Concert Review: Diego el Cigala

At the Hopkins Center for the Arts
On November 12, 2014 at 7pm

What an interesting jazz performance.

I thought I was going to see a flamenco performance.

My question to Diego during the post-performance Q&A:
Traditional Flamenco music tells a story, reflects a dialogue, of the cultural history, the suffering of the Roma people and their persecution. Your music is a significant departure from Flamenco with the Latin Jazz, Cuban and Caribbean fusion you are now incorporating and performing. What are you doing to continue that dialogue and tell the story of your people? Or is that something you’re not addressing with your music?

Diego’s response in a nutshell:
The music I am playing comes from the soul of a gypsy and of Flamenco. I’m a gypsy and I’m Flamenco so whatever I play is Flamenco. I am giving people what they want, which has given me Grammys, fame, and success.

My conclusion:
Diego can call what he presented ‘Flamenco’ but the fact is, what everyone heard tonight was Latin Jazz heavily infused with Cuban and Caribbean. A true artist does not compromise their art and themselves to cater to popular opinion to gain fame, eminence and fortune. And one should not lead the audience to believe that they are going to play a particular form of music, then play another. It’s misleading and disingenuous to themselves as so-called artists and the art form they claim to represent.

Aside from that, the Jazz performance was fun and poppy. While it ended up not at all being what it said it would be, great insight and realization were had. I’m glad I went.

Here’s the playbill.


p.s. My significant other’s comment to Diego “That was not Flamenco. That was Jazz.”, yielded this response from el Cigala “I know. I know. I know what you want to hear. And one day I will be here on stage doing that.”

Plato on Leadership in Politics and Freedom

“And so tyranny naturally rises out of democracy, and the most aggravated form of tyranny and slavery out of the most extreme form of liberty.… The people have always some champion whom they set over them and nurse into greatness.… This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears above ground he is a protector… At first, at the early days of his power, he is full of smiles, and he salutes everyone whom he meets — he to be called a tyrant, who is making promises in public and also in private liberating debtors, and distributing land to the people and his followers, and wanting to be so kind and good to everyone … then he is always stirring up some war or other, in order that the people may require a leader.… Has he not also another object, which is that they may be impoverished by the payment of taxes and thus compelled to devote themselves to their daily wants and therefore less likely to conspire against him?… Thus liberty, getting out of all order and reason, passes into the harshest and bitterest form of slavery.”

“When the tyrant has disposed of foreign enemies by conquest or treaty, and there is nothing to fear from them, then he is always stirring up some war or other, in order that the people may require a leader.”

(Plato, The Republic)