Dancing to flamenco guitar and pan
News day / IF SOUND could teleport one to another space and time, then patrons of the seventh annual Spanish Embassy Christmas Concert were transported to spaces in Barcelona, Granada or Cordoba and right here, in TT.

Composer, flautist and saxophonist, Jorge Pardo accompanied by acoustic bassist, Brad Barrett; percussionist/ dancer/choreographer, Jose Moreno; guitarist, composer and improviser, Juanito Pascual and dancer, Sonia Fernandez brought "Huellas" to Queen's Hall, St Ann's on November 22. "Huellas" is Pardo's 2002 double record that has earned him Best European Jazz Musician awarded by the French Academy. It blends jazz and and flamenco music. The evening's 70-minute event began promptly at 6.30 pm with host Jessie-May Ventour greeting the audience and calling on Spanish Ambassador, Jose Maria Fernandez Lopez de Turiso, to address the audience. He said to the well-attended event that the annual event filled the embassy with pride and enthusiasm.

Turiso described Pardo as one of Europe's best jazz musicians.

A video presentation was then done by members of two groups being funded this year: The Mt Hope Renal Youth Group and The Kidney Recipient Support Group of Trinidad and Tobago. With flute in hand at 6.45 pm and dressed in a black suit with multi-coloured sneakers, Pardo opened his performance with an improvisation of the buleria. The notes floating off into the audience, railing from one to the other. Pardo was then joined on stage by percussionist Moreno. The drums and the haunting melodies of the flute frenetically mixing into the distinctly flamenco sound.

Moreno and Pardo were then joined by Pascual, described as the one of the top flamenco guitarist in recent years.

Pascual strummed the guitar, the tones creating mental images of gypsy women standing in a circle clapping hands and dancing to the music. As Pardo and his band of performers moved into the Alegria, they were joined on stage by bassist, Barrett.

During the song, Pardo was seen clapping along with the music, a distinctive style of flamenco. Barrett was seen moving his fingers vigorously along the top of the bass guitar, head bowed, as if in deep reverence to the music.

As the group played the Solea, Pardo shifted his instrument to the saxophone, bringing the "deep and soulful sound" of the Solea alive. There was a constant interplay between Pardo and the other players, each musical energy feeding off of the other. Each instrument and player being given its spot in the flamenco ring. During the tango flamencos, the lights were turned off and a soft light placed only on the players. The black sheets hanging blew gently, giving the appearance of leaves blowing in a gentle ocean breeze. Dancer Sonia Fernandez came onto the stage in her turquoise dress interspersed with light shades of pink. Lifted knee-high and with tipped toes, she danced, challenging the players as if goading a bull in a musical ring.

But the evening's highlight came when pannist Mikhail Salcedo surprisingly joined Prado and the other performers on stage. With each note that Pardo played, Salcedo matched on the national instrument, much to the audience's delight. Moreno then sang with Fernandez's movements giving life to the words. The evening came to a close at 8:30 pm with Moreno joining and dancing for the audience.

Dancing to flamenco guitar and pan

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