Flamenco: the very word conjures pictures of lovely Spanish ladies with swirling skirts stamping their feet to stirring music. But real flamenco is much, much more. For those in the know, true flamenco is a marriage of voice, guitar and dance. It first evolved from musical stories handed down from one generation to another much like folk music the world over. Later came the rhythmic, pulsating guitars, and later still came the final element - the dancers.
And the Sunshine Coast is fortunate to have in its midst a flamenco purist.
Angel Romero was born in Malaga, Spain. He learned as a young person the songs of the flamenco. He is an Andalusian Gypsy, the true authentic masters of the flamenco. Romero is al cante (the singer.) He's also the principal of the company that will be performing at the Heritage Playhouse on Sept. 25. "I bring my company to perform every year on the Coast because I live here. The company is an international level flamenco company," Romero said.
He said the audience does not have to be knowledgeable in the art of flamenco to appreciate its beauty.
"The different pieces in the program will explain how flamenco evolved," he said.
Purists of the art form will be able to use the show as a yardstick to judge any other show billing itself as flamenco. "The audience will be able to compare real flamenco to bad flamenco," Romero explained.
And Romero should know - he's been a professional flamenco performer since age 17. He took lessons in Madrid and later performed in dablaos (flamenco places) in the Spanish city.
He's also been in many festivals in Spain. Romero made recordings in his native country and appeared on television in Spain and other parts of Europe.
But he's now happily ensconced in Gibsons. There he has a small farm and looks after the animals he loves.
Romero said the tranquility is what sold him on the Sunshine Coast -a sharp contrast to the passion displayed in the flamenco he is happy to share with his neighbours.
"It will be a fantastic concert. The magic that appears when everything goes right in a flamenco concert will be there for the audience," he assures.
Joining Romero are a guitarist and two dancers. One of the dancers, Bonnie Stewart, grew up on the Sunshine Coast. Stewart went to Elphinstone Secondary School before going on to the University of B.C.
Romero is keen on the talent of the dancers.
"The extraordinary fluency in the world of flamenco dance is something to be seen," he enthuses.
If the beauty and passion of the flamenco cause your heart to beat faster, make Sept. 25 a night to remember. The tickets are available at Daffadowndilly Gallery in Lower Gibsons (next to Bayview Restaurant) and at the Roberts Creek Store.