The World Music Institute puts together experimental Spanish flamenco singer Niño de Elche and experimental Spanish flamenco dancer Leonor Leal.
Niño de Elche & Leonor Leal at Le Poisson Rouge
Saturday, March 14, 2020 ~ Leonor Leal opens for Niño de Elche on a night of experimental flamenco for the World Music Institute at Le Poisson Rouge in Greenwich Village, NYC at 8pm.
Tickets from $35 at worldmusicinstitute.org
Niño de Elche sings “Colombiana,” and Leonor Leal dances “No Singing Allowed.” That’s funny. I bet she sings somehow.
One of the beautiful things about flamenco is that it is the root of what we now call Latin music in the Americas. Blends of Latin rhythms with flamenco flow naturally because flamenco is already in the root.
Your first thought on hearing the title “Colombiana” might be that De Elche is referring to the famously attractive Colombians, but he is actually referring to the Colombian Exchange through which tropical culture was spread around the entire world by Spanish and Portuguese traders. That is why tropical life is similar around the world. For example, we eat lechon (roast baby pig) in Spain, Puerto Rico and the Philippines.
“Colombiana” explores the flamenco connection between the Caribbean and Spain. Flamenco rhythms guajira, milonga, soleá, seguidilla and petenera are cantes “ida y vuelta” (round trip songs). In other words, Spanish flamenco came to Cuba and Cuban flamenco went back to Spain and influenced the flamenco there.
Listen to “El Pregón de los Caramelos” (YouTube). Elche starts very flamenco and then switches into Caribbean rhythms. He may be referencing “El Manisero” the peanut vendor’s pregon (selling song) which was one of the early successes in Latin music.
Niño de Elche
Niño de Elche is one of the artists who fearlessly mixes flamenco with everything. Even though he stretches the form, De Elche is flamenco, but in a flamenco punk sort of way.
That takes courage because Spain’s flamenco community is very traditional and conservative. Part of De Elche’s stretch is his use of imagery.
The “child of Elche” was born in Elche, Spain to a family from Granada.
Leonora Leal is an experimental flamenco dancer. She was born in Jerez de la Frontera in 1980. From age 9, she studied classical ballet and Spanish dance. She developed as a dancer with several renowned flamenco companies including Ballet Flamenco de Andalucía under Cristina Hoyos. Leal has been choreographing since 2008.
Leal also studies music teaching and visual arts. This gives her an all-around experience that complements her dancing.