Siempre Flamenco celebrates a trilogy of Flamenco cante (song) guitar and dance in its 16th Annual Festival of Flamenco Song in Miami at the Carnival Studio Theater this weekend.
The festival brings to Miami an art form seldom heard outside of Spain where many flamenco festivals are dedicated to singing more than the expected focus on guitar or dancing. The festivals in Spain offer "all different kinds of styles and songs," says Celia Fonta founder, along with her husband Paco, of Siempre Flamenco.
The company has presented the festival since 2006.
"At first it was an experiment in that we didn’t know how it would go over and how the audience would react," explains Celia Fonta.
They need not have worried. At the end of the performance, the audience expressed their approval by literally saying "Gracias, Gracias. Thank you for bringing us this."
Celia Fonta said it was a wonderful feeling, so much so that they decided to present the festival every year. Paco Fonta says one of the goals of the Festival of Flamenco Song in Miami is "conserving and presenting flamenco in its purest state."
Both Paco and Celia Fonta say that traditional flamenco forms a trilogy in which the guitarist plays, the singers listen to the music and are inspired to sing, the dancers listen to both and get up and dance. "All three are like a circle, one inspires the other. The guitarist plays, the singer sings and the dancer dance. Then the dancer dance, the singer sings and the guitarist plays again. It goes back and forth, like a conversation," Celia Fonta says.
This weekend’s program is comprised of some of Spain’s leading flamenco artists. This includes renowned Spanish singers Macarena de Jerez, Morenito de Illora and Jose Campos along with the brilliant guitarist Paco Fernandez and world acclaimed dancer Juan Jose Jaen.
"We are thrilled to have Juan Jose 'Junco' at this year’s festival. I think he is one of the most exciting male flamenco dancers on the scene today," says Celia Fonta. This will be his first time performing with Siempre Flamenco. The company is presenting four shows this weekend and each performance will have different songs and dances. This gives the audience the opportunity to experience a variety of flamenco guitar, song, and dance, according to Celia.
Celia and Paco Fonta are well-known artists within the South Florida community. They are the recipients of the Florida Folk Heritage award, the state’s highest honor for folk and traditional arts.
When asked what still inspires them to continue performing and producing flamenco events, Celia Fonta replies that it is the opportunity to work with new artists and by being inspired by the people she works with. "The exciting part of flamenco is that you’re performing live. It’s not like ballet where it’s completely choreographed from beginning to end. With flamenco, there is lots of room for improvisation. That opens us up to surprises, we don’t know what’s going to happen. We get on stage and magic happens.”
Siempre Flamenco’s 16th “Festival de Cante Miami” inside the Carnival Studio Theater, Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16, 3 and 8 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 17, and 4 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 18. $48-$60. Call 305-949-6722 or go to siempreflamenco.com.