This story was posted on Artburst Miami in March, 2016
The collaboration between Cuban jazz pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Spanish flamenco singer Esperanza Fernández brings together two artists who, while superb in their own traditions, have never been afraid to step out of them, take risks and explore.
Son of Guillermo Rubalcaba and grandson of Jacobo Rubalcaba, both illustrious musicians, Gonzalo grew up in the tradition before setting his own path in jazz, including jazz-rock fusion, Afro-Cuban jazz and post-bop, but also excelling while exploring classical music, danzones and Mexican boleros. Fernández, a gypsy from Triana, the quintessential flamenco neighborhood of Seville, was, like Rubalcaba, born and raised in the tradition, in her case, flamenco. She has appeared with flamenco royalty such as Paco De Lucia, Camarón de la Isla and Enrique Morente, but has also explored collaborations with classical orchestras (performing and recording Falla´s “El Amor Brujo,” for example), jazz ensembles and flamenco innovators such as guitarists Niño Josele and Gerardo Nuñez and saxophonist Perico Sambeat.
In “Oh, Vida!,” a show at the Arsht Center on Friday, March 4, part of Flamenco Festival Miami and commissioned by the Arsht for its 10th anniversary, Rubalcaba and Fernández will be exploring the styles and repertoires of two singers who became iconic figures in their respective genres: Beny Moré in Afro-Cuban music and Manolo Caracol in flamenco.
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