LSM Newswire

Monday, September 21, 2009

PACO PEÑA presents A Compás

Saturday, October 17, 2009 at 8 pm / Massey Hall / Toronto
Tickets: $59.50 - $39.50 - Call 416-872-4255 or online at www.roythomson.com
or visit the Roy Thomson Hall Box Office

Toronto, ON - Spain’s master guitarist Paco Peña and his spectacular troupe of three dancers, one singer, three guitarists, and a percussionist, present their show, A Compás (Primal Pulse), a spellbinding exploration of the vitality and intricacy of flamenco rhythms. A Compás is a wanderlust tour through Arabic, Gypsy, and Spanish folk traditions, tracking the roots of flamenco dance and music as they are passed from generation to generation. The audience will witness the compelling nature and range of rhythms, from the almost tribal, trance-inducing quality of the alboreá’ to the razor-sharp complexity of the bulería. At the same time, the show aims to isolate each artist at some moment, to “throw” them into the naked reality of a given rhythmic structure (or compás) and, in their own personal way, immersing themselves deeply into the feeling of the rhythm contributing their own creative input. The artists project an unstoppable pulse that every one can feel and identify with. Or, put in different words, they must try and get everybody “into the rhythm,” induce the feeling of “a compás” into the whole experience. The show’s format allows for unexpected and electrifying improvisation, and brings to the stage a true interpretation of what flamenco represents: a spontaneous collaboration between dancers, singers and musicians.

Over the years, Paco Peña’s shows have dealt with various challenging concepts, from the deceivingly simple notion of highlighting the essential significance of the flamenco song, unrecognized for many years, as was the case with his Flamenco Puro show, to the ground-braking drama Musa Gitana which told the story of the legendary, turn-of-the 20th Century artist from Córdoba, Julio Romero de Torres, with his complex observation of life and society and his personal, traumatic passions. More recently, Paco Peña enjoyed the collaboration of the renowned theatre director Jude Kelly in what proved to be the spectacular show Voces y Ecos, which took the audience on a kind of journey through the history of flamenco and the most significant moments in its development.

In 1981 he founded the Centro Flamenco Paco Peña in Córdoba, later becoming Artistic Director of the Córdoba International Guitar Festival. Another landmark was Misa Flamenca, a 1991 setting of the Mass that juxtaposed Peña’s company with a classical choir. Its premiere at London’s Royal Festival Hall, given with the Choir of the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, was followed by a staging at the 1992 EXPO in Seville. Misa Flamenca was also presented in Australia, New Zealand, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, and throughout North America, including Toronto’s Massey Hall in 1998. One of Paco Peña’s latest works, Flamenco Requiem, which again combines flamenco with forms of classical music, came about as a result of performing Misa Flamenca over the years at various music festivals.

Paco Peña is based in London, but still spends a significant part of the year in his native Andalucía. In 1997 he was named Oficial de la Cruz de la Orden del Merito Civil, an honour bestowed by King Juan Carlos of Spain.

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