Home > City Journal, Music > Flamenco at the National Theatre

Flamenco at the National Theatre

The Spanish dance group called Sacramoente brought their unique mix of traditional and popular flamenco to the Addis Ababa National Theatre last night, creating an addictive foot tapping, clapping frenzy.What an entertaining show, that’s what people were saying as they left the theatre last night and I agree wholeheartedly with that.This is unlike most musical performance that I attended. An upeat performance that make you cheerful even if you don’t know what is being said.

The group that comprised four members are from a famous and popular area of the city of Granada-in Andalusia, the South of Spain-tightly linked with Flamenco traditions and cradle of the typical “Zambras” of Arab origin.

It was a Spanish ode to the Ethiopian Millennium celebration and it was with the “people-to- people relation’ speech that the event was started. 

   At around 6.40 P.M, the performance began with what was said grannia (guitarra), when one of the members started playing his classical guitar (also known as the Spanish guitar) hypnotizing the audience into a foot tapping rhythmic. The sound that came out was crisp like Antonii’s Bandra’s performance at the start of the film “Once Upon a time in Mexico”.

What followed was an energetic dance that included skillful footwork and vigorous, flowing arm movements.

 I have seen something  similar is in the popular Cuban rumba dance but not anything closer like this. The sound was pure magic.It was like being transformed into another world, where you want to dance your heart out and sing along. A frenetic guitar work and a passionate vocal!

As the performance progressed and the second part, called Alegrias, commenced, the group’s main singer began the mosaic-like, irregular rhythm and deep passion of flamenco music. Diminutive, a character and superb female dancer was outstanding throughout the evening and cleverly we saw many of her best dance skills. The incredible vocals, finely tuned with the warmth of even more skillful talent transported everyone to a distant holiday destination, full of fun, dancing and imaginary sangria.

That was followed by the tango (cante), a fiery solo dance, belonging rather to the Spanish Gypsies than the true Spainiards. But it has nothing in common with the Argentine tango that is more famous in Ethiopia. The sound was very clear and my only reservation was that some of the spotlight work could have been a little better timed.

 The audience was an unusual mixture of Europeans, Indians, Americans and Ethiopians that probably outnumbers of all.There was a fair share of clapping along but it was so amazing to see how the Sacramonte could appeal to the wide spectrum of ages and nationalities which made up the audience. With Addis’s ever increasing international communities it was no surprise to hear many Spanish voices within the audience. No question Addis is getting more and more multi cultural and cosmopolitan but this is one area Addis lags behind other major African capitals. We are still considered as ethnocentric people who really care for nothing other than us.  

 Overall a fine night out and confirmation that entertainment beats  the capacity audience clearly agreed. 


Categories: City Journal, Music
  1. yemeskelwef
    October 5, 2007 at 5:01 pm

    Excellent description!
    The show portrayed a broad range of flamenco; exciting and passionate; it touched my spirit, highly energetic and fluid; it still makes me want to dance (I am taking flamenco dance lessons….) Excellent!

  2. Getnet
    October 6, 2007 at 3:03 pm

    That’s a beautiful description of the event that featured the musical quartet sacramoente. As one of the attendants of the concert, I was really moved by the group’s passionate perofermance on the stage. Although, the flamenco tune was not new to my ear, as I am a huge fun of ‘The Gypsie Kings ‘, the group’s performance have made me realised that , there is something really special about that music, something electrifying.

    The Ethiopian cultural music show, which took over right after the quartet’s performance was also very impressive. Infact, it has made everyone in the audiance burst into exectiment and swing a little bit,while they are on their seats.In short I gave the whole event a two thumbs up.

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