The word "flamenco" applies to the song, the dance and the guitar that make up this beautiful art form. Although many of the details of the development of flamenco are lost in history, it is certain that it originated in Andalusia from the eighth to the 15th centuries, when Spain was under Arab domination. Arabic music and musical instruments were modified and adapted by Christians and Jews, then later by Gypsies of Roma. Flamenco became a hybrid music, entirely separate from the musical forms that created it.
We have an opportunity to take part in a flamenco experience with the added excitement of witnessing people who have strong connections to our little valley here in Taos and Northern New Mexico.
Flamenco Revozo is happening Friday (June 9), 7 p.m., at Old Martina's Hall, 4140 State Road 68 in Ranchos de Taos. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. If you'd like to make a night of it and have dinner prepared by chef Chuck Lamendola and a show, you can for $55 or $50 in advance.
Onstage will be singer Vicente Griego, guitarist Calvin Hazen and dancers Elena Osuna, "La Emi" (Emily Grimm) and Navarez Encinias.
Griego, "El Cartucho," is from the Dixon-Embudo area. Griego has devoted his life to the study of cante flamenco, the art of flamenco singing. In 1992, Griego began touring the United States, Canada and Latin America with the Jose Greco II Flamenco Dance Company, where he was mentored by Caño Roto singer Alfonso Gabarri, "El Veneno," of Madrid, Spain. He sings for Yjastros American Flamenco Repertory Company, based in Albuquerque. Griego is the lead vocalist in a flamenco and rumba band, Revozo, and tours nationally and internationally year-round. He is an adjunct faculty member at the University of New Mexico.
"Vicente Griego, 'El Cartucho,' is striking for his deep, sonorous wails that seem to come from a cavern, someplace deep within his soul," wrote Anna Poplawska of Chicago Artist's News.
Hazen, who is playing guitar for the ensemble, is also an artist with local roots. He has recently relocated to the New Mexico area after 20 years of living and working as a professional guitarist in Madrid, Spain.
During this time, he performed at some of the most famous flamenco tablaos (a floor for dancing flamenco) in Spain, including El Corral de la Moreria, Casa Patas, Las Carboneras, Las Tablas and El Teatro Arenal. In Spain, he shared the stage with such illustrious artists as Manuel Linan, Carmen "La Talegona," Joaquin Ruiz, Jesus Fernandez, David Paniagua, Jeronimo Maya and Eva Duran, to name a few.
He has performed at some of the most prestigious theaters in the United States and internationally, including Radio City Music Hall and Lincoln Center in New York City, Teatro Nacional in Mexico City and Teatro Madrid in Spain, where his performances have enjoyed enthusiastic critical acclaim. The Village Voice hailed his guitar playing, and The New York Times called his music "a pleasure throughout."
Television appearances include "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," "Good Morning America" and "The Regis and Kathy Lee Show." He has worked as musical director and composer for numerous companies, including Suite Española, Carlota Santana Flamenco Vivo and Maria Benitez Teatro Flamenco. He is a regular performer and instructor for Festival Flamenco, Albuquerque. Recording credits include collaborations on "Transit" and "Transit II" with recording artist Jon Gagan, as well as working as composer and co-producer on "El Pintor" in Madrid, Spain, and "Ni Mucho Ni Poco" in New Mexico. Most recently, he was asked to collaborate with Spanish pop icon Pablo Alboran on the recording of "Terra, l," the five-time platinum-selling record that spent 11 straight weeks as Spain's top-selling record. He is working as instructor and composer/arranger in the theater and dance department at University of New Mexico.
Osuna is from the mountains of the Embudo Valley in Northern New Mexico. She has performed widely in the United States and internationally, including Alegrias in New York City, Fountain Theatre in Hollywood with Gabriel Lautaro Osuna (Encuentro), La Cueva de la Rocio in Spain, Gitanerias in Mexico City and the Tucson Flamenco Festival in Arizona. Osuna's mentors are renowned artists such as Joaquin Encinas, Juana Amaya, Los Farrucos, Mercedes Amaya, Carmen ("La Talegona") and Concha Jareno. In 2005, Osuna won first place for solo at the Flamenco Expo, a competition at the Festival Flamenco Internacional de Albuquerque. Osuna is a soloist with Yjastros American Flamenco Repertory Company, an instructor of flamenco and Spanish at Tierra Adentro School of Academics, Arts and Artesania and a teacher at the National Institute of Flamenco in Albuquerque.
Encinias began dancing at age 4 under the guidance of his grandmother, father and aunt - Eva, Joaquin and Marisol Encinias. He studied at the Conservatory of Flamenco Arts throughout his childhood, became an apprentice dancer in Yjastros in 2006 and has studied with a wide range of international flamenco artists, including Mercedes Amaya, Valeriano Paños, Rafael Estévez and Antonio Canales. In 2017, he was promoted to soloist. He received ballet training at New Haven Ballet in New Haven, Connecticut, where he worked closely with Jared Redick and Ruth Barker. In 2014, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University in history of art. He is in his third year seeking his master's degree in dance at the University of New Mexico and a curriculum assistant at the Tierra Adentro of New Mexico Charter School.
Grimm ("La Emi") began studying flamenco at the age of 4 with the Maria Benitez Institute for Spanish Arts. At 10, she began working with the institute's youth company, Flamenco's Next Generation. At 12, Grimm began teaching within the Northern New Mexico public school system. In 2006, she began teaching for Moving Arts Española and Institute for Spanish Arts. Benitez herself, of course, also has roots in Taos.
In 2010, Grimm performed in the production of "El Pintor" at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque. She also began working with Compañía Chuscales y Mina Fajardo, where she continues to collaborate today. In 2011, 2012 and 2015, she performed with Entreflamenco, the company of Antonio Granjero and Estefania Ramirez, at the Lodge of Santa Fe. In December of 2011, Grimm was nominated and selected as one of the 12 young and emerging artists in Pasatiempo. She received the 2012 Santa Fe Mayor's Melissa Engestrom Youth Artist Award for excellence in the arts. In 2013, 2014 and 2016, she performed with the Juan Siddi Flamenco Santa Fe.
Since 2013, Grimm has traveled to Spain to study intensively with Carmela Greco and other top artists, including José Galván, Juana Amaya, Yolanda Heredia, Ivan Vargas Heredia and Rocio Alcaide Ruiz. She has performed under the direction of Greco, Galván and Torombo and at major venues and events, including the Carmela Greco Seminario de Flamenco y Danza Española in Madrid; Cueva Los Tarantos, in the Sacramonte of Granada; in Sevilla at the Teatro Alameda Festival Flamenco; and the Café de Chinitas in Madrid.
Today, she teaches at the EmiArteFlamenco Academy and performs in many venues throughout the country.
Even if popular culture has brought flamenco to the world stage, it will always be an intimate kind of music. One of the most authentic experiences you can have is a juerga (flamenco party) with a small group of friends when there is nothing around but the voice, the guitar and the body of a dancer flickering and flowing like a flame.
These dancers and players, with their local connections to the Taos Valley, are sure to deliver a special performance that cannot be had anywhere else. Flamenco Revozo promises to be a fantastic flamenco party for fans of the dancing flame.
Visit oldmartinashall.com for more information and advance tickets or call (575) 758-3003.