Pop Culture

Instituto Cervantes brings the magic of Flamenco Jazz to Cebu and Manila

January 16, 2024

Instituto Cervantes de Manila, in collaboration with the Embassy of Spain in the Philippines and the Arts Council of Cebu Foundation, invites Filipino audiences to experience the fascinating new harmonies of Flamenco guitarist Melón Jiménez and flutist Lara Wong on their first-ever concerts in the Philippines.

The duo will present their latest project, Confluencias, on January 23, 7 PM at the Casino Español de Cebu, and on January 29, 7 PM at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza in Makati.

Flamenco has been the universal musical language that marked the dynamics of Lara Wong and Melón Jiménez as a duo. Their music ebbs and flows with elegance and emotive power, as they fuse the soul of Flamenco with the harmonic brilliance of jazz and the rhythmic improvisations of Indian music. This is evident in their new project, Confluencias, as they now create a musical experience through the fusion of rhythms and melodies of jazz marked by flamenco. Their musical creations revolve around eight themes, each to be featured prominently in their performance.

Award-winning flutist and bansuri player Lara Wong is a distinctive and promising musical voice who studied flamenco in Andalusia after completing her degree in classical and jazz performance at McGill University (Canada). Over the years, she has become a respected figure in the flamenco scene, best known for playing flamenco music on the Indian bansuri flute. Lara is also the winner of the “Filon” first prize award for best flamenco instrumentalist of the Festival Cante de las Minas, making her the first foreigner to win in any category of the festival´s 60-year history.

Wong’s approach is a natural fit for guitarist Melón Jiménez, who first extensively explored the intersections of flamenco and classical Indian music as a member of Anoushka Shankar’s Traveller Band in 2013. Jiménez was born into a musically and culturally diverse family that encouraged him to learn the music of his Andalusian gypsy roots and to use the flamenco guitar as a doorway to innovation. His musical versatility has led to collaborations with artists of all genres such as Enrique Morente, Richard Bona, Niña Pastori, and Jorge Pardo.

This groundbreaking duo first met on stage in 2018 in the flamenco-jazz capital of Madrid. There was an instant connection and an intuitive understanding that Wong and Jiménez shared compatible musical visions. The rest, as they say, is history. They have since been creating beautiful, transformative music much to the delight of their listeners. Together they have performed across Europe and America in festivals such as the Vancouver Folk Festival, Mariposa Festival, Suma Flamenca, Festival de Tradiciones du Monde, SunFest, and many more.

The Manila concert will take place through a FREE RSVP arrangement, with the seating on a first come, first served basis. For updates on the concert, kindly visit Instituto Cervantes de Manila website https://manila.cervantes.es, or its Facebook and Instagram pages.

Photos: Marina Borschenko

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