there’s yet still hope for Los Angeles. The
city is home to a small but vibrant flamenco scene. Of course, nobody is making much money—quite the
contrary. The musicians, vocalists, and
dancers all simply share a passion for the music. Katina Dunn documents their musical camaraderie
in Kumpanía Flamenco Los Angeles (trailer here), which screens
this afternoon during the “Sweet Sixteen” edition of Dances With Films.
originated in the tightly knit Roma community of Seventeenth Century Spain. Musicians and dancers from other cultures
have been drawn to the music, but according to one vocalist, only Spaniards can
sing Flamenco with the right accent.
Yes, he happens to be a Spanish expat.
Regardless of authenticity issues, the Los Angeles Flamenco community is
distinctly diverse. Many local Hispanic musicians
have adopted the music as their own, including Joey Heredia, a professional
drummer comfortable crossing stylistic lines, whose impressive credits include
work with Tania Maria, Poncho Sanchez, and Diane Reeves.
artists are also well represented in KFLA. Kyoto native Jose Tanaka is not just a leading
guitarrista and composer, but clearly serves as a leader holding the community
together. However, if one star truly emerges
from the film, it would have to be Bailaora (dancer) Mizuho Sato. A striking performer with flawless technique,
her sequences will hold viewers spellbound.
She also provides real insight into the Flamenco aesthetic, especially
when explaining how the demur nature of the presentation is part of what makes
it all smolder.
nicely conveys the scene’s vibe and gives interested viewers an easy starting
point to check out the assembled artists live—namely, the Fountain Theatre. Her selective but clever use of archival
footage adds fitting context as well.
She does right by the music, which is the most important thing.
While not reaching the lofty heights of Fernando
Trueba’s Calle 54 (the true gold
standard of music performance docs), KFLA
is still quite a dynamic and engaging film.
At just a whisker over an hour, it will leave most viewers wanting
more. Appealing to the eyes and ears, Kumpanía Flamenco Los Angeles is
recommended for general audiences when it screens this afternoon (5/31) as part
of the 2013 edition of Dances With Films, in Hollywood, California.
Labels: Documentary, DWF '13, Flamenco