Spanish embassy hosts charity concert

Sonia Olla, lead fFlamenco dancer, choreographer and artistic director. - Ayanna Kinsale
Sonia Olla, lead fFlamenco dancer, choreographer and artistic director. - Ayanna Kinsale

THE flamenco charity concert Gloria, held at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA) , served two purposes.

Presenter Wendy Fitzwilliam told the audience: “Not only does it offer the opportunity of locals to learn about the culture and art of Spain, but it also has a humanitarian purpose, as it seeks to give further visibility to an NGO identified for its social work.”

At the concert on December 4, hosted by Javier Carbajosa, Ambassador of Spain, and the embassy, tribute was paid to the CoaliStion Against Domestic Violence (CADV).

Its president Roberta Clarke told the audience she was excited to be treated to the culture of Spain and that the concert came in the middle of the 16 Days of Activism campaign towards an end of violence against women and girls.

Carbajosa said he and his embassy staff were especially pleased they could channel all proceeds to the CADV, given the tremendous job that the NGO does to protect women who suffer domestic violence.

He too noted: “The fact that the concert takes place during the United Nations’ 16 Days of Activism, which will culminate on December 10, with the celebration of the International Day of Human Rights, is a source of particular satisfaction for us.”

He said the concert, led by Sonia Olla, was the work of a group of very talented artists, pointing out that flamenco was declared as part of the Cultural Heritage of Mankind by the UN in 2010.

Explaining its name, Juliet Brady of the Spanish embassy said: “When artistes step on stage, they feel within a state of splendour or magnificence.

Lead male dancer Paul Vaquero Gutierrez. - Ayanna Kinsale

They are possessed by an energy that transcends the physical. This feeling is intimate, it makes the artistes vulnerable; it leads them to the brink of what is possible, and no one knows just exactly what is going to happen next.”

She added: “It is precisely in that moment of unknowing that an artiste experiences glory, or gloria. Gloria releases pure creativity, and fuses the artiste, the music and the audience until the three become one.

Gloria is not the experience of an individual artiste, it is a shared experience by all who feel the intensity, passion and infinite creativity of the performance.”

Dancers Natalia Sanchez and Isabel Carolina Estrada-Jamison – led by flamenco specialist dancer, choreographer and artistic director Sonia Olla, who performed in TT in 2016 – demonstrated various types of flamenco: alegrías, bulerías, fandango and seguiriyas.

Lead male dancer Paul Vaquero Gutierrez had the crowd mesmerised with his footwork. Olla’s husband, musical director Ismael Fernandez, did all the vocals while accompanying music came from Yerai Cortés Merino on guitar and Jose Manuel Ruiz Motos on percussion.

The surprise of the night came when guest artiste Khion De Las brought his pan onstage to perform alongside the other musicians.

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