Flamenco Takes Over at Berklee

By 
Sophie Maricq
November 18, 2011
The Young Flamenco Project
Photo provided by the artist

The Young Flamenco project is an initiative of Berklee College of Music and SPAIN arts & culture to promote the career of young Spanish flamenco artists in the United States and spread this rich musical language at an international level.

SPAIN arts & culture works to diffuse Spanish culture in the U.S. One of its main objectives is to assist the exchange between cultural creators of both countries.

On November 11, five amazing young flamenco talents—dancer Belen Lopez, singers Saul Quirós and Tamara Escudero, guitar player Israel Suarez, and percussionist El Chispas—traveled from Spain to Boston. For the first time, flamenco music took over Berklee College of Music.

For one intense and extremely productive week, Javier Limón and Victor Mendoza worked in a recording studio with the flamenco artists and nine very talented young Berklee musicians of hailing from many different countries, including the U.S., Puerto Rico, Spain, and Venezuela. They worked on a repertoire divided mainly in two sections: classical flamenco and Latin-flamenco fusion. Most of the compositions were arranged on the spot under the musical direction of Limón and Mendoza and with active participation of all musicians.

After a week of hard work and fusion of cultures and music, part of the Young Flamenco 2011 album, sponsored by Spain us Culture Foundation, was recorded. The artists' visit culminated on November 17 with the Young Flamenco concert at the Berklee Performance Center.

The week was a great experience for the flamenco artists, many who had never been to the U.S., but also for the Berklee musicians. A highlight during the first rehearsal was when Berklee students, including drummer Oscar Sushanek and piano player Evan , heard just a couple of bars of Belen Lopez's rhythmic footwork and could not believe their ears and eyes. There was a very special energy was created by the fusion of all music, cultures, and amazing talent.