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Paco Pena Flamenco in Concert

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Hugging the guitar close to his heart, he plays the ancient tunes of Flamenco, travelling along the strings to the wood, echoing in rhythms of a time memories cease to forget.

Paco Pena Australia 2016
(Promo photo: Paco Pena and his Flamenco Guitar)

Mr Paco Pena is a Flamenco guitarist born in the southern Spanish town called Cordoba where he founded the popular Cordoba guitar festival.

Today he teaches guitar to students from all around the world, including the UK's former Prime Minister - the one and only affably humble Mr Tony Blair.

This year Mr Pena brings his troupe of Flamenco dancers, singers and fellow musicians to the Australian cities of Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney.

It is an opportunity not to be missed as he is only here for a few days before he flies from these great sandy shores girt by sea;

His Majesty's Theatre, Perth: 30 September
Concert Hall QPAC, Queensland: 4 October
Melbourne Recital Centre, Melbourne: 5 October
Enmore Theatre, Sydney: 7 October
Concourse Concert Hall, Sydney: 8 October

Nobody really knows from where Flamenco originates. The popular belief today is it travelled with the Gypsies who settled in southern Spain.

The other belief is it came from the Flemish, which is the English word for Flamenco. Still, folklore tells of influences from the Shepardic Jews, Moorish Africans, and bloody murders of persecution under the King and Queen of Spain hundreds of years ago. However, smatterings of Flamenco appeared in the ancient Greek texts long before it peppered Spain's bloodied history.

It is like Flamenco drifted on the Levant Winds from the east where the southern Spanish hillsides, then sucked-it-up and it soon became part of the living, breathing life-force that is Andalucia; that's one of my theories anyway.

Yet, there is no denying Flamenco has become Spain's greatest export. From the early guitarists of the café cantantes at the turn of the 20th century - where singers belt-out cries to the rhythm of guitarists like Ramon Montoya - to the world-renown Flamenco dancer Carmen Amaya, Flamenco has seduced the world.

A once traditionally pheasant dance, even rich Australians spend months in Spain learning the latest moves and tunes in expensive Flamenco classes throughout Spain. Brand Flamenco. The result has seen an increase in classes being taught across Australia.

Nevertheless, students from all walks of life today breathe their unique personalities into the dance, the song, or the guitar, thereby keeping alive this once ailing art-form.

Flamenco by Rachel Gray
Above: Flamenco sketched by Rachel Gray

Though there is an element of Flamenco no teacher can teach with good technique, and it seems it is this unknowable part of Flamenco which travels the world to find a soul to inhabit; duende.

So, in preparation for the upcoming Paco Pena tour, there has never been a better time to get your duende-on and give it a go!

Whether you are interested in learning the nylon-stringed Flamenco guitar, or the Flamenco dance, there is likely to be a class in a city near you.

Here are a couple of Flamenco styles to get you warmed-up:

Flamenco by Carmen Amaya (r.i.p.) performing way back in the olden days when everything was just black and white.

Alegrias by Camaron de La Isla (r.i.p) singing alongside Flamenco guitarist Tomatito in a range of fab 70s décor.

Flamenco Guitarist Paco de Lucia (r.i.p) alongside Flamenco singer La Tana

For a Flamenco class near you click this link . Just be warned: it takes a lot of hard work to learn it.

For tickets to the Paco Pena show click this link.
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