Concha Vargas dances in the way her mother and father did por Solea and to that you have to say Ole

At the end of September 2013 Luis and I (Ishi) packed up the Rodeo, strapped lil Miguelito into his car seat and headed south west to sunny California where Luis was to perform at the Festival Flamenco Gitano. He’s been a guest artist every year since 2011. I’ve been volunteering and attending the workshops taught by Gyspy legends such as Angelita Vargas and Concha since 2010. The festival is directed by Nina Menendez, she hand picks the best of the Flamenco world, and pours her heart and soul into this festival every year, so that those of us here in the west coast can soak in the soniquete of the Gypsies of Southern Spain. From Boise ID, we send a Gran Ole to Nina and we hope for many many years of this amazing festival, and we thank her for supporting Andalusian transplants like Luis while we build our life here in the United States of America.

We would also like to thank the Flamenco community of the Bay Area coming out every year, the volunteers that have come out every year such as Kaymarie Jacobson and Julia Sewell that have worked tirelessly behind the scenes so that the shows go smoothly and the artists are happy. Amit for organizing the workshops with Concha in the surrounding area and of course the artists themselves for sharing giving and sharing some more! 

Luis de La Tota sobre la Gran Bailaora Concha Vargas:

‘Ella baila lo que hizo su padre y su madre por Solea (en casa) y a eso ay que decir ‘ole’.’

Luis de La Tota comments on why Concha is such an amazing dancer and legend:

‘She dances what her father and mother did por Solea, and to that you have to say Olé’

Concha Vargas, Luis de La Tota, Kina Mendez and Javier Heredia at La Peña in Berkley, CA SF Festival Flamenco Gitano 2013
Concha Vargas, Luis de La Tota, Kina Mendez and Javier Heredia at La Peña in Berkley, CA SF Festival Flamenco Gitano 2013

Watch Luis and Concha for yourself!

Concha taught her classes with passion patience and mucho mucho arte. She taught for more than 2 hours the day of the Berkley show, then went directly to the Peña to change a La Estrella of the show. She did it all without letting any of us see even a wince of tiredness…she’s every bit of the force of  nature they describe her to be!

Ishi dancing in  Concha Vargas Sevillanas por Bulerías class at Flamenco Romatico Studio in Santa Cruz CA, photo by Amit
Ishi dancing in Concha Vargas Sevillanas por Bulerías class at Flamenco Romatico Studio in Santa Cruz CA, photo by Amit

The festival was comprised of three weekends that highlighted different artists every weekend such as David Serva, Joselito Galves, Javier Heredia, Gema Moneo, and El Quini. They had a round table discussion night where the Flamencos of the Bay Area shared photos and stories of very start of the community of Flamenco in the 60’s. Luis’ own Great Uncle Anzonini lived in San Francisco. He  was a close friend and celebrated artist and maestro in the Bay Area.

For more info on the Bay Area Flamenco Festival Follow this link: http://www.bayareaflamenco.org/HOME.html

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