Flamenco meets Persian classical music
2011 | QASIDA
Rosario la Tremendita & Mohammad Motamedi
Spanish poet Federico García Lorca described the cante jondo - deep flamenco song - as a ‘rare example of primitive song whose notes contain the naked and raw emotions of the first oriental civilisations’. A test of Lorca’s words might be the Qasida project, an extraordinary musical encounter between the young Sevillian cantaora Rosario ‘La Tremendita’ and her Iranian peer Mohammad Motamedi. ‘More flamenco than La Tremendita is impossible’, the French Le Monde wrote after the release of her debut album ‘A Tiempo’. In Qasida the singer explores the roots of flamenco in the richly varied poetic songs and improvisations of Motamedi, the rising star of Persian classical music. Through delicate, moving ballads Motamedi juggles between subtle innovations and the centuries-old tradition. He is today's radiant embodiment of the renewal of Persian traditional music. Songs of Spanish folk poetry and Persian high art merge into a musical world in which the splendor of 'Al-Andalus' of old is perhaps briefly revived.
A co-production of the Dutch Flamenco Biennial and Morgenland Festival Osnabrück.
Order Now! CD Qasida
On the occasion of the US Tour of Qasida, we produced a cd with the recording of the live concert during the V Flamenco Biennial at the Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ. The CD can be ordered by by transferring 30 euro to:
NL37INGB0004289276 | BIC: INGBNL2A in the name of Stichting PerpetuumM | Amsterdam
stating 'CD’ + your address. The CD will be send upon receipt of payment by mail.
Contact: Ernestina van de Noort
+31 6 21275088
In the media
Flamenco World Com (ES):
'What usually happens with these kinds of initiatives - which attempt, with greater or lesser luck, to demonstrate empirically that the roots of the jondo art lie in the East - is that both parts don’t know each other well enough to tackle a deep dialogue and the common lexicon is usually too limited for the conversation to flow naturally. Indeed, that resource is worked on extensively in 'Qasida', with encounters to the beat of fandangos, tientos and tangos, seguiriyas and even bulerías (seen from our flamenco perspective). But if this project goes beyond those structural contacts, it’s because of the search for a common emotional tone based on vocals. Something which is possible due to the compatibility between the two singers, comparisons aside. Rosario la Tremendita has that way of uttering flamenco cante which is sugary and lyrical, malleable and perfectionist, over-elaborate in the forms and musically intuitive. Mohammad Motamedi, coming from a much older and studied tradition, applies training and sophistication to singing, with exquisite techniques that are known to be age-old, historical. Their communion was achieved more in the first part than in the second. And it was so due to climatic, emotional, temporary reasons... or rather, timeless ones. An encounter which materialized with full-fledged intensity in the lullaby, a free space to sketch out the cantes slowly, with space and with emotion. Not in time, but timeless. Then they would coincide at given moments, through instrumental connections (percussion, guitar, kemanche, contrabass), through rhythms and, finally, according to the magic number three which joins us all, through fandangos. The ‘ayeos’ grew at the end, were superimposed, were multiplied sentimentally and, for an instant, it seemed like everything fit together... until the cantaora made the cocky flamenco move of getting up, leaving the finish halfway and, in passing, leaving her Persian colleague alone and the audience perplexed. Sharing has to be much more than singing, much more than being flamenco.'
"I am very impressed by the openness of the Dutch. I still have a fusion of Iranian music and flamenco in the ear: a bold gamble to bring different cultures together on stage to improvise.'
La Tremendita causes sensation at Bimhuis *****
'An exhilarating meeting between Spain and Iran.
Amsterdam – For festival to create their own combinations of contrasting musical traditions is often a precarious enterprise. Fortunately, flamenco singer Rosario 'La Tremendita' was given her own choice from a pre-selection of classical Persian vocalists. She chose Mohammad Motamedi (32), who flew in from Iran for the third edition of the Flamenco Biennial for a musical dialogue with the 26-year-old Sevillian flamenco sensation.
The encounter proved to be a thrilling night. In spite of the common ground between both traditions, there are also fundamental differences that on paper are close to insurmountable. For example, flamenco artists tend to get straight for the jugular in terms of emotional intensity, while Iranian artists prefer to take the most circuitous route possible towards the emotional climax. The traditions are also far removed in terms of their ideal sound. In Spain, duende is often gauged in terms of the raggedness of the vocal cords; the classical Iranian singing voice nimbly and smoothly glides through the registers.
La Tremendita did not have to change her style too much, as Motamedi proved to be a gallant and obliging partner. The absence of most of the instruments typical of classical Persian music may have been due to cost, but it did the flamenco musicians no end of favours. The tar or long-necked lute would have cramped Salvador Gutierres' flamenco guitar for space, and the tombak, or goblet drum, is ill-suited to the rhythmic eruptions of flamenco. So grooves were picked that all could appreciate. Only once did Motamedi travel a straight path from stillness to ecstasy; after that, he parried La Tremendita's vocal fury in a question and answer play with some impressive examples of tahrir – virtuoso adornment in the highest vocal registers.
The first steps towards musical integration were made by Gutierrez, providing harmonic counterpoints to Sina Jahanabadiís on the Iranian kemanche or bowed lyre. When an hour into the show the voices of Mohammad and Rosario finally spiralled together, the climax this produced was such that it led to confusion about the rest of the show. A standing ovation forced festival director Ernestina van de Noort to come on stage and announce that this was just the intermission.'