When Aria nominated virtuoso guitarist Damien Wright meets award-winning dancer Jessica Statham, the result is Bandaluzia – the dazzling Flamenco act that will have you in raptures from start to finish when they perform at the Tanks this Friday 23rd October as part of The Tanks World Music Series.
Bandaluzia (pronounced Bunda – loo- sea – a) is highly acclaimed for their ability to mix the rich harmonies of Jazz, the exotic melodies of the Orient and the infectious rhythms of South America creating this totally unique Australian interpretation of the powerful music and dance form that is Flamenco.
No stranger to Cairns have performed here numerous times over his career, I spoke to founder and guitarist Damien Wright who said that The Tanks is “definitely one of my favorite venues in Australia. It is a totally unique venue and always has such a good crowd. We’re really excited to be coming up to Cairns which is a very cultured town and always very appreciative of what we do.”
Growing up in Newcastle and learning the guitar from the age of 6, Damien spent a lot of his early years playing a lot different syles and had limited exposure to flamenco. As he puts it ‘Newcastle had a bit of flamenco drought’ and it wasn’t until his parents took him to see a flamenco performance at the Sydney Opera House when he was a teenager that his musical course would suddenly change. Finishing high school, Damien made the bold move to travel to Spain where he studied the 200 year old art form for 5 years.
“Leaving Newcastle and moving to Spain when I was so young, I was literally floating down the street with inspiration. Just seeing the flamenco in its context and how the people you class as flamenco’s live was really big for me. Along with culture and all the sights, it really added to the experience.”
After returning to Australia and receiving advice from friends to ‘get your own thing going’, Damien teamed up with renowned flamenco dancer Jessica Statham and formed Bandaluzia in mid-2010.
“Jessica had just come back from five years in Spain, so we started putting some new material together for the project. I’d been playing in a group called ‘The Translators’ which was a jazz flamenco fusion group with a number of different players, some of whom I’ve used over the years for different projects. It basically came through as a platform for me to express my musical ideas and to collaborate with all the people I love to perform with”.
The band is well known for pushing the boundaries and has performed intensively across the country with countless festivals appearances, winning audiences over from far and wide. The co-ordination between all members when performing live is a true testament of their skill and you can definitely hear and see a lot of hours have gone into perfecting their own Australian interpretation of flamenco.
“When you compose to dance you’re not just composing music for yourself, you really need to focus on movement that can create a whole lot of different ideas you wouldn’t normally come up with. You bring different things in like melody and rhythm but it all stems around the dance. You tend to focus outside what you normally would as a composer, which is very exciting.”
Bandaluzia perform at The Tanks as part of The Tanks World Music Series on Friday 23rd October from 7.30pm. Support by Noam Blat (virtuoso guitarist). Tickets from Ticketlink.
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