Five Star Review for Hispanic Festival Querencia

Five Star Review for Hispanic Festival Querencia

Posted on : 19/10/2013

At the end of Saturday's Hispanic Festival showcase, a voice came unbidden into my head, asking: Where on earth do they find these people? The answer is, of course, starkly obvious but the festival and its director, Maria Conte, do seem to have a hotline to a supply chain of extraordinary flamenco talents.

  This latest in a run that's becoming almost routine in its brilliance, with direction from Conte herself, majored on the character of the participants rather than technique, although you have to know what you're about also, one presumes, to pull off the moves and percussive footwork that are involved.  

Querencia translates as fondness and there was love in all its guises in the dramas that unfolded in guitar music, raw, vocal chord-paring song and flamboyant movement. Guitarist Pedro Sierra provided an expert soundtrack, setting the scene with improbably fluent, at times searingly intense commentaries. He's currently Ballet Flamenco de Andalucia's music director, so you'd expect expertise, but his feeling for the dancers' needs was further explained in a guitar-free encore where he proved no mean mover himself.   Often the only accompaniment required was hand-clapping or the fervent, whole-hearted singing of La Tobala as grand master Jose Galvan variously primped comically, suggested proud defiance or removed his jacket with a flourish that was part torero, part balletic hero. His daughter Pastora all but filled the stage with her personality and dress-lifting manoeuvres that carried both a certain hauteur and a sense of fun, not to mention her voluminous shawl. All in all a fantastically entertaining evening that made the exit on to a wet Clerk Street seem disorientating and prosaic by comparison.

Rob Adams, The Herald, 21 October 2013