FLAMENCO BELFAST & ALEGRÍA
The roots of Flamenco Belfast go back to the 1970s when John Flanigan and Sean O’Brien met at the NI Guitar Society and started to seriously study the art form through regular travel to Spain for classes. In 1992 they formed Ireland’s first flamenco club – Peña Flamenca de Irlanda del Norte which met in The Ulster Arts Club for many years. Performances increased in quantity and quality with the arrival of dancer Andrea da Silva and included many events for Belfast Festival at Queen’s including the festival finale of the Festival in 2000.
When I arrived back home from my time in Granada, Andalucía in 2007 I got in touch and we started a rich collaboration which continues to this day, most recently in the form of the Flamenco troupe Alegría – Myriam Alonso (voice), Andrea da Silva (dance), Paddy Anderson (guitar), and John Flanigan (guitar and palmas (flamenco clapping)). In 2009 we started our regular slot as the house flamenco troupe at the Black Box in Belfast and we continue to perform there regularly. Alegria’s regular Black Box shows have become a social hub for the Spanish community in Belfast where the stamping of feet, the clapping of hands and cries of ‘Olé’ turn this corner of the Cathedral Quarter into a little piece of Spain.
Here’s a link to a short film of us warming up for a recent gig at the Black Box, Belfast.
Our music attracts many local flamenco aficionados and those as yet uninitiated, all drawn to the colours and flavours of Andalucía. From the joyful bulería to the tragic siguirilla our show is one of light and shade performed with intensity, passion, humour and technical skill.