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Jerash audience treated to Spanish flamenco with ‘modern touch’

By Jean-Claude Elias - Jun 22,2014 - Last updated at Jun 22,2014

AMMAN — It was first class, genuine flamenco Saturday night at Jerash’s North Theatre. Spanish guitarist extraordinaire Carlos Piñana and his group performed brilliantly, mixing guitar, song and of course flamenco dances.

The eight-member group from Murcia displayed virtuosity, flair and good taste. Maestro Piñana himself dazzles with his unmistakable guitar technique. He is currently one of the very best guitarists in Spain and in the world. It was the second time Piñana has performed in Jordan, having been here 15 years ago.

He was accompanied by his brothers: Curro on second guitar, and Pepe on vocals. 

Miguel Orengo dazzled with his lightning fast percussion act, while violinist Armando Garcia came from Cuba to play with the group. 

Last but not least, the mesmerising flamenco dances were executed by Cristobal Munoz, Stephanie Brau and Lerna Gimenez — all true masters of the genre.

From the rousing, devilish rhythms to slower numbers, the flawless show presented the very best of Spanish flamenco, with a nice modern touch added, whether it was in the harmonic structures of the music or in the dances. 

Indeed the artists demonstrated a high level of creativity with a kind of body language that looked very much new, rarely seen in the realm of flamenco. 

Among other contemporary traits, Garcia produced daring improvisation on the violin with phrases not often heard in flamenco. Overall the group struck a fine balance between the traditional and the contemporary, with taste and with restraint.

The singing of Pepe Piñana was delivered from the heart and the soul, directly, and it touched even those who could not understand the language.

The beauty of the sound of Carlos Piñana’s guitar was nicely channelled and even enhanced by the quality of the sound system. 

Sound amplification does not always do justice to the subtlety of the Spanish guitar and to its fine tones. However, the sound system was on a par with the quality of the artists’ performance in Jerash on Saturday.

The lovely summer weather helped make a truly enchanting evening at the open air amphitheatre, and even the usual cell phone calls in the middle of the concert — a curse for which no one seems to have found a cure — didn’t really affect the good time that the audience was obviously having. 

It is just too bad that the turnout was so low — about a fifth of the theatre seating capacity. Piñana and his ensemble deserved a full house.

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