Spanish poet Federico García Lorca described the cante jondo – deep flamenco song – as a ‘rare example of primitive song whose notes contain the naked and raw emotions of the first oriental civilisations’. A test of Lorca’s words might be the Qasida project, an extraordinary musical encounter between the young Sevillian cantaora Rosario ‘La Tremendita’ and her Iranian peer Mohammad Motamedi. ‘More flamenco than La Tremendita is impossible’, the French Le Monde wrote after the release of her debut album ‘A Tiempo’.
I am very impressed by the openness of the Dutch. I still have a fusion of Iranian music and flamenco in the ear: a bold gamble to bring different cultures together on stage to improvise.’
The Qasida project, one of the highlights of the third Netherlands Biennale, pursued a vital dialogue of traditions, involving the melismatic vocal techniques of Rosario La Tremendita and Mohammad Motamedi from Iran.
For a festival to create their own combinations of contrasting musical traditions is often a precarious enterprise. Fortunately, flamenco singer Rosario ‘La Tremendita’ was given her own choice from a pre-selection of classical Persian vocalists.