Maria Conte and Ana Cabrera smarten up their Flamenco moves

Maria Conte and Ana Cabrera smarten up their Flamenco moves

Posted on : 29/09/2010


One of the world's top flamenco singers, food and wine with a Latin flavour and a concert celebrating Chilean and Mexican independence all form part of this year's Hispanic Festival. The annual celebration of Spanish and Latin American culture, which opens on Friday, will feature the Scottish premiere of Flamenco Vivo! - the latest production by internationally-renowned singer Rafael de Utrera.

The festival's artistic director, Maria Conte, said his performance would be one of the month's highlights: "He's one of the most important singers of Spanish flamenco. It's something that no-one else would programme, there's no flamenco dancing here apart from perhaps during the International Festival. It's an insight into what's happening in flamenco in Spain now - he's combining the traditional flamenco with a fresh outlook."

The performance at the Queen's Hall on October 30 is inspired by the singer's love for his wife, the dancer Carmen Lozano, who will dance as he sings. Also on the programme is a concert celebrating the 200th anniversary of both Chile and Mexico's independence from Spain. Chileans Carlos Arredondo and Galvarino Ceron will be joined by Mexican Morgan Szymanski for the October 23 performance at St James Church on Leith.

The opening night at Edinburgh Central Library on Friday will feature exhibition launches by artists Timothy Neat and Michael Robson, with Hispanic wines and tapas. There will be a recital of Spanish and Scots songs by singer Jean Redpath and the debut recital of Hamish Henderson's poetry translated into Catalan by Nora Albert. The night will continue with a ceilidh with Hispanic music and close with Flamenco dancing. Ms Conte said: "I've got a feeling that October 1 is going to be like a pearl, there won't be anything more beautiful happening in all of Scotland, I'm sure of that."

There will also be the chance to improve your own skills with a series of flamenco masterclasses. Sessions featuring flamenco guitar, singing, percussion and dance will all be offered by Alba Flamenca at its centre in Crosscauseway. Culinary highlights include a wine tasting and lecture led by restaurateur Ignacio Campos of Barioja and Igg's Restaurant.

Ms Conte said the aim of the festival, now in its sixth year, was both to celebrate Spanish and Latin American culture, and to bring together members of those communities living in Edinburgh: "We've got lots of different events during the whole of the month and we're looking to have a very good quality social time, good conversation and intellectual stimulation".