Carmen Linares brings flamenco to Lisner stage

Federico Garcia Lorca forever will be known as Spain’s greatest 20th century poet, the voice of a generation and an avid aficionado of flamenco. Carmen Linares, a modern cantaora (flamenco singer), is an international star of the stage, considered by some as the best contemporary flamenco singer in the world. Linares performs at Lisner Auditorium Sunday in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Lorca’s birth.

The production, “A Centennial Tribute to Federico Garcia Lorca,” is based on a collection of music and lyrics compiled by Lorca before his death in 1936. Lorca championed the art of flamenco, calling it “the most gigantic creation of the Spanish people.” Flamenco originated as an artful form of Spanish dance near the end of the 15th century and is a product of the mingling of the musical influences of Gypsies, Arabs and Jews.

Flamenco has a distinct power and a sense of tragedy flowing from its history and remains an important and integral force in Spanish tradition. Flamenco performances of today mirror those from centuries ago, with the essential elements of flamenco intact: the Spanish guitar, palmas (rhythmic clapping), bailaora (flamenco dancer) and the cantaora.

A new movement in flamenco, “flamenco fusion,” involves the use of modern instruments and technology to produce a new sound. Linares supports this exploration of flamenco. With a profound understanding of the art form, she has become the most well-known flamenco singer worldwide.

Linares incorporates both traditional and modern-fusion flamenco in her work. With this combination, she satisfies purveyors of traditional flamenco as well as younger fans of the new exploratory forms.

She is recognized as an incredible talent with a powerful, soulful voice that interprets the emotional depth of flamenco with superb technique, authority and beauty. Her recent release, Carmen Linares en Antologia, is an anthology of women’s flamenco songs performed by Linares. This two-disc compilation reveals the power and beauty of Linares’ emotional expression combined with the extraordinary passion of flamenco.

Flamenco is nothing new to Linares. She heard it at a young age in her home, where her parents often played the Spanish music. As she developed her interests, Linares moved to Madrid where she became involved in the lowest levels of flamenco theater. With access to important stages where flamenco was performed in its true glory, Linares quickly refined her natural talent and rose to the upper echelons of the world of flamenco.

Today she sings on the increasingly popular stage of international music. Last year, Linares’ performance of another production based on the renowned poet, “A Moment, A Minute, A Century … with Federico Garcia Lorca,” premiered with immense success at the Teatro Real in Madrid, Spain. Sunday, the two great talents unite again in the Lisner performance.

Carmen Linares performs “A Centennial Tribute to Federico Garcia Lorca” Sunday at Lisner Auditorium at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $22.50, $24.50 and $27.50 for the general public and $15 for students with a valid GW ID.

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