Flamenco guitarists launch Spanish centre season at York

Earlier this month, the Spanish Resource Centre at York University organized cultural events – a literary evening and two flamenco guitar concerts – to celebrate Spain’s Day of the Hispanity (also known as the Day of the Race in Latin American countries) commemorating Christopher Columbus’s “discovery” of America in October 1492.

Nowadays Latin Americans prefer to remember the day, officially Oct. 12, as an encounter of cultures more than the discovery of a new continent. Spanish language, religion and culture travelled to America with Columbus on the three caravels La Pinta, La Niña and La Santa María.

On Oct. 8, York grad Jaime Maltéz and Franklin Tello played classical, flamenco and original songs at Vari Hall on the Keele campus and their teacher Juan Tomás, also an alumnus, performed the next day at Glendon College. An audience of about 30 students enjoyed a repertoire of famous Latin American songs such as Mora limpia, Guantanamera, Caballo viejo, La bamba, Cielito lindo, Canción del Mariachi and personal compositions.

Left: Guitarists Jaime Maltéz and Franklin Tello

Maltéz, who was born in Nicaragua in 1979, completed his BFA with honours in music at York in 2003. He began playing classical and flamenco guitar at the age of nine and also studied classical piano. He has been performing in multicultural events and classical concerts since 1994.

Tello, born in Venezuela in 1982, studied classical and flamenco guitar and also studied jazz at Humber College. He has been participating in multicultural events, festivals and concerts in Toronto since 1996.

Telelatino, the TV channel that broadcasts in Spanish and Italian, covered part of the event and also interviewed Magdalena Aguinaga, director of the Spanish Resource Centre.

Right: Guitarist Juan Tomás

The celebration continued Oct. 9 at Glendon College with a literary panel featuring Antonio Soler, Pablo Armando Fernández and Jorge Echeverri, followed by a Spanish flamenco recital by Tomás, a professional guitarist who also has a BFA in music from York, before an audience of about 70.

After the success of these first two activities of the academic year, the Spanish Resource Centre intends to organize more Spanish cultural events at York University as well as panels and conferences for Spanish teachers and the Spanish-speaking community of Toronto. For more information about the resource centre and its activities, visit http://www.yorku.ca/spanish/english/.

Submitted by Ramona Diaconescu, Spanish Resource Centre assistant