My Barbarian wanted to take Miami on a boat ride. “We wanted to interact and be out in the public,” Alex Segade reveals over the phone from Los Angeles, where he just got out of rehearsal for My Barbarian’s first Miami show, coming up this Saturday at the Miami Light Project, as part of Miami-Dade College’s Museum of Art and Design’s “Living Together” performance series this season. ..
The time seems right for Karen Finley to be visiting Miami, to be performing in the black box space of the Miami Light Project at the Goldman Warehouse, and to present her latest performance-art manifesto about the current political landscape, “Unicorn Gratitude Mystery.” In the show, which she began developing as a response to the U.S. presidential election in 2016, Finley plays a unicor..
Getting into a true holiday spirit can be tough in South Florida, where palm trees, expansive beaches and balmy skies signal perpetual summer. Ever-earlier store décor and the incessant push to buy presents – more about commercialism than celebration – can make many of us feel more anxious than festive. Not to worry. Just squeeze in a trip to Miami’s Arsht Center, where City Theatre h..
One of the centerpieces of this year’s Art Week is not a static art work, and it is also one of the most sensuous and disorienting. Lebanese performance artist Tania El Khoury is producing her “Gardens Speak” for the week, courtesy of MDC Live Arts, a piece that has been applauded in cultural capitals throughout Europe and the United States. “It is a work,” she says, “that can only co..
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If you were to predict who might become a nationally famous – OK, world-famous – multiplatform sex therapist, Dr. Ruth Westheimer would probably not be your first choice. Born in Germany in 1928 as Karola Ruth Siegel, the 4’7” Dr. Ruth seems more like the doting Jewish grandmother she is than a woman who used her nationally syndicated radio show, TV shows and 40-some books to help hun..
Actors’ Playhouse has been a musical powerhouse for much of its history. Launching its 30th anniversary season at the Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables, the company is revisiting some of that history with a new production of a made-for-South Florida favorite: Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s “Evita.” As it did in 2000 when recent Tony Award winner Rachel Bay Jones starred as Eva Duart..
Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks won the Pulitzer Prize for “Topdog/Underdog” in 2002. But as Zoetic Stage’s superb new production of the play at Miami’s Arsht Center demonstrates, her funny, shocking tale of two brothers struggling to survive is as potent today as it was 15 years ago. Maybe more so, given the country’s deepening divide. Parks’ harrowing drama examines the complex relation..
We are born. We live, have families, grow old. We die, leaving those who loved us to mourn. Playwright Thornton Wilder brilliantly captured the eternal verities of our journey through life in “Our Town,” his 1938 Pulitzer Prize-winning play about life, love and death in a small New Hampshire town at the turn of the 20th century. If you’re at all drawn to theater, you’ve probably ..
“Miami Motel Stories: Little Havana” written by Juan C. Sanchez, directed by Tamilla Woodard, and produced by Juggerknot Theatre Company, is a site-specific, immersive theater experience that interweaves narrative, performance, history and architecture. Nine short plays take place in nine hotel rooms on the second floor of the Tower Hotel, right off Calle Ocho on Seventh Street. Sanchez, ..
With the closing of Tigertail Productions last year, Miami lost one of its preeminent artistic champions. Under the direction of founder Mary Luft, Tigertail brought an endless parade of boundary-..
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You hear the word “flamenco” -- what image comes to mind? A guitar? A dark-haired dancer? The color red, a ruffled dress? Did a piano by any chance enter the picture? Perhaps not.
Pianist Alberto Raya, who brings “Caminos Flamencos” to Miami-Dade County Auditorium this Friday and Saturday, would like to help change that image. He pointed out in a telephone interview in Spanish that the piano’s history in the art form goes back at least to the early 20th century and Federico García Lorca. The most emblematic of flamenco’s poets, Lorca was also an accomplished pianist who collected Andalusian folk songs and recorded them as the accompanist for La Argentinita, a famous female flamenco singer of the day. Over 40 years ago, a cantaor (flamenco singer) as “pure” as Manolo Caracol would sing at the renowned Madrid flamenco tablao Los Canasteros, not with a guitarist, but with a pianist. And today, there are pianists like Chano Domínguez or Dorantes who have made a name for themselves both within the flamenco world and beyond. “It’s becoming a bit more accepted,” said Raya, but conceded that, “it still has a ways to go.”
Like Lorca, Raya is from Granada, one of the cradles of flamenco in Southern Spain. He became enamored of what he calls “the Andalusian cadence” as a boy, listening to his father’s recordings of cantaores Camarón de la Isla, Enrique Morente, the flamenco rock group Triana. The sound, though not always purely traditional, retained an essence unique to southern Spain. “Its music, its melody, its harmony has something that bewitches you,” he explained.
By the time he was 14 Raya became serious about becoming a professional musician. Before the dawn of the Age of Youtube, this meant an intense diet of flamenco recordings: “I began studying like crazy—I listened to a lot of music.” Later on, he sought out accomplished flamenco pianists and composers. “Those people pulled me into the depths of flamenco,” teaching him the rhythms, melodies, and keys that are vital to each palo, or flamenco song style. When he eventually came up for air, Raya said to himself, “Now I know where I am.”
His first gigs were as a band member in groups accompanying flamenco singers. For a 17-year-old self-taught musician, Raya was given extraordinary opportunities. Right out of the gate, he worked with some of the most celebrated young flamenco singers around: the legendary singer Enrique Morente’s daughter Estrella Morente, his son (who carries his father’s name), and Juan Habichuela, the younger generation of a dynasty of flamenco guitarists. Having learned at the feet of masters, when the time came for Raya to form his own band, he knew exactly what he wanted.
Three years ago, Raya began working on the idea for the show “Caminos Flamencos,” which in English translates as “Flamenco Paths.” It is a look back at his own journey through the different styles that he has explored as a musician. “There’s a little of everything. There are palos that I execute as pure, hard flamenco, there are others where I integrate a bit of jazz…I put in what I want. I’m a bit selfish that way. When I sat down to create it, I said, ‘I have to do this to my own taste.’ If I like it, then maybe others will, too. That way, I will feel it when I am performing, and that resonates with people.”
“Caminos Flamencos” comes to Miami as part of the Centro Cultural Español’s annual FlamenGO series, which seeks to showcase the best new talent in Spain and give these young flamenco artists an opportunity to begin making a name for themselves internationally. Raya travels here with an eclectic group: a guitarist who loves flamenco, but also funk; an electric bass player who is enamored of jazz; and a percussionist. “They all have their own personalities…that’s where you find the magic. We could be playing a bulerías, and the guitarist might do a blues solo within it…there are two cultures mixing in that very moment and the two understand one another perfectly.” Irene Rueda y Alba Fajardo, both from Granada, are the bailaoras who will dance in “Caminos Flamencos.”
In addition to these performances, the Centro Cultural Español is currently presenting the exhibition Living in Flamenco by Venezuelan photographer Migdalia Salazar. Salazar, who was herself a flamenco dancer for many years, takes a contemporary approach as she seeks to capture in her photographs the passion of the dance and the transitory nature of “duende,” that divine flame of inspiration that is said to overcome flamenco artists when they are truly in the moment, transported by the music. Venezuelan dancer Siudy Garrido collaborated with Salazar on the project. The exhibit is free to the public and will be up until June 2.
‘Caminos Flamencos’ by Alberto Raya, Miami-Dade County Auditorium, 2901 W. Flagler St.; Friday and Saturday, May 19 and 20, 8:00 p.m.; tickets: $25 at www.miamidadeauditorium.org or at the door.
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