Jordane Delahaye, Gleaner Writer
The Courtleigh Auditorium was packed with eager ears on Wednesday night, as a huge crowd turned out for a night of cultural exchange with the musical styling of the acclaimed CMS Trio and their jazz-flamenco fusion.
The concert is a noble initiative by the Embassy of Spain, the Spanish-Jamaican Foundation and the Arts Foundation of the Edna Manley College of The Visual and Performing Arts to support students of the arts with the provision of scholarships.
"When we had the Willard White concert last year we managed to give 15 scholarships and I am hoping that every year we could give 15 scholarships to students who really work hard and show that they are committed to completing their studies," chairperson of the Arts Foundation, Pat Ramsay, told The Gleaner.
Following the serving of some rounded Spanish wine and the brief initial formalities, the Colina Miralta Sambeat (CMS) Trio took to the stage and wasted no time in getting the show on the melody-paved road. The talented group is made up of renowned bassist Javier Colina, talented percussionist Marc Miralta and a remarkable Perico Sambeat on the saxophone.
The audience was treated to a splendid musical procession which took them on a voyage through a sea of inspired performances. Each of their performances followed a similar pattern - starting out tame and unassuming before developing into a spirited flurry of expertly executed notes and chords.
The trio opened with a musical masterpiece titled Teo, from their debut album.
The performance both delighted the audience and whet the appetite.
For its second performance, the band played another song from the Love for Sale album, this time drawing on the title track.
During this performance the trio was joined briefly on stage by flamenco dancer, Sara Barrero Ferreiro.
Brandishing a hand fan, Ferreiro had the audience in a trance as she twirled and posed with fluidity and ease.
Acting director of the School of Dance at the Edna Manley College, Kerry-Ann Henry, then joined the band on stage for what was introduced as an "Afro-Cuban lullaby" titled Drume Negrita.
Henry's emotive movements accentuated every note and transformed the musical rendition of the CMS Trio into a visual splendour.
Colina, Miralta and Sambeat moved through each performance with prodigious ease, deceiving the casual onlooker about the actual technical mastery that was at play. The audience was clearly enjoying the entertainment as they were moved to a rousing applause at multiple times during each performance.
Once again Ferreiro joined the band on stage as the latter played a rendition of John Coltrane's jazz gem - Syeeda's Song Flute - which it infused with some rhythmic flamenco flavour.
Ferreiro kicked up her performance a notch at this point by adding some intense flamenco foot movements (similar to tap dancing) which blended with the trio, providing what could be considered a fourth musical instrument.
After a moving performance of Consuelo Velazquez's touching bolero, Verdad Amarga (Bitter Truth), the three-man band then invited Edna Manley College's own jazz guitarist, Samuele Vivian for what was to be the band's final performance. Henry was also invited back on stage, this time accompanied by NDTC's dance captain, Marlon Simms.
Both Henry and Simms admitted to never dancing flamenco before, but they nonetheless gave an entertaining performance.
The dance duo told The Gleaner they did their research and decided to play up on the similarities between traditional Jamaican dances and flamenco and add their own twist, in keeping with the theme of artistic fusion.
The final performance came and ended too quickly for most audience member, as they shouted from their seats for "uno más" following the end of the concert. The band was eager to oblige and Ferreiro joined them on stage for an encore.
The few who had left after the previous performance missed something special as Ferreiro stole the spotlight from the band with an impassioned flamenco routine that dazzled the audience.
During its short stay on the island, the CMS Trio also visited the Edna Manley College for a workshop where the members spoke to students about their music and working as professional artistes.
This is the first time any of the band members have visited Jamaica, saying they did not know what to expect.
According to the members, the trip was good. The trio was also very pleased with the turnout and reception at the concert.