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 Post subject: Paco Pena's 'Voces y Ecos'
PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2002 3:08 am 
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<img src="http://www.dailybruin.ucla.edu/db/issues/96/11.15/ae.pena/ae.pena.p.JPG" alt="" />

Paco Pena brings his new show 'Voces y Ecos' to London and the first reports are very positive. At the other end of the ego scale from Joachin Cortes, Pena can be relied upon to allow a series of fine artists to make their mark on his shows, despite the brilliance of his own guitar playing.

The coverage kicks off with an interview with Jenny Gilbert and then two enthusiastic reviews:

Where disdain meets seduction
What happens when a flamenco virgin directs a flamenco show? Jenny Gilbert finds out in The Independent.

You don't have to look far to find flamenco in southern Spain. On a bench in a shady square near my Seville hotel even the dossers are at it in their fashion, one of them crooning in a scratchy voice while another two provide an accompaniment of rhythmic clapping. I remember once hearing a Spanish musician in London explaining the scheme of counting involved in flamenco – a complex affair involving cycles of rhythms each repeated x number of times according to the form of the song. The idea that anyone could keep a grip on these logistics when not 100 per cent sober only confirms my suspicion that the essence of flamenco is something Spaniards imbibe with mother's milk – even if later they progress to something stronger.

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Paco Peña
by Allen Robertson for The Times


OVER the past decade any number of flamenco companies from Spain have played to packed London houses, yet until this year these shows tended towards the formulaic or the exploitative.
Now flamenco is daring to move on, open up, explore exciting new roads. A few months ago Eva Yerbabuena gave us a breathtaking demonstration of this. Now the guitar virtuoso Paco Peña, working with the theatre director Jude Kelly, has upped the game with Voces y Ecos, which is enjoying a month-long run at London’s Peacock Theatre.

It begins with a brief vignette of Peña in front of his glowing computer screen as a voiceover ponders on what flamenco is. Next, with the stage bathed in tawny bronzed light, we are rolled back to some archetypal flamenco scenes ranging from the sort of thing you can experience at 2am today in Madrid and Seville to a vignette complete with huge art-nouveau posters celebrating Córdoba, 1899.

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Inscrutable but infectious flamenco
Ismene Brown for The Daily Telegraph reviews "Voces y Ecos" at the Peacock Theatre


Flamenco is one of the most familiar and popular of attractions here, and yet it remains one of constant rediscovery. Partly because it has an inscrutable rhythmic complexity, partly because those wailing songs are never translated from the Andalusian for us, and so we can never share the terrible events and feelings that course through the singers' contorted faces and tonsils.

And partly because . . . well, what is flamenco's history? No one really knows, though most flamenco stars like to assure us that each of them is the authentic gipsy, and therefore has the inside line on it.

Paco Peña is one of Spain's great guitarists, actually based in London, and he is not one for star vehicles. He expresses his great love for his native land in shows that tend to link flamenco with communal happiness and culture, rather than the down-and-dirty campsite.

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<small>[ 10-16-2002, 05:09: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Paco Pena's 'Voces y Ecos'
PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2002 2:48 am 
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Review in The Independent.

Quote:
The dark soul of flamenco, on the other hand, is not just safe but vibrantly alive in the hands of the guitarist Paco Peña. Despite appearances – the man is small, quiet, and cuts an almost absurdly modest figure hunched over his instrument on stage – the Cordoba-born musician knows just where to locate the G-spot of his native art form. His latest stage offering, Voces y Ecos is his most focused and exciting exploration of its theatrical possibilities yet.

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And in The Guardian.

Quote:
Paco Pena's first touring group, founded in 1970, was called Flamenco Puro. But Pena is no purist, having collaborated with a wide range of artists, once even sharing the stage with Jimi Hendrix. Besides, flamenco has always been an impure art, an evolving mixture of cultures and styles.
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<small>[ 10-22-2002, 04:55: Message edited by: Joanne ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Paco Pena's 'Voces y Ecos'
PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2002 3:42 am 
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From Sanjoy Roy's review "...flamenco has always been an impure art, an evolving mixture of cultures and styles."

Three cheers for "impure art" say I.


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 Post subject: Re: Paco Pena's 'Voces y Ecos'
PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2002 8:02 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
“Voces y Ecos”, Saturday matinee, 26th October, 2002

If you like flamenco or even if you just enjoy dance of the highest quality, do go and see “Voces y Ecos” at London’s Peacock. Paco Pena has the knack and the contacts to put together fine shows, which show off the art of flamenco in an accessible and delicious way. He explores new ways of presenting the artists and this time he has combined with Jude Kelly as Producer. Fernando Romero is the choreographer, in collaboration with the artists.

One advantage of Pena’s shows is his own ego-free presence, smiling benignly often at the side of the stage and allowing the dancers, singers and the other musicians to shine. There is also the matter of his own brilliant guitar playing, which sets the highest standards for others to attain.

