Puerto Flamenco are a company from Seville offering a contemporary but authentic flamenco tradition. Performing only twice in New Zealand on this tour, they delivered 2 hours of incredible energy that left audiences stomping their feet and demanding an encore. On a bare stage the five-strong group gave an emotionally intense, proud and surprisingly intimate performance capturing the duende, or soul, of flamenco. With only the most minimal of accompaniments, Puerto Flamenco served up the passion and unmistakable patterns and tones that mark the genre straight to the audience.
Flamenco is music of the street. Originating in Andalucia, Southern Spain, from a mixture of Romani and local folk traditions it conveys all of the sensation and hardship of life in the raw. In a beautiful paradox, the complex rhythms of flamenco are created with very basic components - guitar, voice, a wooden box for percussion and the sounds of feet and hands against skin or floor. In a jaded world, flamenco offers an integrity and authenticity that no amount of auto tune or twerking will ever match. It's staggering how audacious simplicity can be.
Danced with a proud and upright bearing flamenco conveys emotion and strength, occasionally with a touch of melancholy, but always with attitude. Like another great art form that grew from the street, flamenco trades in the good-natured sparring that characterises old school hip-hop. The group urge and encourage each other, responding to the rhythm issued by the dancer and waiting to take the floor and issue a retort of their own. Flamenco has a posturing and flamboyance characteristic of street sparring, or a Paris catwalk, combined with a super-focused and complete absorption in the dance. It is not so much a presentation of dance, but an unfolding of emotion with the complicity and connection of the audience.
The two dancers the Puerto Flamenco company brought to New Zealand gave breathtaking performances of sensual energy combined with rapid footwork. A female dancer, body tightly held and back arched in the traditional flamenco way, brought grace and fire to the stage with the expressive use of her arms and rhythmic stamping of her feet. She danced with a beautiful fringed mantón, or shawl, which seemed to take on a personality of its own as it whipped around as a weapon one minute then wrapped softly around the dancer's waist the next. The only dancer on stage, her body seemed to give off such shape and rhythm that it filled the space. The second half opened with an extraordinary male dancer who fired out clean, precise footwork with absolute precision. Jack hammering his heels into the wooden floor he created such a wild rhythm that the audience was swept into his spell. At one point, the volatile energy of his performance was distilled into the vibration of a single leg. Completely seduced, the crowd leant forward listening for the final tap of his foot, like junkies for a fix.
After a standing ovation and the audience noisily demanding an encore, the five performers reemerged. Feeling much like an impromptu jam or the flamenco of the streets, the multi-talented Puerto Flamenco company delivered an informal performance swapping roles and dealing out the sass and earthy vitality that makes flamenco an outstanding night out. With the renowned guitarist Paco Pena due to perform his own brand of flamenco in NZ next April, tickets to his show should be high on anyone's Christmas list.
There's no denying that at my core, I'm a lover of progressive music - whether that means I love "prog" music or not is a question for another day, and is a topic which I touched on whilst talking to Steven Wilson the other week regarding the upcoming To The Bone show at Auckland's Bruce Mason Centre.
Auckland-based quartet Openside have added an extra date to their first, all-ages, nationwide tour. The group headlines The Seamless Tour will now perform a final show in Tauranga on July 20th featuring special guests DUNES .
Consisting of drummer/vocalist Cat Leahy and guitarist/vocalist Leisha Jungalwalla, This Way Northwill be a part of a very special night in Auckland called ‘Sass the Patriarchy’ an event they have been running in Australia.
As the days and nights get colder, we need something more to laugh about than the unpredictability of Auckland weather and lucky for us, The New Zealand International Comedy Festivalreturns (kicking off this Thursday 26 April).
I Am Giant’s have recently released their third and final album ‘Life in Captivity’. Featuring the singles ‘Dead Flower’, ‘Playing With Fire’ and ‘Don’t Look Back’, the band are currently touring New Zealand; their final tour and last hurrah in NZ.
To this day I still remember my introduction to Sepultura - camped out in the granny flat bedroom of long-time friend Kerry - a live version of their cover of Motörhead's Orgasmatron, and from there it continues to this day
The wait is almost over as Auckland City Limits is set to take place this Saturday (March 3rd) at Western Springs Stadium. Included on the bill are one of France’s most famous four-piece band's Phoenix.
