Writings and essays about flamenco

Category — Flamenco Dancer Israel Galvan

Flamenco Dancer Israel Galvan Opens Nimes Festival – 2014 report from eter.com – translated with comments by Brook Zern

“The magnificence with which this dancer from Seville delivers himself in “Lo Real” makes him planetary, preeminent and the precursor of a unique art that’s as much his own as it is universal, and that only Israel Galván commands. “

That’s an approximation of the last sentence of the accompanying link to an impressive online egghead Spanish publication, eter.es – the url is: http://www.eter.es/dn/actualidad/noticia.php?id=16740

The article begins by saying that the world of artistic productions in France is an an uproar (“an atmosphere of semi-psychosis”, to be precise), due to the cancellation of performances by a controversial (“polémico”) comic accused of anti-semitism.

Galván’s production that opened the Nimes Flamenco Festival is about the Nazi extermination of the Gypsies of Europe, but amid the hubbub its allusion to this subject “passed almost unnoticed.”

But despite this, “no one seemed to doubt the extremely high artistic quality of the performance: with song by David Lagos and Tomás de Perrate, guitar by Chicuelo; backup jaleo (hell-raising) by Bobote, plus piano, percussion, violin, saxophone and, among others, the special participation of the dancers Isabel Bayón and Belén Maya.

I’m sometimes asked why, if I think the rules and regs of the flamenco tradition are so crucial, I give this Galván character a free pass when he ignores everything.

Maybe it’s because I saw him dance a phenomenal, dead-on traditional bulerías barefoot in goofy shorts on the sand beach at Sanlúcar, just for the hell of it.  Or maybe it’s because he often transcends or obliterates all the barriers I try to impose on flamenco.

I revere most great flamenco artists because they are so local – so quintessentially Jerez or Seville or Morón.  Galván is non-local to such an extreme that the right word for his art is, indeed, planetary.  So much the better that, like it or not, and rules be damned, it is also flamenco.

Brook Zern

January 12, 2014   1 Comment