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Tomatito in concert at Sadler’s Wells

What a joy was this concert as part of the London Flamenco Festival by the legendary flamenco guitarist, Tomatito, and his accompanying ensemble of four including the marvellous male dancer, Tete Fernandez. For an hour and twenty minutes they played and sang and danced flamenco to a captivated, engaged Sadler’s audience who rose as one to give them a standing ovation, refusing to let them leave the stage without an encore, requiring more.

Tomatito - Photo by Javier Salas.
Tomatito – Photo by Javier Salas.

Throughout the show, there was on stage an enjoyable relish among the performers of one another’s virtuoso skills led by the charismatic Tomatito. This was no performance by rote for all its mastery. A section of the Sadler’s audience was Spanish and their occasional appreciative banter with Tomatito added to the happy spirit of this evening. We were in rainy Central London but had been transported to Spain.

The vocals performed by Morenito de Illora and Kik Cortinas were stunning with huge energy. Morenito de Illora can bring a sense of passion and poignancy, sometimes despair, with his voice. The playing of the talented second guitarist, Jose del Tomate, was lyrical, precise and gorgeous. Throughout the show the drummer and percussionist, Israel Suarez ‘Pirana’ was phenomenal, using only his hands not drumsticks to play, he would transform into a whirl of arm moving dynamite, bringing another shape of dance to the stage. Flamenco often gives the impression of being at its heart organic, so much of its dramatic structure being created by the rhythms and sounds emerging from the power of movement of the human body. Mr Suarez’s unusual way of playing his instruments fits perfectly with this dynamic and was a revelation.

The dancer, Tete Fernandez, started to dance maybe two-thirds of the way through the concert when the audience had decided the wonderful music was more than enough. However Mr Fernandez elevated the show yet further to drama and excitement. Every movement describing grace and precision and pride in the art that is flamenco. Fabulous.

5 Star Rating

Review by Marian Kennedy

Five-time Latin Grammy Award-winner, Tomatito is recognised as one of the leading guitarists in contemporary flamenco. Appearing as part of the festival with an ensemble of exceptional musicians and a guest flamenco dancer, the long-time musical partner of the transcendent Camarón de la Isla brings an adventurous and open-minded fusion of Jazz, classical and Latin American styles.
https://www.sadlerswells.com/

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