Paul Emery’s Nevada City Live Winter Concert Series continues this weekend with special one-night-only performances by the Chico-based ethereal folk duo MaMuse Friday, and renowned Northern California flamenco troupe Flamenco del Oro, Saturday. Both performances are at the Nevada Theatre.
With deep roots in the folk and gospel traditions and their hearts in the present, MaMuse — Sarah Nutting and Karisha Longaker — create uplifting music to thrive on.
It has been nearly a year since MaMuse performed their annual concert in Nevada County and much has happened since then. Longaker gave birth to her first child, a baby girl named Ave Madrone Aurora, Nutting got married, and the two are working with friend and colleague, Jacia Kornwise, to offer workshops this spring at Harbin Hot Springs.
“It feels as though we’re in a place of expansion both musically and interpersonally. Collaboration has been a theme in the past year as we’ve had the opportunity to tour with other musicians, weaving our MaMusic with theirs,” said MaMuse in an email. “Our experience most recently and presently is that the more we open up to allowing music to come through us in whatever form it wants to take and with whomever wants to be a part, the richer life gets to be.”
Onstage Nutting and Longaker sing in perfect harmony while trading back and forth a family of varied acoustic instruments including upright bass, guitar, mandolins, ukulele and flutes. Friday night, the duo will be joined by percussionist Mike Wofchuck along with a handful of surprise guests to perform their new songs plus audience favorites from their last two albums “Integration of the Awkward” and “Strange and Wonderful.”
“There is something about gathering and sharing in a space that has held as many gatherings as the Nevada Theater has. The first time we ever performed at there we were on the set of the play ‘Cyrano de Bergerac.’ We performed ‘On the Altar’ from the balcony,” said MaMuse. “Acoustically it was very interesting to be able to sing without microphones from way up high and still be heard. Even though it’s a larger theater, it’s still very intimate in that way.”
Saturday night, experience the music and dance of Andalucia, Spain, as performed by Flamenco del Oro featuring singer and dancer Kina Mendez from Jerez de la Frontera, Spain; dancers Kerenesa DeMars and Drea Pacot, and guitarist Gopal Slavonic.
Flamenco del Oro formed in 2006 around the group’s mutual love for the Spanish folk music and dance. Slavonic was first introduced to flamenco as a young man in the early ‘90s and later trained at the prestigious Fundacion de Arte Flamenco Cristina Heeren in Sevilla, Spain, where he studied intensively with leading flamenco guitarists Miguel Angel Cortez, Jose Postigo, Antonio Carmona, Eduardo Rollabar, Tino Van Der Sman, and later Joselito Galvez.
“Flamenco is dynamic in how it expresses emotion. Each piece is about the relationship between different elements including rhythm, melody, and dance, and how they all blend together,” said Slavonic. “It’s passionate. It’s about drawing on the dark side of life — pain, broken heartedness and death — and taking the dark side and creating something beautiful out of it with music and dance.”
Accompanying Slavonic’s rhythms are the vocals and fiery dancing of Kina Mendez, a descendant of the Mendez clan of Gypsy artists of Jerez de la Frontera. Steeped in the flamenco tradition, she began singing under the influence of her aunt, legendary singer La Paquera de Jerez.
Her professional career began in the famous Tablao of Seville “Los Gallos” when she joined Manuel Morao’s company, which led her to work with Mario Maya and tour internationally with Salvador Tavora’s productions of “Carmen” and “Carmina Burana.”
Master flamenco dancers Kerenesa DeMars and Drea Pacot bring the music alive with their spectacular footwork, fierce stomping and graceful arm movements. DeMars is a San Francisco-based dance artist whose creative synthesis of Flamenco and tribal-style dance has made her a sought-after performer, choreographer and instructor internationally.
Demars has been a featured performer on London’s BBC, and at venues including the Royal Festival Hall and the Barbican Center of London, the Teatro Calderon of Madrid, the Tivoli Theater in Barcelona, and San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
Pacot has been dancing flamenco for 20 years, having studied in Spain with Concha Vargas, Jose Galvan, Belen Amaya, Raphael Campallo, and Concha Jareno. She studied years under San Francisco’s Yaelisa.
The Nevada City Live concert series presented by Paul Emery, runs for three weekends through Feb. 14.
Both Friday and Saturday shows begin at 8 p.m. For more, go to www.paulemerymusic.com.