Viva España en Holanda

Racheda Kooijman, Monday, January 7, 2013

Could it be that secretly a passionate Spaniard lurks in every Dutchman?  Are the calm and collected Dutch in reality all fire and passion within? If so, it would explain why Spain is a favourite holiday destination and why the flamenco is so popular in the Netherlands. Every major city boasts popular flamenco schools and tickets sell out rapidly when Spanish artists hit the Dutch stages. The first Biennale in 2006 was therefore but a matter of time, and ever since, the best Spanish flamenco artists have been gathering here every two years to demonstrate the latest developments. And as a result of cross-pollination with other music cultures and genres, the organisers refer to it as “Flamenco in many different keys.”

Don’t expect polka dot dresses, Spanish fans, ole-shouting and other clichés at the Biennale. Flamenco is portrayed as an art form here and that’s exactly what it is. The many rhythms, deep-rooted emotions and intense lyrics are accompanied by dances that exude physical control, strength and beauty.

Each festival features big names and promising talents and this year is no different. Belén Maya & Mayte Martín, Isabel Bayón, Diego Carrasco. They are all artists with a proven track-record that have innovated the industry. And should a visit to the Biennale be your first introduction to the flamenco, be sure not to miss the voice of Carmen Linares, guitar virtuoso Diego Del Morao and the phenomenal dance moves of Israel Galván.