The 4th artist announced for FFI 31 is La Familia de los Reyes from Sevilla.
I was with Carmen Ledesma when she was in San Francisco earlier this month, and I asked her about the de los Reyes family and she gave them her highest praise! This is going to be a puro style show from a Gitana family that is muy flamenca!
The family of dancers is headed by father Juan and daughters Saray and Lole (Saray is the oldest daughter). Juan learned flamenco by accompanying his father to watch the Semana Santa processions and he became enchanted by the singing and the beats of the music. He studied under the great Pepe Rios (also one of Carmen Ledesma's maestros) from Moron de la Frontera. Rios was the grandson of Juan Amaya Cortes, who was the father of the legendary guitarist Diego del Gastor. "Pepe started his artistic career at 12 years of age. He worked in many flamenco companies including those of Manuel Vallejo, Manolo Caracol, Chonca Piquer, Juanita Reina, La Niña de los Peines and the La Paquera. He was also Rosario’s dance partner. He performed in festivals all over, with his wife Amparo Torre (Manuel Torre’s daughter) and his sister in law María Torre. He dedicated almost 50 years of his life to teaching flamenco in Seville in the street Castellar. Amongst his most notable flamenco students were Concha Vargas, Inmaculada Aguilar, Javier Barón, Juana Amaya and his nephew Ramón Barrull." (source of information about Pepe Rios is http://www.jairobarrull.com/aflamencolegacy.html)
Juan has worked in the major tablaos in Sevilla and Barcelona, including Los Gallos, El Cordobes and El Arenal. He was also a student of the great El Farruco and he later performed with him (he appeared in the film Bodas de Gloria with the Farruco family) and he was a member of Mario Maya's company.
At the age of four, Saray de los Reyes told her father she wanted to be a dancer! Born in Sevilla in 1989, she is married to flamenco singer Jesus Corbacho (he was one of the guest artists in the 50th anniversary home season for Theatre Flamenco of San Francisco in 2016). She began her dance studies with La Farruca, and at the age of 16 she was selected to appear in the production "Gitanas" for the 2004 Bienal de Flamenco de Sevilla with Angelita Vargas, Carmelilla Montoya, Juana la del Revuelo, la Faraona and La Farruca. She has also participated in the prestigious Mont de Marsan Festival in France, and she won the "Carmen Ledesma" prize in the concurso de la Peña Torres-Macarena. She currently performs in the Tablao Flamenco Los Gallos in Sevilla, she teaches technique and choreography in the Flamenco Studio De Los Reyes, and she is the mother of two adorable children.
I'm not able to find much biographical information on Lole de los Reyes so far, but I do know that our 2016 and 2018 Flamenco Journeyer Liz Paez studied with her in Sevilla in 2016, and she loved her class!
Those that know me know that while I embrace all styles of flamenco, puro flamenco is my jam! I cannot wait to see this show and study with Juan de los Reyes (he is teaching Intermediate level workshops at 2:15 pm)!
This family also usually brings incredible singers and musicians, and once their entire lineup is announced (this may not happen until we arrive at the festival) I will give yall the scoop on that too!
This show could be the 2018 version of last year's Pepe Torres show and the 2016 Juana Amaya show. Repeat - can't wait for it!
The French Biennale d'Art Flamenco said this about La Familia de los Reyes:
"Flamenco has no university, it only has families. From time immemorial, families are the bedrock where all that is unique about this art form are made, passed on and preserved. It is inside the family that one experiences the flamenco identity, as a given and a responsibility. A flamenco Gypsy family is a boisterous encyclopaedia that has collected and nurtured a sound-based family tree for more than 200 years. The grand-children have an intimate knowledge of how “por soléa” – the great grand-father’ – sang, although they never knew him. Memory and transmission are what this is about. La Familia de los Reyes is one of those families that act as guardians of the flamenco treasure. Two generations of artists are on stage to show – that is a most daring and generous intention - what is usually hidden from the eyes of the layman: the living memory of a clan, with Gypsy dance at the core of their every movement."