“I find inspiration from people who are trying to do something different. There's a lot of producers trying to copy each other, eg Terror Squad. But it’s really cool to hear guys like SumthinSumthin, completely unchallenged in their own lane.” – Graham Matthews
John Butler Trio announce their return to New Zealand in March to play Nelson’s Trafalgar Centre on Saturday 2 March and an afternoon set outdoors at The Hunting Lodge in Waimauku, Auckland on Sunday 3 March.
British rock royalty Arctic Monkeys have ushered in a spectacular new era with their sixth studio album, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, and it has now been announced that the band will return to New Zealand for a mammoth arena show in March 2019.
Californian rock legends Jefferson Starship will join TOTO and Dragon on next year’s ‘A Summer’s Day Live’ series, which will take in some of the most picturesque locations and popular concert venues across New Zealand.
In celebration of the highly anticipated November release of their fourth studio album Delta,English folk conquerors Mumford & Sons today announced details of a massive 60 date world tour which will include a very special one day event in Auckland this Summer –their first New Zealand show since 2015!
George Ezra toured the world nonstop for more than two years following the release of his debut LP Wanted On Voyage, finally making it to Aotearoa for one of the standout sets of this year’s Auckland City Limits.
Following the release of her critically-acclaimed My Design, On Others Lives in April this year, Estère teams up with the poetically tongued NZ/Rwandan MC Raiza Biza, to take on the myth of an infamous figure in cross-continental African folklore, the Tokoloshe.
If Anika Moa was feeling ready to kick back for the remainder of 2018, then things haven’t really run to plan. In fact it’s about to get a whole lot busier for the multi-talented entertainer with a new album release, tv series and live shows all on the way.
Since achieving international recognition from Rollingstone.com and Billboard.com for hit singles Too Strung Up and Stone Cold, and amassing over 3 million Spotify streams for their releases to date, Alae now unveil All Gived Up.
'Call Me', the latest track by Wellington electro-pop singer and producer Josie Moon made last week's New Music Friday playlists from Spotify Australia/NZ and Japan and influential UK blogger Popjustice.
Colin Mochrie, Brad Sherwood and Greg Proops the popular stars of the Emmy nominated Whose Line Is It Anyway? have teamed up to present an evening of extraordinary improvisational comedy for one show only at the Bruce Mason Centre in Auckland.
In a New Zealand first, five of the stars of Twin Peaks, Sheryl Lee, Kimmy Robertson, Michael Horse, Al Strobel, Dana Ashbrook and the Executive Producer of Twin Peaks: A Limited Event Series, Sabrina S. Sutherland, will visit Auckland and Christchurch for an exclusive and unique CONVERSATION WITH THE STARS evening.
Singer Elaine Paige has announced an 8-date series of concerts from October 10 to October 25 2018, which will see her perform songs from her illustrious career along side an array of her favourite tracks by contemporary songwriters.
The critically acclaimed, award-winning comedian and actor, Catherine Tate, is bringing The Catherine Tate Show - Live to New Zealand for the first time, with shows in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch commencing November 28, 2018.
It has been announced overnight that Last Tapes Theatre Company's original production Valerie has been selected for a month-long season in the prestigious Summerhall programme at Edinburgh Festival Fringe this August.
Featuring Brouhaha: choreographer Malia Johnston, composer Eden Mulholland, AV designer Rowan Pierce; In Transit: choreographer Louise Potiki Bryant, composer/AV designer Paddy Free; The Geography of an Archipelago: choreographer Stephen Shropshire, composer Chris O’Connor.
The last hurrah of the Comedy Fest! The Season Finale! The bit at the end where the awards are decided, everybody relaxes and much fun is had. It’s the titled Last Laughs on Sunday 20 May at SkyCity Theatre.
The 13th Annual Doc Edge, International Documentary Film Festival opens today - Wednesday 9th May at Wellington’s Roxy Cinema followed by Auckland’s Q Theatre on Wednesday 23rd May, bringing an influx of prestigious directors and documentary subjects from all over the world.