La Shica Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler’s Wells, London
Monday 20 February 2012
Flamenco singer-dancer La Shica performs a traditional
Sevillanas, moving with courtly seriousness. Then she and her band add a
bassline, teasing rhythms and shapes. She turns to the audience, with beaming
delight: “Now you understand why some purists in my country think I am Satan’s
Supercop, a show played in the intimate Lilian Baylis Studio as part of Flamenco Festival London, mixes flamenco with reggae, bossa nova and whatever else takes the artists’ fancy. It’s built around La Shica, singer-dancer Elsa Rovayo, an emerging star who won beset new act at the 2011 Spanish Music Awards.
La Shica presents herself as a flamenco rock chick, with sequined jacket and punk t-shirt, flowers twined around her microphone stand. Trained as a dancer, she’ll shimmy through her songs, stepping back for some traditional flamenco footwork or an easy swagger, playing castanets or snapping a fan open. She’s a natural performer: singing, dancing or flirting with her audience are all aspects of the same personality.
Singing, she’ll whizz through hard, fast patter syllables, drop into a little-girl croon or swoop into a full-on flamenco wail, sometimes within a single song. She and her band – guitarist Vicente Miñana, bassist Guillem Aguilar and drummer Pablo Martín Jones – like mixing up their songs, switching rhythms as they go.
The songs are varied, too, from traditional copla numbers to a syncopated pop song about picking up lovers in the changing room of a shopping mall. When she dances her Sevillanas, La Shica ropes in “my friend Pablo” to dance it with her. (Embarrassed but heroic, he makes it through the traditional steps as La Shica vamps and decorates them, arms curling and hips swinging.) He plays western rock drums while perched on a flamenco rhythm box, ready to move back to a more traditional sound.
The encore was a stripped down number, voice and percussion sung and played without microphones. La Shica marches right to the front of the stage for it, slipping from half-speech to sweetly-sung vocal lines. After her gleeful swagger, it’s quiet, intimate and very touching.
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