Melón Jimenez & Lara Wong Flamenco Ensemble
Thursday, August 24, 2023 | 8:00pm
St. James Hall
3214 W 10th Ave, Vancouver, BC V6K 2L2
Presented in Collaboration with the Rogue Folk Club.
The Melón Jimenez & Lara Wong Flamenco Ensemble is a dynamic encounter of dazzling flamenco guitar riffs, sophisticated percussive soundscapes, mystical bansuri melodies, and fiery flamenco dance. Led by award-winning Canadian flutist and bansuri player, Lara Wong and one of Spain's top flamenco guitarists, Melón Jiménez, they are joined by flamenco dancer Deborah "La Caramelita" and French percussionist Alex Carrasco, to create an enchanting experience that transcends musical boundaries. Their music is inspired by flamenco's Indian and Arabic origins and harmoniously unites these traditions into modern flamenco.
Melón and Lara first met on stage in the flamenco-jazz capital of Madrid, and since then they have captivated audiences worldwide at prestigious festivals such as SunFest, TaiwanFest, Festival de Musica Andalusi de Fez, and Suma Flamenca.
Melón Jiménez & Lara Wong
"…the result is stunning; it is fluid, it is sensual and fully embodies the spirit of flamenco: virtuosity and passion."
"Melón Jiménez is a guitarist to watch. He has an alluring style that presents prodigiously performed, masterfully crafted compositions, exposing guitar complexities and a skill for bridging tradition and modernity"
-World Music Central
"Emanating on-stage magnetism and artistic talent”. -Historia de un Amor: Flamenco Jazz
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Lara Wong is a distinctive and promising voice in the world music scene. After completing her degree in classical and jazz performance at McGill University, Lara went to study flamenco in its birthplace, Andalucia. Today, she is a prominent figure in the flamenco scene and is known for adapting the Indian bansuri flute into flamenco. In 2021, Lara made history when she won the first prize award for best flamenco instrumentalist at the Festival Cante de las Minas, making her the first foreign prize winner in the festival's 60 year history. Lara has played in festivals across Canada and Europe and has collaborated with artists like, Tino di Geraldo, Juan Andres Maya, and Pepe Rivero. In 2022, she released her first album, Rosa de los Vientos, which was produced by Melón Jiménez.
Guitarist Melón Jiménez is both devoted to the tradition of his Andalusian gypsy roots and to the innovation of the flamenco guitar. Having been born into a musically and culturally diverse family, (his mother, a German classical pianist and his father, a flamenco guitarist from Jerez), Melón developed a unique style of playing, incorporating all of the different techniques and sounds he experienced over the years. His musical versatility has led to collaborations with artists of all genres such as: Anoushka Shankar, Enrique Morente, Richard Bona, Niña Pastori, and Jorge Pardo. Melón was also a finalist in several competitions such as the Paco de Lucia Awards and the National Flamenco Competition in Cordoba. He released his second album, Ecos de Magerit, in October 2022.
Alex CARRASCO is a talented percussionist and multi-instrumentalist from Spain and France. He received a diploma in contemporary music before embarking on an extensive apprenticeship in Flamenco in Seville. He has shared the stage with many renowned flamenco and world music artists. He has participated in a diverse range of creative projects, including traditional flamenco percussion, co-arrangement for BENABAR (2018-2022), self-comp-singing in METISOLEA‘ (2004-2016, 4 albums), creations for dance shows, and keyboard playing for DUENDE (salsa-reggae, 2008-2017).
Deborah "La Caramelita" is an Indo-Canadian flamenco dancer based in France whose unique style is inspired by the sensuality of flamenco and her Indian heritage. The versatility of this young dancer has taken her around the world (Ecuador, Portugal, Canada, Spain, Malaysia, Russia, Morocco, France, Switzerland, Mexico, USA). Deborah "La Caramelita" began her flamenco journey in Vancouver, at Centro Flamenco's professional dance program founded by Rosario Ancer and her passion led her to Andalucía where she studied with exceptional dancers such as Juana Amaya, Carmen Ledesma, Manuel Liñán, La Moneta and Miguel Ángel Heredia. With respect to her Indian heritage, Deborah "La Caramelita" has created many parallels to these rich origins in her dance. As a young Indian growing up in Canada, this history drew Deborah to flamenco and remains an important part of her artistic influence. She continues to explore these parallels in her collaborations with Lara Wong. Deborah is based in Bordeaux, France, where she leads the Caramelita Flamenco Company with her husband, singer Alejandro Mendía. She also performs regularly with world music fusion band, QAIRO.