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Corazón de Granada: Flamenco Joven y Jondo

Granada, Spain

Corazón de Granada: Flamenco Joven y Jondo

Although the historic city of Granada in Spain’s southern autonomous region of Andalucia is home to the famed Alhambra palace and the cave dwellings of the Sacromonte, it is perhaps best known for its impassioned flamenco culture. The three artists of Corazón de Granada: Flamenco Joven y Jondo have a name that acknowledges their youth in a tradition that often prioritizes a lifetime of mastery (joven means “young”) but also asserts their deep (jondo) dedication to flamenco, indeed the heart (corazón) of Granada.

Flamenco emerged in Spain around the turn of the 20th century, born of the rich cultural interaction between gypsy music, with its South Asian roots, and Andalusian folk culture, which drew heavily from both Islamic and Jewish traditions. Central to the power of flamenco is the concept of duende, a moment of such profound emotional expression that time, and the barrier between audience and performer, disappears.

Growing up in Granada, guitarist Pablo Giménez began to study flamenco guitar at age eight under the tutelage of his father, acclaimed guitarist Juan Miguel Giménez. Pablo has mastered both classical and flamenco guitar, having earned a degree in the former at the Victoria Eugenia Conservatory, and now completing studies in the latter at the prestigious Rafael Orozco Conservatory. He has performed solo guitar to rave reviews around the world.

Victoria Macias has been dancing since the age of four. She began her professional career at age 12 with the company of Maite Galán, and has trained at the Reina Sofía and Carmen Amaya Conservatories in Granada and Madrid. In the gorgeous, long-trained bata de cola dress characteristic of flamenco, Victoria’s precise yet expressive steps have earned her praise across Spain as a dancer with duende.

While conservatory training is common among today’s best flamenco musicians and dancers, the skills and repertoire of the singer are still typically transmitted from master to student in familial relationships or apprenticeships. Alejandro Luján was born into a family of flamenco singers, and is known as El Gambimbas, a stage name handed down in his family through five generations. By age eight, he was studying with masters like Luis el Zambo, Arcangel, and El Pele, and while still a teenager he won first prize at the I Pepe Luis Habichuela contest for young flamenco singers held annually in the Sacromonte.

Together these three emerging masters bring to the stages of Richmond the same heartfelt duende that thrills flamenco devotees in the intimate tablao bars of Granada.