Inspirations from the guitarist Jorge Bravo
Today, Sunday 22nd August, the Peña Flamenca de Londres finally welcomes back live audiences, with the headliner Jorge Bravo, the virtuoso guitarist from Santiago de Chile. Before attending the long-awaited live show, I’d like to write a very brief memoir of Jorge.
My first pataita
When I was still a dance student at a lower level, I was given an opportunity for una pataita in a fiesta at the end of a student show. I had done Bulerías pre-choreographed, but hadn’t been used to improvising on the spot.
The guitarist for the show was Jorge. Despite having little knowledge and experience, somehow I managed to lose myself in his beautiful guitar sound and fit in the compás of Bulerías. Post-show, he kindly gave me praise about my pataita. Many years have passed with more knowledge of flamenco, I still haven't done any better pataita than that time in terms of a feel of unity with the music.
It was a privilege to have him as a dance class guitarist considering his magnificent career as a concert guitarist, composer, songwriter, producer and teacher. His music style isn’t restricted to flamenco but includes vast influences from different genres, such as classical, gypsy jazz, South American music, etc. In June 2006 he won a first prize at ‘Niño Ricardo International Guitar Competition’ held in Murcia, Spain.
I still listen to his album ‘Imposturas’, released in 2012, almost every week in a dance studio. The soundscape is not only perfect for pure enjoyment but also for energising to prepare my body and mind for training.
Most of the tracks from this album were featured and choreographed by the dancer Maria Vega in her stage production ‘Dancer’s Journey’ in 2016, for which Jorge was the music director as well as the live guitarist. I was so impressed by the dynamism of the show incorporating Jorge’s sophisticated music and Maria’s stylish choreographies - so impressed that I couldn’t help concluding that year by sending thank-you messages to both Jorge and Maria. They must’ve thought I was weird sending such a message as the-end-of-the-year greetings, several months after the show… but both were kind enough to respond warmly.
In June 2019 he generously approved of me dancing to his recorded track of ‘Estrellas Perdidas’ from this album, in my own version of choreography. I didn’t expect that he’d see it and my performance must’ve left a lot to be desired, but he kindly gave me a compliment again.
Encouragement and inspiration
Thinking back, I’ve surely been encouraged and inspired by his music and kindness many times.
To be honest, the lockdown life has drained my energy and I’m not sure how I’d feel going back to socialising now. Remembering how kind Jorge has been on and off stage, and how his music has helped me throughout my flamenco life, I hope this event will be a good opportunity for me (and you?) to regain motivation for a sociable flamenco life.
I’ll prepare myself by listening to his graceful music even before the show.
‘Emboscada’ from the album ‘Imposturas’
Jorge Bravo: Live Flamenco!