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By Steve Wehrly
Flamenco dancer Savannah Fuentes returns to San Juan Island with renowned singer Jesus Montoya and master guitarist Pedro Cortes for a one-night-only presentation Saturday, April 6, at the Grange hall.
The Ciudades Northwest Flamenco Tour performance is the second stop on Fuentes’s latest tour. She has independently brought internationally recognized flamenco artists to communities in Oregon, Washington and Idaho for five years. Ciudades celebrates this unique and powerful art form this year with 25 presentations of Flamenco music and dance in four states.
“I’ve just got a chip in my brain and I just couldn’t stop, but it hasn’t been easy,” said Fuentes, entranced by flamenco since the age of 17. “It takes hours and hours of your life. A lot of people fall in love with flamenco, but don’t stick with it”
Traditional flamenco is performed live and consists of several components: “cante” (singing), “toque” (guitar), and “baile” (dance). Plus, a lesser-known component, “jaleo”, which roughly translates into “hell-raising” and involves hand clapping, foot stomping and shouts of encouragement.
“Many times I have heard someone, who may be experiencing live Flamenco for the first time, shout ‘yoo-hoo’ during a footwork build up,” Fuentes said. “And it worked. I think it is great that they can participate in that way.”
Singer Jesús Montoya is from Seville, Spain. Born into the one of the oldest Gypsy families. He earned the name “El Rey Del Fandangos Grande” at age 7. By age 9, he had started his professional singing career and at age 13 he had started to tour with various professional companies.
In addition to his Spanish and European touring credentials, Montoya has toured with major flamenco companies throughout the United States and Canada to sold-out audiences. In addition to being the one most respected touring flamenco singers in the US, he continues to perform with his own flamenco company “Pureza Flamenca”, widely known for putting on some of the greatest and most exciting flamenco shows worldwide.
Cortes comes from a family of Spanish Gypsy guitarists, and began his studies with his father, the esteemed flamenco guitarist Sabicas. Having toured professionally since the age of 17, he is now gaining international recognition as a soloist and composer.
The Seatlle P.I.’s Regina Hackett called the show, “Real flamenco, straight up and stunning.” About Cortes, Jennifer Fisher of the Los Angeles Times said, “Dazzlingly deployed virtuosity paced like capriciously gathering storm.”