Review: Paco de Lucía – Beyond the Memory with Chano Domínguez & Niño Josele @ Barbican (London, 9th December 2015)

Flamenco fans young and old descended on the Barbican last week for an exquisite early Christmas present in the shape of a tribute concert to Paco de Lucía – the undisputed father of modern Flamenco.

Paco de Lucía’s collaborations not only infiltrated jazz and classical music, but rejuvenated the Andalusian style, spawning nuevo flamenco. Introducing the cajón, saxophone and fretless electric bass, Paco stayed true to flamenco’s passionate soul whilst bringing it to new audiences – a sentiment reflected in this tribute concert.

Nino Josele and Chano Dominguez kicked off ‘Beyond the Memory’ (named after a new documentary on de Lucía) with a collection of pieces from their new album Chano y Josele, and songs crafted by the master himself. The duo proved to be exemplars of the abiding influence of de Lucía. Both grew up steeped in flamenco blood. Their achingly beautiful covers of Lennon and McCartney’s ‘Because’ and de Lucía’s ‘Cancion de Amor’ transfixed the audience from the outset.

The second half showcased a collective of key members of the Paco de Lucía ensembles. The soulful sounds of Jorge Pardo’s flute tangoed with the bluesy twang of Antonio Serrano’s harmonica, while the wailing of flamenco cantaor Duquende pierced the booming tones of Pirana’s and Rubem Dantas’ cajónes. The lightning-footed Farru provided the night’s el baile flamenco, while covers of ‘Entre dos aguas’ and ‘Zyryab’ were interspersed with clips from the film ‘Beyond the Memory’.

The highlight of the evening came when the intensely talented Jorge Pardo performed a taranta. Taught the taranta by Camarón de la Isla and Paco, Jorge described its origin as a deep blues from the mines of Cartagena and Almería. His performance of ‘El Barranco del Tesoro’ was magical and sorrowful.

The theme of the evening, ‘Beyond the memory’, proved correct. It showed de Lucía as the renaissance man of flamenco music. The night was a tribute to the songs, the skills and to the man himself. It demonstrated that thanks to his inspiration beautiful music will continue to be created throughout Spain and beyond. The master has forged a legacy through the musicians he encouraged and the genre he redefined.

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