My name is Yaelisa, and I am the artistic director of my own company, Caminos Flamencos, and the co-founder of the New World Flamenco Festival. I am also a second-generation flamenco artist. As a choreographer, I have earned many awards and honors and have worked in many mediums including theater, video, films and with artists across the spectrum including jazz, modern and Latin. But flamenco has been a part of my life since I was born.
My project is entitled “Homenaje a Los Flamencos de la Bodega”, and it will reunite a group of artists that came before me and many of my current flamenco colleagues.
This production is a tribute to the founders and creators of the legendary Cuevas Room, located at the Old Spaghetti Factory in North Beach in San Francisco, which began presenting weekly flamenco performances in 1958 until its closing in 1983. This idea to create a place where local flamencos could gather, develop their craft and present weekly shows for starving aficionados and audiences came from sculptor Richard Whalen, a legend in the Bay Area flamenco scene. He died last year at the age of 80.
The longest running consecutive flamenco show in the Bay Area, “Los Flamencos de la Bodega” was the home and training ground for a long list of flamencos who began their careers here and formed their own companies, including Maria Benitez, Sara de Luis and others. Much of San Francisco’s history of flamenco artists and creators came through the Cuevas Room, and continued their legacy through teaching and performing both in the U.S. and in Spain. The Cuevas Room attracted legendary figures of the literary and art world, and was a gathering place in the late 50’s for the San Francisco Beatnik Movement, followed by the growing 60’s revolution which took its roots in North Beach.
This production honors those founders and creators and reminds the present day community of the long, rich history of this proving ground for flamenco here in Northern California. It is a tribute concert which focuses on the performers themselves. Though some have passed on, retired or moved to other areas, many of them are joining me in this tribute, and excited to be on a stage again. The stories, both personal and creative, will include narrative text, projections and historical flamenco scene recreations with some of the very artists who passed through its stage. There are many legendary stories to tell, artists to re-introduce, connections and history which pay tribute to the profound impact the Cuevas Room had on the Bay Area flamenco scene for 25 years.
The original “Los Flamencos de la Bodega” included Ernesto Hernandez, Sara de Luis, David Serva and Freddie Mejia, and my mother, Isa Mura. Isa and Ernesto Hernandez partnered and performed at the Cuevas Room on and off during its entire history. My mother developed her craft there, and became the most revered American flamenco singer for generations. Her impact on the future Bay Area flamenco scene, along with the many contributions of her colleagues, provided the groundwork for the current flourishing Bay Area flamenco community.
I have been asked by a few of these living elders in the flamenco community to honor this history. I feel especially honored to present this tribute, because I was there for much of it. Growing up as the daughter of a flamenco singer/dancer, I spent many days and nights at the Cuevas Room shows, in the dressing rooms, or playing in the garden of the Spaghetti Factory itself. I have many memories of attending juergas and private gatherings over many years, with my mother, Ernesto and Richard and with the visiting Spanish artists who came through, such as Pedro Bacan, Carmen Mora, Agujetas, Agustin Rios and Anzonnini. With my personal perspective, my memories and experiences in my flamenco career, my sincere goal is to showcase these artists and personalities, honor them and educate audiences and the community here about that time and place.
I have been invited to create and present this concert as part of the San Francisco International Arts Festival, which curates companies from around the world and brings eclectic and interesting projects to the Bay Area . Though some costs of marketing and publicity are being covered by the Festival, this is a co-presentation and there is a need for funding to cover the many costs of a production which includes the theater rental, lighting and sound crew, equipment for projections, costuming, and artist fees. We cannot do this without your help. We ask that you consider making a donation to help us bring this important historical tribute to the stage, and to honor those artists that gave so much.
The artists being reunited together onstage for the first time EVER represents more than 50 years of San Francisco history...excitement and anticipation among them is growing and they, and I, thank you for your generous support.
We hope to see you in the theater!
Yaelisa, artistic director, Caminos Flamencos
PLEASE NOTE: 10% OF THE PROCEEDS GO TO KICKSTARTER AND TO CREDIT CARD FEES. WE CAN STILL FUNDRAISE OVER OUR GOAL, AND ADDITIONAL FUNDING WOULD HELP US PURCHASE AIRFARES FOR SEVERAL OUT OF STATE ARTISTS!
SF International ARTS Festival & Caminos Flamencos present "HOMENAJE A LOS FLAMENCOS DE LA BODEGA"
Saturday, May 5 at 7pm
Marines Memorial Theater, San Francisco, CA 94109
609 Sutter Street at Mason - To purchase tickets call (415) 771-6900
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