(photo credit: OMAR CRUZ)
When the airport authorities processed Manuel Fernandez Montoya’s passport at Ben-Gurion Airport this week, they most likely saw a young tourist on his way into Israel to party and see sights. What they didn’t know was that the 21-year-old Spaniard was flamenco legend El Carpeta, who arrived in Israel to perform with local troupe Remangar Flamenco Company.
El Carpeta, meaning The Folder, is the youngest son in the world’s greatest flamenco dynasty, the Farruco family. Born in Seville, El Carpeta was the third of four children of La Farruca (Rosario Montoya Manzano) and her husband, the singer El Montero (Juan Fernandez Flores). His grandfather, El Farruco, is credited with establishing a flamenco language that revolutionized the art form and lives on today.
It is this style that will be celebrated in the upcoming performances of “Temblor” by Remangar Flamenco Company featuring special guest El Carpeta this week at the Suzanne Dellal Center.
During their decade in Spain, Remangar founders Avner and Keren Pesach spent a great deal of time with the Farruco family.
“We loved their family and their style, and we loved the grandfather, who devised their style. When we arrived to where they lived, El Carpeta was two years old. When we left Spain and came back to Israel, he was nine,” explains Keren Pesach over the phone.
Pesach, 43, remembers those days with El Carpeta and his siblings, among them flamenco legend El Farruquito, vividly.
“The family took us in with so much love and acceptance. They treated us like we were their own. The father passed away, leaving their mother a widow with four children. We were around the family a lot in that time. We did whatever we could to help them escape the sadness. We used to take the kids out to the park or to eat, anything that would lift them up,” she says.
The bond that formed then, which was both personal and artistic, endured over the years. It lasted after the Pesachs returned to Israel and sustained the coming of age of each of the four children. It has seen them through the establishment of their company and school. Now, the Pesachs are thrilled to bring El Carpeta to their home turf, to meet the students they so lovingly teach and to play to the audience they have toiled to cultivate.
“Avner, my husband, created his own method to teach the Farruco style. To us, this flamenco is more than movement and music, it is a way of life. I think our students receive that. They go through an amazing journey with us,” she adds.
In fact, many of the Remangar dancers have come up through the Pesachs’ school. In 2006, when the Pesachs founded Remangar, Israeli flamenco dancers and musicians were extremely hard to come by.
“It’s not easy to find artists,” says Pesach. “In Spain, you have an audition, and so many incredible people come out. Most of our dancers come out of school, which is in Tel Aviv. Our students travel from Haifa and Beersheba to study with us. Musicians are still very hard to find. We have several musicians, like Yael Horowitz and Shuki Shviki, who have been with us for a long time, who will perform with us this week. We will also be joined by Fyty Carillo, the guitarist, who lives partly here and partly in Spain.”
“Temblor” is a production that has already been in motion for several months. The version being presented at Suzanne Dellal has been tweaked to include El Carpeta and Carillo.
“We have done that show a lot around Israel. We have a new section that we are doing this time. We are also teaching El Carpeta sections of the performance so that he can dance with us,” she says.
It is nothing if not a testament to the dedication of the dancers that they came together during the Passover holiday to perfect the numbers.
Pesach adds that everyone is revved up to take the stage with El Carpeta. “He is undoubtedly part of the Farruco family. You can’t take that away, but his age certainly plays a part in how he performs. He’s only 21, very young and energetic. I really hope that the audience will enjoy him.”
Remangar Flamenco Company presents Temblor with El Carpeta through April 25 at the Suzanne Dellal Center.
For more information, visit www.suzannedellal.org.il
Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>