Flamenco Residency at Oberlin
The great flamenco dancer, Nino de los Reyes and three musicians came to Oberlin earlier this semester and gave an unforgettable concert for a packed house. The ensemble included the extraordinary singer Ismael Fernandez, long-time Paco de Lucia bassist, the Cuban-born Alain Perez, and the renowned flamenco guitarist, Juan Jose Escobar. The concert took place in Oberlin's gorgeous Clonick Hall--a top-rated recording studio on campus often used for performances.
Juan Jose Escobar (also known as Paquete) met with guitar majors and others twice. He worked hard to convey the nuances of some common flamenco rhythms, and invited the guitarists to play along with him to better get the feel. As he spoke no English, we were lucky to have Oberlin musicology faculty (and one-time Oberlin guitar studio member), Julian Carlson on hand translating.
In addition, each member of the troupe worked with students across the campus in a wide range of settings. There were special sessions for the jazz and improvisation majors, for students of ethnomusicology, as well as events for both the Dance and Spanish departments.
My students were so roused by this interaction, that one of them bought himself a flamenco guitar that very week!
Many thanks to my colleague Jamey Haddad for organizing this event!