AdvertisementA Través presents FLAMENCO at Red Light Café as part of the Atlanta Flamenco Festival 2023 and with the support of Berdolé. We welcome a special group of artists to the stage to showcase the music of Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, performed by singer Pepele Méndez, nephew of the legendary La Paquera de Jerez and guitarist José Manuel Alconchel. They will accompany the potent force that is La Chispa, renowned bailaora. This group of visiting artists is joined by APERTURE artists, many of whom you will recognize from flamenco stages across metro Atlanta. Together, these talented artists bring the spirit of the back rooms of Spain to the stage in a performance that is improvised and electric.
Valeria Montes “La Chispa,” dancer
Valeria Montes has been described as “mesmerizing” by the Detroit Free Press and “beauty in motion” by the Metro Times. She is known as La Chispa (the Spark) for her passionate and vibrant interpretation of Cante Flamenco (flamenco song) and for her complex rhythmic zapateado.
Born in Mapimi, Dgo., Mexico, Montes began her dance studies at the age of five in her native Mexico studying ballet, baile folklorico, and gymnastics. At age of 20, she moved to Michigan, USA where she started dancing Spanish classical dance with local instructor, Maria Del Carmen Montes. Eventually, Montes moved to Spain to immerse herself in the world of flamenco and was very fortunate to study with legendary families and artists of flamenco: Farruco Family, Carmen Ledesma, Concha Vargas, and Miguel Vargas. She has also studied cante flamenco with Esperanza Fernandez, which she feels is vital for dancers to do in order to understand the art form in a more profound way.
In 2010, Montes won the prestigious Kresge artist fellowship for Performing Arts. She is co-founder of the Center of Music and Performing Arts Southwest (COMPAS) where she continues to teach community workshops in Michigan. Valeria now serves as Executive and Artistic Director of Casa Flamenca in Albuquerque, NM where she is also a full-time instructor.
Pepele Méndez, singer
Pepele Méndez was born in Jerez de La Frontera, Spain into the legendary Méndez clan, a dynasty of singers from La Plazuela. Pepele is a direct descendant of La Paquera de Jerez and of the festero El Pili. As a child, he learned the art of flamenco at home listening to great artists such as “el Torta”, Manuel Moneo, his cousins Paca and Manuela among others. Soaking in the presence of these amazing artists and without knowing it, Pepele learned the cante and this ancient art that is flamenco.
At the age of 16, Pepele began his first artistic steps at the Tokyo National Theater in the “Earth and Fire” show by Japanese Director, Yoko Komasubara as a palmero/percussionist and dancer and then he accompanied his aunt, La Paquera, on a tour in the Mont de Marsan Festival in France and the “Festival del Cante de las Minas”.
Pepele branched out on his own to create new projects and has specialized in singing flamenco with a fusion influenced by Reggae, Latin, Funk, Rock and Jazz. With a very personal voice, he always looks for new aspects of traditional styles. While an incredible and traditional artist, Pepele Méndez leads us to the future with his conception of flamenco by making pure flamenco live alongside other genres.
José Manuel Alconchel, guitarist
Born in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, José Manuel Alconchel performs internationally as a flamenco accompanist and solo guitarist. He has worked as a guitarist in residence with Entre Flamenco in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and now performs regularly at Cava Tablao in Miami, and tours with American flamenco companies, including Carlota Santana Vivo Flamenco.
While working in Atlanta during the Atlanta Flamenco Festival, touring artists take time to meet with select flamenco aficionados and professional artists who live in the metro area. It is a time of cultural exchange, as much as artistic sharing in which people who love flamenco delve into some of the most nuanced aspects of the art form. They share perspectives and hatch new ideas as they explore flamenco improvisation in the spirit of creativity, embracing that word for its value in teamwork, problem solving and communication, all of which strengthen the communities where flamenco thrives worldwide. Please welcome these artists to the stage as they perform with featured artists as friends in flamenco.
$25 Adv – $30 Doors
Doors @ 7 PM
Advance ticket sales end one hour prior to door time. All ticket sales are final. No refunds.
Event Venue & Nearby Stays
Red Light Cafe, 553-1 Amsterdam Ave NE,Atlanta,GA,United States