It was a beautiful evening in the Regattabar courtyard at the Charles Hotel in Harvard Square on Monday, July 9: the perfect kind of evening for a flamenco duet concert.
The crowd came out in full force for the event, which was part of the Berklee’s Summer in the City Regattabar Courtyard Series. With an estimated 150 attendees, Ariadna Castellanos Rivas provided her approach to Spain’s popular flamenco music. Whether you were expecting jazz, Latin jazz, flamenco, or any other style, percussionist Montana and pianist Ariadna supplied the evening with a wealth of wonderful traditional Spanish rhythms.
A recent graduate of Berklee, Ariadna has been breaking her way into the New York music scene for awhile now. She mentioned her work with Javier Limón, and her experience as a young artist in this industry. Montana has been a legendary percussionist all over Madrid and the rest of Spain for years. Just breaking his way into New York, it was obvious to anyone at the concert that he will be at home in the states.
Before the first set, Ariadna mentioned that traditionally flamenco is performed with a much larger ensemble. Usually there is at least one dancer complementing the rhythmic divisions provided by the percussionist, using a wooden floor in a quasi tap-dancing style. Also, traditionally guitar accompanies an ensemble of singers. Ariadna informed the crowd that, as a duet, they would be performing their adaptation of the customary music with an unconventional arrangement of instruments: piano and cajón. Following an outstanding dual set performance, everyone left the courtyard wondering why this arrangement hadn’t been popular in the past.
Ariadna danced up and down the keyboard telling stories through unique harmony and rhythm, sometimes free time, sometimes planned ostinato. Each song had its own story and represented a rhythmic quality traditional to the regional style. She mentioned that many of her songs were yet unnamed, and she introduced them by the rhythms they interpreted.
What a great way to kick off this season at the Regattabar, and the best of luck to both performers.