Native Calgarian Fiona Malena infuses flamenco internationally

Monday 13th, April 2015 / 14:02
By B. Simm

FlamencoCALGARY — Flamenco can be seen as exotic blend of different music from the Middle East and the Mediterranean. Its roots are Arabic, Indian, Latin and Moroccan that weave through and deep into fiery, passionate gypsy-folk. While seen as a powerful art form that is almost exclusively if not entirely Spanish, it also branches out from many different cultures, peoples and beliefs.

Fiona Malena acknowledges, “That is totally correct. It has all these different fountains of origin, but because it came from all these influences that’s why I think flamenco has a such a natural affinity to go elsewhere as well. It can go back to its origins or to more modern styles.”

Raised in Calgary, Malena trained formally in Seville, Spain, a major epicenter, the heart of flamenco. There she immersed herself into the music, the dance and language collaborating with Spain’s finest flamenco artists. For the last decade and a half she’s toured internationally, most recently to promote La Cueva, a production she developed in the caves of Turkey working flamenco and Sufi musicians. Currently performing in Germany, Malena speaks to the infusion of flamenco on a global level.

“Everyone has their personal road or artistic trajectory as you develop your form and discover yourself in it. Part of that was the tradition, root and base and a very sincere understanding [of flamenco] I got from my training in Seville. And then because I am Canadian, I have this multi-cultural affinity that extends to world music and different styles that I bring distinctly and directly into my interpretation of flamenco, which I love doing and will further explore.”

Fiona Malena will perform her flamenco ‘Infusion’ for two nights at Wine-Ohs on Fri., April 17 and Sat., April 18.

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