Ahead of their highly anticipated show at Venue 505 on Friday 29 September as part of the Sydney Fringe Festival, The Plus Ones recently caught up with Bandaluzia Flamenco’s leader Damian Wright for a chat. Wright is an ARIA-nominated flamenco guitarist who is a member of multiple bands, as well as a solo artist in his own right.
Bandaluzia Flamenco has been around for quite a while. When did the band form and what was the inspiration?
DW: I formed Bandaluzia in 2011 after years of studying & living in Spain and performing in traditional flamenco ensembles in Sydney. It felt time to present my own project, and something that was a platform for the music I love, the musical influences I have and to collaborate with artists I admire.
You are one of the few established flamenco guitarists in Australia. Have you always played the flamenco guitar? Are there other musical styles that have influenced your guitar playing?
DW: I began playing the guitar at around 6 years of age. I was attracted to so many styles initially and my first years were just enjoying playing everything from Jimi Hendrix, classical music, rock and metal, Jazz etc … It was kind of inevitable that I would eventually come across Flamenco and when I did as a result of a Gypsy music festival at The Opera House, it set me on my journey as a teenager, to learn more about this incredible art form and saturate myself in the inspiration I got from it.
What can people expect to experience at a Bandaluzia Flamenco show?
DW: We always try to take people on a journey of our love of flamenco and to conjure up it’s distinct nature, the emotion, the authenticity but placing huge importance on our individual influences which bring a contemporary flavour to the show. We have two incredible dancers, percussion, guitars and piano. You can expect virtuosic flamenco dance, music and rhythms!
I watched a video on TedX recently where Alice Blumenfield described Flamenco as a language: communication between the musicians and then out to the audience to express something. Is that how you would describe it?
DW: I have heard many great musicians and artists say that what’s one of the most important qualities of an artist is their ability to transmit their sentiment to the audience. I think in this regard flamenco has a close relationship with the audience and one that requires the artist to connect firstly to their inner expressions, emotions, personality through their performance, that then triggers a response from the listener based on their own interpretation of the sentiment. Hence the Olé in Flamenco, for example.
Bandazulia Flamenco are:
Damian Wright – guitar;
Ben Hauptmann – guitar;
James Hautpmann – cajon;
Matt McMahon – piano;
Jessica Statham – dance;
Chachy Peñalver – dance
Bandazulia play at Venue 505 on Friday 29 September as part of the Sydney Fringe Festival.
Tickets available from the Venue 505: $37/$32 online (+ booking fee) or $37/$32 at the door
Khanh grew up in Hoi An, a UNESCO Heritage listed village in Central Vietnam. He migrated with his family to Australia when he was 9. He is an academic, music lover, sports lover and a former table tennis (not ping-pong!) champion. Follow him Instagram on @ironandwhiskey.