Notes by Paco Peña

In the preparation of QUIMERAS I have followed two different criteria: on the one hand the aim of the show is to present on stage the experiences of a group of people originating in Africa (but who could equally belong to any other society of the world), who leave their home environment in pursuit of a noble dream that has spurred all of humanity though the ages: the dream of reaching a place that might give them the chance of bettering their lives and that of their families.

 

Nevertheless, often they find a very different reality: the attainment of their purpose is rather more complex and demanding – even tragic – than it was originally imagined; they find difficulties, rejection and violence along their journey. The realization that an imagined dream can turn into a chimera that comes crashing down in their minds is all too real and often cruel. Eventually, some make it to the end and some don’t.

 

But essentially QUIMERAS tries to point out that peoples coming into other societies, eventually contribute to, and improve the social and cultural landscape of their host countries.

 

In QUIMERAS that idea is, of course, proposed through the medium of music and dance, therefore the second criteria for preparing the programme is the  determination to highlight the musical styles of both flamenco, from Spain and the rich and varied forms of music and dance from Senegal and Guinea.

 

My aim is, with invaluable help from acclaimed theatre director Jude Kelly, to adequately display the beauty and value of the two distinct cultures, providing a moment and a platform for each to shine individually. But, crucially, the joint adventure of doing music together produces moments in which the two elements meet and find common ground. The show, therefore, consists of pure flamenco forms, equally orthodox African music and dance, plus a good measure of coinciding expression of both cultures together.

 

The actual programme lists the separate flamenco and African styles plus a number of pieces listed in parallel when we perform together.

 

Paco Peña