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Notas de 4 Review

EMCA's first show of 2024 blew us all away!

Written by: George Gibson

Photography by: Derrek Owen

Notas de 4 brought their Latin folk and flamenco fusion show to the Pinawa Community Centre last Friday and it was a great start to the 2024 segment of the EMCA concert series for the 300+ crowd in attendance.

At far stage right Maria Regnier stands in full flowing red flamenco dress and black bolero jacket, her presence promising things to come. Next to her, Luis Tovar sits comfortably on his box drum with cymbal in front. Then we find Stefano Valdo cradling an electric bass beside Jorge Villena with acoustic guitar, the two of them straddling centre. Jonathon Lewis holds a cutaway violin at stage left. Front and centre stands frontwoman, vocalist, and dancer Sylvia Temis dressed in traditional colours with a large red rose decorating her black hair. It is a stage from somewhere in Latin America or Spain.

The show opens with He Perdido el Cento. Everyone on stage injects energy with a Hey! here and an Ole! there. Halfway through, Maria and Sylvia dance - four hard soled shoes strike, slide, tap, and pop on the plywood sheets laid to protect the floor - and we are introduced to the stylings of Notas de 4. Then Sylvia with a comforting, whispery and subdued voice speaks of the next piece as being inspired by Havana and we hear a sleepy slow dance. A piece inspired by the Rockies in Alberta brings some drama and a lengthy dance interlude, Sylvia’s shawl flying. Maria dances a beautiful traditional flamenco and we see the intensity of the genre with visions of Andalusian bulls and prancing thoroughbreds. Sylvia takes some fun time to teach the audience a little hand clapping flamenco syncopation. We have a rhumba with violin feature and then a set ender led by violin with more beautiful dancing.

After intermission, energy and power seem to amplify, with the first three pieces featuring Sylvia and Maria (now both in full flamenco dresses) dramatically emphasizing the music that fills the room. In Rosas y Lilios the plywood takes a beating as Maria dances another full and strong flamenco. Sonrisa Eterna is a clear and powerful vocal performance from Sylvia.

There is always a slight bit of tension when Maria holds her position near the wing. Will she step in? When? How beautiful will be the dance? Then with a hint of mischief, Sylvia announces the last song and the music progresses minute after tantalyzing minute and Maria stands, claps, but doesn’t step to the plywood - until she finally does. The tension is relieved with both women moving in wonderful, smooth, full body unison to the high energy rhythms, and then the show is over with a flourish of strings, quivering cymbal, snapping heels and outstretched arms. The audience rises.

Now watch for information on our next concert featuring Gordie ‘Crazy Legs’ MacKeeman and his Rhythm Boys, an East Coast Folk quartet on February 23 at the Pinawa Community Centre.

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