Jose Anillo, Saray Munoz, Jesus Montoya, and Juanarito, and has studied with artists such as Guadiana, Joaquin Grilo, Eva Yerbabuena, El Farru and Isabel Bayon.
Fuentes will bring her talents, accompanied by acclaimed Spanish-Romani guitarist Pedro Cortes and singer/percussionist/dancer Jose Moreno, to Bainbridge’s Grange Hall (10340 Madison Ave. NE) in “Diamantes de Color,” a special one-night-only performance of their touring show at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 14.
Tickets — $7 for children, $15 for students, $22 general admission and $34 for reserved seats — are available now via www.brownpapertickets.com (Event #3591112).
Her costars boast histories as storied as Fuentes herself.
Cortes comes from a family of Spanish Gypsy guitarists and began his studies with his father and the esteemed flamenco guitarist Sabicas. Having toured professionally since the age of 17, he is gaining international recognition as a soloist and composer.
He has two books on flamenco, “El Dron del Faraon” and “Cruzando el Charco,” published by the American Institute of Guitar, and was commissioned by the Cohen Brothers to compose music for the film “Paris Je T’Aime” and also wrote music for a children’s program on HBO called “Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child.”
He has been guest artist with the St. Louis Opera and the New York Grand Opera, and has been commissioned by and performed as musical director with the Guthrie Theater.
Born into a family of famous flamenco artists Estrella Morena (dancer) and Pepe de Málaga (singer), Moreno began his flamenco career at an early age. His debut was at the famous Tablao Costa Vasca in Miami and he continued his studies with the Great Manolete, Farruquito, and Andres Marin and Cajon Percussion with Manuel Soler.
He has been invited to perform in various companies, and worked with distinguished artists such as The Great Manolete, Joaquin Ruiz, Pastora Galvan, Jose Cortes “Pansequito”, Jose Luis Rodriquez, Roberto Castellon, Pedro Cortes, Jose Valle “Chuscales”, Basilio Garcia, Paco Heredia, Elena Andujar, Jesus Montoya, Zorongo Flamenco Dance, La Tania, Miguel Vargas, Nelida Tirado, Antonio Hidalgo, Curro Cueto, Ruben de Maria, Gonzalo Grau, Edwin Aparicio, Amparo Heredia, Antonio Granjero and Omayra Amaya.
In 2001, Moreno choreographed and performed a collaborative work with his mother and renowned flamenco singer Carmen Linares with the New World Symphony Orquestra at Lincoln Theater in Miami.