Review: Paco Pena: Patrias

Paco Pena. Pic: Comp
Paco Pena. Pic: Comp
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THE Spanish Civil War was a conflict out of which little good came. Fascism defeated Communism, there were atrocities on both sides and hundreds of thousands died.

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Flamenco virtuoso Paco Pena and his company set out to express the agony of Spain’s experience and it’s all too clear from the passion and raw emotion in this riveting show.

A tribute to the poet and musician Federico Garcia Lorca, executed by the Fascists in 1936, it’s fair to say Pena’s sympathies do not lie with the victorious Franco regime, but the presentation is at pains to emphasise the Spanish tragedy did not respect political boundaries.

Pena’s guitar virtuosity has been beyond question for decades and even so he and his two accompanying guitarists still manage to conjour up some unmistakably modern twists amidst beautifully executed traditional approaches.

Angel Munoz and his partner Mayte Bajo, two of the world’s greatest Flamenco dancers, simply fizz with sensuality and tension; the snap, swish and swerve of their movement contrasting with the harshness of the Civil War footage screened behind them.

Their passion is reflected in the tortured, wailing vocals of Jose Carmona and Gema Jimenez and from this performance you don’t need to be a student of modern Spanish history to appreciate the nightmare which enveloped the country.

Run ended