Kenosha Symphony Orchestra to host Flamenco guitar master and Flamenco dancer

BY Kenneth Murray

The resonance and percussive quality of the Spanish guitar is among the most redolent and recognizable forms of string sound in the world. Its passionately evocative character has carried the art form for generations, and expanded its influence worldwide.

Flamenco is rooted in the folk traditions of Andalucía, an expansive region of southern Spain that borders both the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Due to its formative place as a gateway of trade in the European and North African subcontinents, the region of Andalucía has been shaped by a historically rich cultural diversity—one that draws from complex flows of populations over the centuries. Andalucía is home to great Muslim and Christian architectural wonders such as the Alhambra and the Great Mosque of Córdoba, and is the birthplace of bullfighting, as well as artists Diego Velázquez and Pablo Picasso. It is no wonder, then, that this region also birthed a musical style as incendiary as Flamenco.

The art of Flamenco is characterized by several physical expressions, often incorporated simultaneously into the performance of a song. These include singing, guitar playing, dancing, guttural vocalizations, and percussive hand clapping or snapping. Also characteristic of Flamenco is the compás, or rhythmic cycle. The most common metres in Flamenco include two-, three-, and twelve-beat time signatures. The latter is most common, and unique to Flamenco—giving Flamenco music its immediately recognizable character.

In the last half-century, Flamenco has seen enormous growth in a global context. Other musical traditions have added diversity and context. rNuevo Flamenco borrows from jazz, rumba, bossa nova, Gypsy, Latin, Middle Eastern, rock, Cuban swing, tango, salsa, and the blues resulting in a fusion of global music that can still be recognized for its passionate Spanish character. As a result of its global influence, and in recognition of its cultural importance, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization declared Flamenco a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

Guitar maestro David Maldonado is one of the only living Flamenco composers left worldwide. His music reflects the beauty and structure inherent in traditional composition while also bringing forth the passion, upbeat rhythms, and fascinating gypsy scales redolent of Flamenco.

Maldonado is a true master of the Spanish guitar, marrying incredible guitar technique with the showmanship of a natural born performer. Maldonado’s proficiency in Spanish guitar styles includes Flamenco, classical, and modern, along with the challenging styles of rasqueado—a precise rapid strumming pattern using all the fingers of the right hand—and picados—featuring lightning-fast guitar scales. A true guitar virtuoso, Maldonado has brought his crowd-pleasing music across the globe, and has released four albums of music in a variety of Spanish guitar traditions.

Maldonado’s Noche de Pasión is a unique opportunity for music-lovers in Southeastern Wisconsin. Scheduled for the evening of February 25th at the historic Reuther Auditorium, this performance with the Kenosha Symphony