This review originally appeared in Songlines #107 (April/May 2015) p85. Photo: Fotohuta
These two shows, which were part of the London Flamenco Festival at Sadler’s Wells, showcased opposite sides of the flamenco spectrum. The Sunday night show featured Gerardo Núñez, a leading flamenco guitarist with guest Gypsy dancer, Carmen Cortés. His playing was technically masterful and yet at the same time the show remained light-hearted fun. Núñez was supported by impressive bass from Pablo Martín Caminero and cajón from Ángel Sánchez González. The two even performed a fun duo with González using Caminero’s bass as percussion. However, the overly expressive and melismatic singing by David Carpio wouldn’t have been missed, and the dancing by Cortés, while earthy and certainly not lacking in passion, often felt off-balance. There was a lovely rapport between everyone, with jokes and laughter throughout. The encore even ended with each musician taking his turn at feigning some fancy footwork; Núñez proved to be a much better guitarist.
The following night saw dancer Eva Yerbabuena take the stage with her modern brand of flamenco. While her technique is undeniable, the first half was too modern for this reviewer, with only the occasional reference to traditional dance and far too much solemnity. Though, it should be said that the singing – shared between Enrique El Extremeño, José Valencia, Juan Jose Amador – far surpassed that of the previous evening; it was truly gripping and they carried the show almost as much as Yerbabuena. The second half saw the dancer delve deeper in her flamenco roots and come up trumps with a passionate finale.