Flamenco Fusion


When roots become entangled by too much twisting and turning the resultant flower can sometimes seem frail and pallid. On the other hand, some of my favourite types of music is created by such fusion. I wondered, therefore, what might be the result of the fusion being promoted here tonight. To keep the agricultural motif going, I can say that this roots music was absolutely blooming marvellous.

Antonio de la Rosa has put together a quite superb ensemble.

Como del Agua is a musical and flamenco dance performance that goes from flamenco fusion to a more traditional flamenco style, paying tribute to Paco de Lucía, whose music inspired Antonio de la Rosa ever since his beginnings as a guitar player, as well as Camarón de la Isla, author of the song the performance is named after. Different styles merge into one.

Some of the guest artists attending tonight are singer Carlos Loma, Ayoze Rodrígez (clarinet), sax player and dancer, Anna Villacampa. There was a female vocalist, too, who was quite extraordinary and a male dancer who danced electric in his pursuit of the lady and his love of the flamenco.

This was being delivered free, paid for by the local authority as part of its cultural awareness mission, to an audience of 100 or so who packed in to the beautiful, but small, theatre within the Casa de la Culture in Yaiza on Friday 1st March.

It was one of those cold and stormy nights with raging winds that we suffer on Lanzarote once or twice a year. The twelve kilometre drive to the theatre from our home in Playa Blanca was slow and hazardous, like crossing the Atlantic in a small paddle boat.

The ride was worth the fare, and on the drive home as we discussed excitedly what we had seen and heard we were so enraptured that we didn’t notice whether or not the storm had abated.

Two dancers and six musicians seated behind them turned this beautiful and cosy little theatre into a street corner bar in Spain and took us back in time by a few decades to when flamenco was played and danced not always in reputable bars. In those days flamenco was about social comment, protest and was a long way from the sweetened until it tastes like tea flamenco that is poured for the tourists.

What we had here was an incredible sound, that was not too distant from the music that would reverberate from Ry Cooder and his Buena Vista Social Club mates in the late nineteen nineties.

What we had had here was the precise ramshackle of The Band playing The Last Waltz For Bob Dylan.

What we had here was a Spanish African fusion delivered by an ace keyboard player, a player of a violin like instrument who created sounds that seemed to emanate from his own little world, a lady vocalist blending her yearning effortlessly into the instrumental sound that also included a driving yet empathetic beat box player and an understated saxophone that beautifully filled space between notes. All this was led by the incredible Antonio, who changed in and out of beautiful finger picking and frenetic strumming of his guitar when the beat was called for.

Stepping out in front of them from time to time were two dancers. They gave the impression of a couple who had caught each other’s eye across a street-bar floor. A weird courtship was carried out during which the male strutted his stuff and spread his tail-feathers, peacock fashion as it were. The lady dancer seemed, to us, and perhaps to him, to be luring him in and then rejecting him, but he returned with increasingly impressive dance movements.

It was not hard to imagine this was all taking place in a dingy nightclub fifty or sixty years ago and this theatre audience, in which we might well have been the only English residents amongst an otherwise Spanish contingent, seemed to fall easily into the role as night club patrons sending ole’s and bravos out across the ´dance floor´.

Two of the main protagonists, of course, were Antonia and the enigmatic female vocalist. They are in fact well known as musicians but during the Covid period they played wherever they could as strolling buskers and made a great contribution to the community by delivering gentle concerts to small audiences under safely regulated conditions.

Any new residents or regular holiday makers to Lanzarote should be well advised to keep their eyes open for performances by this ensemble,…… they are authentic. It felt like the real thing,.. and it was irresistible.