A Latin jazz vocalist accompanied by a flamenco dancer, combined with a classical guitarist, a nyatiti player and an Indian classical dancer, all in one performance.
Music and dance from five continents are brought together in one concert at the Kenya National Theatre on February 13. Jazz singer Wanny Angerer from Honduras will perform along with flamenco dancer Anita Loynaz from Venezuela.
The concert also features nyatiti player Atisanna, tabla (Indian hand drums) player Pritam Virdee and flamenco guitarist Ricardo Garcia and dancer Madhvi Dalal.
Since moving to Nairobi in 2014, Wanny established Moving Cultures, a network of more than 40 artists in Zimbabwe, India, Panama, Colombia, and Austria, Kenya and her native Honduras. The network regularly brings together artists from these countries for performance and collaboration.
Over 20 shows
“This concert will showcase the tradition of flamenco music and its evolution from a traditional dance into a contemporary style of music and dance,” says Wanny.
Flamenco is a popular dance originally from Andalucia in southern Spain known for expressive use of arms and rhythmic stamping of feet. It is an art form that is also made up of flamenco guitar playing and song.
This is the first trip to Africa by Loynaz who is originally from Venezuela but is based in Panama. She has shared the stage with great flamenco artists like Farruquito, Domingo Ortega, Alfonso Losa, Diego El Cigala and Alejandro Sanz.
She started the Panama Flamenco Festival and runs the Anita Loynaz Dance Academy.
Loynaz will be on stage with jazz singer Wanny with whom she has performed at over 20 shows in three years.
Wanny has a varied repertoire including the jazz standard “All of Me” by Ruth Etting, the popular Mexican bolero “Besame Mucho” and “Moliendo Café” a Venezuelan song that has become a global favorite.
Her performance also includes the Latin classics “Guantanamera” and “La Bamba” and a rendition of the classic “Malaika”.
Kevin Muriu Munyi who was a beneficiary of a flamenco music workshop that was conducted by Moving Cultures at the Kenya Conservatoire of Music in 2017 will be playing a set of flamenco guitar.
Munyi describes his style as a melting pot of the ‘dexterity of classical guitar, the romanticism of Spanish guitar and the flair of flamenco’.
“This concert is proof that music is the force that that brings us all together, no matter our backgrounds and cultures,” says Munyi. He currently plays as the resident guitarist at La Ceviche, a Spanish restaurant in Nairobi
Love and anger
Madhvi Dalal will present a combination of her specialty, Bharatanatyam, a dance style from Tamil Nadu in South India, together with contemporary dance.
Her performance is a dream sequence, which is the story of girl waking up from a night of romantic passion only to find that her lover left her in the course of the night.
“Her expression goes from being deeply in love to anger,” says Madhvi. “It is a dance that uses movements, hand gestures and facial expressions to convey a story,” she adds.
Performing at the Kenya National Theatre has an emotional connection for Madhvi because its here that she was trained in Indian classical dance in 1993.
Spanish guitarist Ricardo Garcia is making a return to Kenya, where he has performed every year since his maiden show in Nairobi in 2010.
Garcia, who is of Andalucian origin, plays a style of flamenco that draws from his wide experiences in Africa and his appreciation for genres like jazz. He joined the Moving Cultures network after meeting Angerer in India where she lived from 2006 to 2010.
“The concert represents four continents, Europe, America, Africa and Asia and is proof that there is unity in diversity,” saysWanny. The concert on February 13 opens at 7pm with a rumba set by the Orchestra Masika followed by a nyatiti performance by Atisanna.
The Kisumu-based artist has broken the barriers by becoming one of the few female players of the eight stringed traditional lyre. She has been playing the nyatiti since 2010 when she took lessons at the hands of the famous maestro Joseph Nyamungu at the Kenya National Theatre.
“I will be playing the nyatiti alongside Wanny’s vocals on the bolero Besame Mucho so that should really be an exciting fusion,” says Atisanna.
Indian percussionist Pritam Virdee, who has played alongside maestros like Ustad Shahid Pervez, Ustad Bashir, will then take to the stage to play a set of tabla
He will be followed by Munyi’s solo guitar session before the highlight of the evening, which is the performance by Wanny accompanied by flamenco dancer Anita Loynaz.