On Saturday night I had the rare privilege of seeing MORE FLAMENCO, MORE JAZZ with the Linda Vargas Flamenco Company accompanied by Flamenco guitar legend Demi Fernandes and KZN jazz pianist Neil Goncalves. Well, it was an uplifting experience once again which reminded of the hidden treasures of the KZN art & culture scene.
Let me begin by paying tribute to the self-effacing Demi Fernandes whose Flamenco guitar work is the best SA has to offer. I’m told he is highly regarded in Flamenco circles worldwide but he quietly plies his trade as a lecturer in music at UKZN and hardly gets a mention in our regions arts & culture reportage. In this show he has chosen to mix it up with Neil Goncalves to create a very interesting jazz/flamenco mix that works very well. One forgets that he is also a consumate jazz guitarist as well.
Add to that the passionate dancing of the Linda Vargas Flamenco company led by Linda Vargas herself, and you have an explosive evening of dance, rhythm and syncopation. Young Ramon Vargas has matured into one of the most exciting young male flamenco dancers I have seen in ages. If he continues down this road, I predict and international career.
Another hidden treasure, is the UKZN Jazz Centre, which quietly carries on producing wonderful musicians and jazz bands for the city. On the other side of town, led by the irrepressible Jerry Pooe, is the Wushwini Arts centre in the wonderfully scenic Inanda dam area. Whenever, I take visiting artists to visit Wushwini they are blown away by the beauty and the talent that they see in action. How many Durbanites have ever been? How many of the Mercury Durban Theatre awards Judges have ever been to see one of their shows? It’s awards season soon. I wonder if their are any serious nominees from the Eager Artists group that work at Wushwini?