Paco de Lucía: Impassioned Flamenco at Lisner
Monday, February 12, 2007 at 11:03AM
Stephen Brookes

February 12, 2007

paco.jpgThe Washington Post 2/12/07:  Is there any music in the world more sensual, more hot-blooded, more searingly human than flamenco? Anyone who heard guitarist Paco de Lucía at Lisner Auditorium on Friday night would be hard-pressed to say anything but no. For more than two hours, de Lucía unleashed a firestorm of Andalusian passion on the sold-out house -- an eloquent and wildly exciting performance that showed why he ranks among the world's greatest guitarists.

It was a spectacular launch to George Washington University's seventh annual Flamenco Festival, which continues with performances all week. Opening with a solo "Rodena" -- an introspective work that erupts into sudden dramatic flourishes and sweeping runs -- de Lucía explored a range of his pioneering "new flamenco" compositions, as well as more traditional works.

And all of it was spellbinding. De Lucía's mastery of the flamenco guitar is unequaled, and not only in terms of blinding speed. More impressive is the gravity and profound dignity that lie behind every note -- even the most sensual -- and the subtle inflections that evoke musical landscapes few others can even imagine.

De Lucía was joined in "Solea" by vocalists Chonchi Heredia and Montserrat Cortes -- whose husky cries and moving lamentations felt like they were being torn physically from their bodies -- and by the superb percussionist Israel Suárez (El Piraña) in a furious "Buleria." The entire band joined forces after intermission, with Antonio Serrano taking solos on harmonica that were technically impressive but without much blood in their veins, while bassist Alain Pérez and guitarist Niño Josele played brilliantly and with unrestrained fire. 

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