The format here is a series of snapshots in the history of Flamenco, including references from the Internet and recorded fragments of Pena talking about the art form. The second half takes place in a modern day studio and the minimalist production values for this final segment provided the best showcase for the performers’ talents. Just before the interval we saw Angel Munoz, one of my favourite dancers in any style, fighting against over-elaborate lighting that seemed to be saying to the audience, “we know this isn’t very interesting, so we’ll try and liven it up a bit.” At one moment, when Munoz was burning up the stage, you couldn’t see the bottom half of his legs or his feet and I threw up my hands in disbelief.

One of the joys is the variety of the styles of the five dancers on show. While the ensemble sections are well-crafted and performed, it is their solos that are the high point of the show. Alicia Márquez combines the neatest footwork with a flirtatious air in her solo, while Charo Espino brings a smouldering and melancholy longing to her dances. Of the women, Isabel Bayón made the biggest impression with her centred and focused performance, her rapid, swirling hands and her willingness to push the boundaries of the dance style in her solo.

Fernando Romero has an extended solo just before the finale. He displays some of the fastest and most controlled footwork you are ever likely to see. However, it is his upper body that marks him apart from his peers. His aesthetic gives me a sense of tap and modern dance as his body sways from side to side and in the way he uses the space. His arms are perhaps the least interesting aspect of his performance and for this fan, that’s a disadvantage. I suspect that I will always admire his dancing without being uplifted by it.

Angel Munoz remains my favourite with his fine classical line and his ability to spin and perform pyrotechnic footwork while maintaining perfect balance. His elegant arms and upper body complete a perfect platform for this difficult and demanding dance form.

It’s right and proper that dance styles should explore the different possibilities that other forms and modern music offer and Pena’s new show illustrates that this can be achieved without selling out to gross commercialism.

<small>[ 11-05-2002, 03:17: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Paco Pena's 'Voces y Ecos'
PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2002 7:06 am 
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Flamenco flourishes
Andalucia's ancient art form is entering a golden age but still retains all the passion exemplified by its gypsy creators
By Ellie Carr for The Sunday Herald


'I wouldn't ever want flamenco to become a brainy exercise,' says Paco Pe–a, world-famous guitarist, composer, dramatist, producer, regular at Ronnie Scott's and one-time jammer with Jimi Hendrix.
With his Paco Pe–a Flamenco Dance Company, now in its 30th year, commanding audiences all over the world, and a solo career that sees him play packed houses from London's Royal Albert Hall to New York's Carnegie Hall, this small, unassuming virtuoso guitarist is a polymath and no mistake. But for all his technical mastery and encyclopaedic knowledge, he is first to say that flamenco's spirit resides not in the mind but in the heart, the heaving bosom and, of course, the performer's loins.

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 Post subject: Re: Paco Pena's 'Voces y Ecos'
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2002 2:59 am 
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Stamp of the Spanish
By Jan Fairley for The Scotsman

At a time when flamenco has moved into the mainstream in Spain, with artists like Jose Mercé selling more of his disc Aire than any other flamenco record to date and Joaquin Cortés’s flashy brilliance continuing to stun audiences worldwide, Paco Peña has devised a new show, Voces y Ecos, which develops a simple but ambitious idea.

Rather than tell a flamenco story as in previous productions such as Arte y Pasión (Art and Passion) and Musa Gitana (Gypsy Muse), or indeed with his groundbreaking Misa Flamenco (Flamenco Mass) - this time the guitarist and composer takes the history of flamenco itself as his subject .

"Flamenco is undergoing change, with very ambitious developments in guitar and dance," he says, "But moving forward is not simply a matter of just grabbing elements from other music or dance cultures. Modernity revolves around nurturing the relationship between past, present and future."

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 Post subject: Re: Paco Pena's 'Voces y Ecos'
PostPosted: Sun Dec 01, 2002 6:22 am 
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Latin spirit in every turn
Voces Y Ecos (Voices And Echoes) - Reviewed by Ellie Carr for The Sunday Herald


A group of dancers and musicians -- men in waistcoats, and women in faded skirts -- flirt, chat, sing and dance round a domestic hearthside. The setting is Spain in the late 18th century and -- as Paco Pe–a Flamenco Dance Company's impressive new show Voces Y Ecos demonstrates -- it is here, in the homes of down-trodden gitanos (gypsies) and ordinary Andalusians that the extraordinary art of flamenco began .
Deviating from the stripped-back, song-and-dance format that exemplifies modern flamenco, Pe–a (showing modest glimpses of his blistering guitar talent throughout ), leads us through five key stages in the form's evolution, using period costume, archive recording and authentic choreography to create a series of pointed 'moods'.

And so, with director Jude Kelly's mostly excellent staging (the latter stages are not as crisply defined as the first), we get as close as possible to a time before the polka-dot and castanets image of flamenco dominated the world, a time where the searing el cante (song) that drives the form was a personal cry of defiance.

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