Review Bensheim/Fürstenlager from 3.8.2009

Darmstadt Echo 3.8.09 – Summer Music Festival – Bettina Castaño and Hakim Ludin delight viewers with a fusion of flamenco and percussion.

Summer Festival: First-class concert with Bettina Castaño and Hakim Ludin

Firey dance, mystical sounds

AUERBACH. What luck that that Bettina Castaño and Hakim Ludin met 15 years ago in Karlsruhe, and have performed together ever since – as what they offered the public at the International Summer Music Festival at the Fürstenlager was sensational. Flamenco style and world-class percussion sounds delight guests at the Festival. Bettina Castaño and Hakim Ludin were at the Fürstenlager. DF/ Picture - FUNCK

The festival manager Klaus P Becker has had the pleasure of welcoming the excellent flamenco dancer to the festival many times since her premier in 1994, and percussionist Hakim Ludin was also already a guest, however, their peformance together on Saturday evening at the Gesundbrunnen , which was full to bursting point, was 'for us, an absolute premiere'.

Classical and exotic

The programme offered a symbiosis of flamenco and percussion. This promise was more than fulfilled. Under the name 'hands and feet', both artists delivered a performance that proved that flamenco works even without a guitar. With a complete arsenal of the most different of instruments, Hakim Ludin presented a large range of rhythms which were fused with dance by Bettina Castaño. Both the range of sound and dance impressed the audience again and again. In addition to classic elements of flamenco such as castanettes or cajon, the public were able to hear exotic instruments such as the 'hang' , which can be pictured like the lid of a wok, and creates mystical tones.

Bettina Castaño and Hakim Ludin had already proved in the first part of the programme, that flamenco is above all, a perfectly coordinated dialogue between dancer and the accompanying musician, however, the audience were able to keep the second part even longer in memory. Both artists gave an introduction into their profession. Hakim Ludin took a trip to India in order to show where some of the rhythmical elements of flamenco have their roots, and gave a short clap workshop ( ' rhythmic ayurveda') to those of the public who were willing to take part. After that, he demonstrated the variety of rhythm which the world has to offer on the Kanjira ( a frame drum) and on two bongo drums ('you know this from early musical education') in a virtuosic way. Hakim Ludin is also a wonderful entertainer, without a doubt.

Following that, Bettina Castaño gave the public a crash course in the different elements of flamenco. Of course, different sounds can be produced by stamping the foot in different ways, but there is more – body percussion and the snapping of fingers also influences the sound of flamenco.

Thorough enjoyment

Equipped with a background knowledge, the public followed the second part eaxctly as enthusiastically as they had done in the first section. Hakim Ludin travelled accoustically from Bollywood to the rainforests of South America. It didn't matter which rhythm he produced, Bettina Castaño translated it flawlessly into flamenco everytime, so that the audience thoroughly enjoyed watching and listening to the performance, from beginning to end.

The fürstenlager's unique ambience on a warm summer's evening was an additional plus point for the performance. Whoever glanced over the top of the stage, saw an evening sky drenched in a blue-violet light, making the event a festival of the senses for all those present. 

"Sensing the music frees the dancing muse."

Bettina Castaño