Bühl Review, 15th March 2010

Badisches Tagblatt Bühlot-Acher-Kurier

The pain of the world expressed in just one syllable

Flamenco dancer Bettina Castaño and her five-man ensemble delight the audience at the Bürgerhaus Neuer Markt

By Wolfgang Winter

Bühl – A grandious performance at the Bürgerhaus Neuer Markt . Flamenco dancer Bettina Castaño and her five-man accompanying ensemble were praised with a standing ovation from a delighted audience

Castaño loves variety. She is the first flamenco dancer in the world to dance to Afghani percussionists in 7/8 time, to tap her heels to Bach's cello suites, or to cooperate with a group of Appenzell folk musicians. In Bühl, it was time for the 'Pulse of India'. A heading which only partly explains the depth of the musical expression performed – and this was by no means a disadvantage to the public.

The prgramme began with a typical Spanish 'Granaina' and a 'Rumba Mora', played by the excellent guitarrists El Espina and Mariano Campallo. The virtuoso guitarrists' playing techniques , from the triple slap technique 'Alzapua' to the racey string cyclone of the 'Rasgueado', are mastered with great confidence. A duo evening with El Espina and Campallo alone would have been worth the entrance fee.

Bettina Castaño on the stage at the Bühler Bürgerhaus – supported by singer David Hornillo and the flamenco guitarrist El Espina.

Singer, David Hornillo, born in 1981, is the third member of the brilliant flamenco quartet. On this evening, the star finds the 'expresión de uno mismo' – the expression of one's self – which is hoped of a flamenco singer. Purely his endless 'Ay' seems to hide the pain of the planet in it. The famous singer Angelita Gómez explained the requirement of flamenco vocals, 'one can feel the pain and the music creates more, and so it feels even more intense – and then feelings can change – one overcomes the pain by expressing it.' The cantaor (flamenco singer) Rafael Herida says however, 'the vocal melody should be short, so that it sticks on the teeth of the audience like little caramel sweets.

The 'Seguiriya', which was played by the three musicians, and legendarily danced by Bettina Castaño, was the highlight of the Flamenco part of the performance. A touch of world music could be heard too, which was partly remeniscent of John Mclaughlin's 'Shakti', to which Castaño's dance style was charmingly and gracefully adapted.

Foto: Grandious performance – Bettina Castaño is the first flamenco dancer in the world to dance to Bach's cello suites and to Afghan percussion in 7/8 time. -Standig ovations for this event.

The manifold Indian pulse is kept beating expertly by the south Indian percussion artists Mattanur Sankarankutty (chenda) and Karuna Moorthy (tavil). Their superior, and unimaginably time intensive training, in which the total commitment of the students to the teacher, who is honoured as 'Guru', is expected, has enabled them to reach a breath-taking level of achievement. Sankarankutty's familiy has been part of the percussion traditions of the Mattanur temple in Kerala for generations. As a six-year-old, the talented new generation drummer had his first lesson. The perfectly coordinated ensemble were met with enthusiastic applause by the public.

"Sensing the music frees the dancing muse."

Bettina Castaño