History of Duende Flamenco
Duende Flamenco is a full scale flamenco troupe consisting of guitarists Kenji Bakuya and James Samimi, flamenco dancers Aida, Michoncita, Emily "Mielita", Victoria Romero, flamenco singer and dancer Macarena, flamenco dancer and percussionist Kazu Nagano, and percussionist Craig "El De La Barba".
Kenji and James began performing together as a duo in 1999. However, their stories trace far deeper back when their relationship with flamenco first began.
For Kenji the defining moment came when he first heard Paco de Lucia�s Bulerias Almoraima. At the time he had been studying heavily with noted classical guitarists in Texas and instantly made the life-altering decision to convert his studies to flamenco guitar. After traveling throughout the United States he finally decided to settle down in Orange County, California where he currently resides. Young and eager Kenji searched for a teacher who would continue his studies and bring him one step closer to his dream of capturing the essence of playing traditional flamenco. Kenji�s search led him to Mr. Theodore Mckown, a prot� of Sabicas and founding member of the Orange County Guitar Circle, who by sheer chance was instructing another student by the name of James "Sina" Samimi.
For James the music that would change his life and touch his soul first graced his ears in the form of Paco Pe� Fandangos de Huelva. Years later Mr. McKown would be responsible for uniting the first two links of Duende Flamenco by putting his two best students in contact. A common interest in traditional flamenco sparked a rehearsal the following week and instantly Duende Flamenco was born.
Duende Flamenco has been the selected entertainment for many prestigious venues including The Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel, The Center Club at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, Marriott Dana Point, Mission San Juan Capistrano, and the Orange County Classical Guitar Society among others. The group is representative of a new generation of flamenco performers who bring the appeal of flamenco to an international audience.
Duende Flamenco performs traditional flamenco staying true to the art, always entertaining and providing a memorable flamenco experience. The audience is treated to the fire of the flamenco guitar, the excitement of the percussion and rhythms of the cajon, and the beauty and passion of the dance. Performances include the lost art of the Spanish castanets.
Every life is full of defining moments, of instances that kindle a desire, change the future, and bring paths together. Duende Flamenco is a combination of these fateful moments that brought these artists together. "Flamenco puro", the pure essence of flamenco is what these creative performers strive to bring to their audiences. With the common goal to express and share the soulfulness of flamenco through creative interpretations and individual talents, they strive to bring you the pure essence, the emotion, the passion - the "duende" of flamenco.