Lia Grainger.

Flamenco ensemble begins tour in Nelson

Canadian group is based in Madrid, Spain

A Canadian flamenco music and dance ensemble based in Spain will be kicking off a 40-city tour with a stop in Nelson.

Lia Grainger is the lead dancer in Spain-based, Canadian flamenco music and dance ensemble Fin de Fiesta Flamenco. She’s spent the past year in Madrid, assembling the group’s new production, SALVAJE, featuring two dancers and live flamenco guitar, flute, singing and percussion. Fin de Fiesta will tour the production across Canada this summer, and will be performing for the first time ever in Nelson on July 19, at Shambhala Music Hall.

Though she was once an elite level basketball player and professional journalist, she gave it all up and now lives in Madrid, Spain, where she studies flamenco dance four hours a day with some of the world’s most celebrated flamenco dancers.

She is not the only person to live this way. Spain’s metropolitan centres today are populated by almost as many flamenco students as tourists. There are dancers and guitarists young and old from around the world — Japan, Australia, England, South Africa, France, Israel, the U.S., Canada and more — that have chosen to give up everything to move to Spain and commit themselves full-time to the study of a completely foreign art form.

“I’ve given this a lot of thought, and there really is nothing comparable to the bizarre, concentrated little world of obsessive aficionados that exists today in cities like Seville and Madrid,” says Grainger

“Flamenco was always a part of a crazy subculture populated by gypsies and street musicians, and now it’s been infiltrated by random, passionate artists and wannabes from around the world.”

This subculture in Seville and Madrid feeds Fin De Fiesta Flamenco, a flamenco music and dance ensemble made up of four Canadians French singer, and a Cuban percussionist.

Apart from Grainger, there is guitarist Dennis Duffin, who has his phd in Astrophysics from McMasters, but who has given up scholarly pursuits to pursue flamenco and who has been based in Sevilla for five years. There’s also Alejandro Mendia, a French flamenco singer who has toured the world, France-based Canadian dancer Deborah “La Caramelita,” McGill-trained flautist Lara Wong, and Hanser Gomez, an in-demand Cuban percussionist now based in Montreal.

July 19 will be the acclaimed ensemble’s first stop on this 40-show tour, and their first time in Nelson.

“We can’t wait to share our new show, SALVAJE, with the people of Nelson,” says Grainger, “Lovingly assembled in the sweltering studios of Madrid, Spain.”

For more information on the group and their upcoming performance, visit www.findefiestaflamenco.com.

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