Esencia Flamenca is a Comox Valley-based flamenco troupe of musicians and dancers.
Though not authentically from Spain, they deliver a passion for flamenco that is straight from the heart, engaging and inspired.
They perform this Thursday at the Zocalo Café from 7 to 9 p.m.
The show is a celebration of the beautiful and multi-faceted music and dance traditions that were born in the Middle Ages with the arrival of gypsy people in the Andalusia region of Spain. Drawing from ancient sources, the flamenco art form encompasses deep Arabic, Indian and African roots.
Featured flamenco dancers are Tomomi Osaki and her students Edith Jacob and Laura Busheikin. Oscar Robles is on guitar and Britt Bowman on vocals with Osaki and Robles also featured as vocalists at times.
Fiery footwork (zapateos) and rhythmic handclaps (palmas) also contribute an essential part of the music.
As is typical of flamenco shows in Spain, the repertoire the Esencia Flamenca group will present at the Zocalo Café comprises a variety of palos (song forms); and, there are many. Rumbas and tangos are some examples of different flamenco palos. Alegrias, bulerias, soleares and tientos are other examples, each with a unique sound and feeling.
Osaki has been dancing flamenco for going on 20 years. She is founder and teacher at the Comox Valley Flamenco Studio in Fanny Bay.
She recently began teaching flamenco dance to students at Pantuso Studios in Courtenay. Her studies of the art form began in her native country Japan, where flamenco has a huge following as well as a strong movement of local artists.
Ozaki has studied with many internationally renowned Flamenco dancers from Spain including José Galván, Adrián Galia, Eva La Yerbabuena, Juana Amaya, Angelita Vargas, El Toleo and Susana Escoda.
The Zocalo kitchen features authentic tapas on special which, served with wine, make a perfect pairing for the Spanish-themed evening.
There is no cover charge to see Esencia Flamenca’s performance at the Zocalo, but donations are gratefully accepted. As seating is limited, dinner reservations are recommended for large groups and must be made by phoning 250-331-0933.
The Zocalo is at Fifth Street and Cliffe Avenue in Courtenay. For more information, visit www.zocalocafe.ca.
Whether performing as a solo artist or presenting as part of a group, Mexico-born musician Oscar Robles Diaz performs monthly at the Zocalo on the third Thursday of each month.
— Buleria Productions