Just Festival: Flame and Fury, Central Hall, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show info
Flame and Fury
Flame and Fury
Maria "Tote" Conte (Flamenco Dance/Percussion), Martin Swan (violin), Lewis Powell-Reid (accordion/cittern)
Running time

It was Martin Swan's name that attracted me to this show, for Martin runs the UK's largest online violin shop. He told me that he was playing an Italian violin that he was reluctant to sell - having some time ago sold an even better violin he really should have kept for his own performances.

Flame and Fury, an original and inspiring encounter between Celtic music and Flamenco dance, returned to the stage with ‘Journeys’. Flamenco has absorbed many folk dances over the centuries, so the thrilling combination of jigs, reels, hornpipes and Gaelic airs worked to startling success in the dynamic exchange between those involved – Martin Swan of Mouth Music fame with the French violin, pan-European virtuoso accordionist Lewis Powell-Reid, and Sevillean dancer and percussionist Maria "Tote" Conte.

Martin Swan embodied the gypsy mood, drawing a deep, stirring sound from his violin which transcended boundaries, creating a plangent, ancient music soundscape easily corralled by Conte's compelling footwork, laced with step dance and Latin moves. Conte danced at the extreme, her dazzling and deafening footwork suddenly giving way to supernatural calm.

Alongside their radical re-interpretations of Scots and Irish traditional music, the ensemble’s original compositions and set pieces conjured up a futuristic cross-cultural “duende”, at once aggressive, tragic, and ecstatic.

Well worth seeing!

Event reviewed was at 6.30pm on Sunday 16th August 2015. Further performances are on 23rd and 30th August also at 6.30pm