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.”

What is there in music that it should so stir our deeps?

We are all ordinarily in a state of desperation; such is our life; ofttimes it drives us to suicide. To how many, perhaps to most, life is barely tolerable, and if it were not for the fear of death or of dying, what a multitude would immediately commit suicide! But let us hear a strain of music, we are at once advertised of a life which no man had told us of, which no preacher preaches. Suppose I try to describe faithfully the prospect which a strain of music exhibits to me. The field of my life becomes a boundless plain, glorious to tread, with no death nor disappointment at the end of it. All meanness and trivialness disappear. I become adequate to any deed. No particulars survive this expansion; persons do not survive it. In the light of this strain there is no thou nor I. We are actually lifted above ourselves.

[H.D.Thoreau, Journal, 15 January 1857]