Daniel Martinez Flamenco Company, Cowbridge Music Festival

September 19, 2023 by

While flamenco music and dance have gained their rightful place in world musical culture after watching this edge of seat show at the Duke of Wellington in Cowbridge I wondered if people really appreciate the talent combined with skill and vast amount of work that has created a performer like Daniel Martinez. His playing of Spanish guitars must be heard and seen to be believed and genuinely appreciated.

He seems a quiet man, at least in performance, and keeps his chat to the audience restricted to introducing and explaining the music, genre and individual pieces and introducing his fabulous other musicians, Julian Tikotiko on percussion (the cajon – a type of drum box that is sat on), Barbara Gonzalez on Violin, Stuart Caven also on guitar and vocalists Inma Montero and Danielo Olivera along with the glorious dancer Mayte Beltran. Personal back story only really comes with talking about his grandfather who was clearly incredibly supportive of the young student and to whom he dedicated one beautiful composition.

The chemistry between all the musicians and the singers is obvious and, as is the style of flamenco, that involves appreciative gestures and sounds (we are all familiar with “olé”). However, what is also palpable is the attention given by the players to the dancer and Martinez kept his eyes on Bletran’s feet (at times incredibly fast moving) as I guess a conductor does with singers on stage to work closely together.

The variety of flamenco and guitar styles is fascinating and Martinez’ explanations, such as having to retune the guitar to produce a required darker sound, for example, adds to the intimacy and appreciation of the evening.

This was an exciting and exhilarating evening of music, singing and dance (Oh, and Martinez should sing more) with individual and ensemble work culminating in an uplifting crescendo.

The Art of Believing is a splendid entertainment whether you are new to the genre or are familiar with the intoxicating Andalusian music, song and dance.

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