Flamenco Bi&ënale

Project

In the media

Flamenco World Com (ES):

'What usually happens with these kinds of initiatives - which attempt, with greater or lesser luck, to demonstrate empirically that the roots of the jondo art lie in the East - is that both parts don’t know each other well enough to tackle a deep dialogue and the common lexicon is usually too limited for the conversation to flow naturally. Indeed, that resource is worked on extensively in 'Qasida', with encounters to the beat of fandangos, tientos and tangos, seguiriyas and even bulerías (seen from our flamenco perspective). But if this project goes beyond those structural contacts, it’s because of the search for a common emotional tone based on vocals. Something which is possible due to the compatibility between the two singers, comparisons aside. Rosario la Tremendita has that way of uttering flamenco cante which is sugary and lyrical, malleable and perfectionist, over-elaborate in the forms and musically intuitive. Mohammad Motamedi, coming from a much older and studied tradition, applies training and sophistication to singing, with exquisite techniques that are known to be age-old, historical. Their communion was achieved more in the first part than in the second. And it was so due to climatic, emotional, temporary reasons... or rather, timeless ones. An encounter which materialized with full-fledged intensity in the lullaby, a free space to sketch out the cantes slowly, with space and with emotion. Not in time, but timeless. Then they would coincide at given moments, through instrumental connections (percussion, guitar, kemanche, contrabass), through rhythms and, finally, according to the magic number three which joins us all, through fandangos. The ‘ayeos’ grew at the end, were superimposed, were multiplied sentimentally and, for an instant, it seemed like everything fit together... until the cantaora made the cocky flamenco move of getting up, leaving the finish halfway and, in passing, leaving her Persian colleague alone and the audience perplexed. Sharing has to be much more than singing, much more than being flamenco.'

Anda (GER)

"I am very impressed by the openness of the Dutch. I still have a fusion of Iranian music and flamenco in the ear: a bold gamble to bring different cultures together on stage to improvise.'

Songlines (UK)
 
'The Qasida project, one of the highlights of the third Netherlands Biennale, pursued a vital 
dialogue of traditions, involving the melismatic vocal techniques of Rosario La Tremendita and 
Mohammad Motamedi from iran. The contrast between the sheer beauty of flamenco’s distilled, 
passionate outpourings of the heart and the more inward, mystical philosophies of Persian poetry 
met exquisitely in a host of styles that searched for common ground.'

De Volkskrant (NL)
La Tremendita causes sensation at Bimhuis *****

'An exhilarating meeting between Spain and Iran.
Amsterdam – For festival to create their own combinations of contrasting musical traditions is often 
a precarious enterprise. Fortunately, flamenco singer Rosario 'La Tremendita' was given her own 
choice from a pre-selection of classical Persian vocalists. She chose Mohammad Motamedi (32), who 
flew in from Iran for the third edition of the Flamenco Biennial for a musical dialogue with the 26-
year-old Sevillian flamenco sensation.
The encounter proved to be a thrilling night. In spite of the common ground between both 
traditions, there are also fundamental differences that on paper are close to insurmountable. For 
example, flamenco artists tend to get straight for the jugular in terms of emotional intensity, while 
Iranian artists prefer to take the most circuitous route possible towards the emotional climax.
The traditions are also far removed in terms of their ideal sound. In Spain, duende is often gauged in 
terms of the raggedness of the vocal cords; the classical Iranian singing voice nimbly and smoothly 
glides through the registers. 
La Tremendita did not have to change her style too much, as Motamedi proved to be a gallant and 
obliging partner. The absence of most of the instruments typical of classical Persian music may have 
been due to cost, but it did the flamenco musicians no end of favours. The tar or long-necked lute 
would have cramped Salvador Gutierres' flamenco guitar for space, and the tombak, or goblet drum, 
is ill-suited to the rhythmic eruptions of flamenco. So grooves were picked that all could appreciate. 
Only once did Motamedi travel a straight path from stillness to ecstasy; after that, he parried La 
Tremendita's vocal fury in a question and answer play with some impressive examples of tahrir – 
virtuoso adornment in the highest vocal registers. 
The first steps towards musical integration were made by Gutierrez, providing harmonic 
counterpoints to Sina Jahanabadiís on the Iranian kemanche or bowed lyre. When an hour into the 
show the voices of Mohammad and Rosario finally spiralled together, the climax this produced was 
such that it led to confusion about the rest of the show. A standing ovation forced festival director 
Ernestina van de Noort to come on stage and announce that this was just the intermission.'

 

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