Little K-W Flamenco Fest promises tasty tapas, Spanish music, dancing and more

A community arts festival based in Waterloo region — the Little K-W Flamenco Fest — continues Tuesday night with Qairo, a band from Bordeaux, France, as the main attraction.

Co-founder of the festival Claudia Aguirre says the band, which is currently on a Canadian tour, will perform at The Jazz Room at 8 p.m.

Aguirre and her husband Julian Berg started the festival in 2018 after moving to Kitchener and people expressed an interest in having more flamenco in Waterloo region. Flamenco is a style of Spanish music, played especially on the guitar and accompanied by singing and dancing.

"The festival is … a series of events and they … range in size from small events with just maybe 10 to 15 people to bigger events where we have a concert that hopefully we have over 100 people and they're all flamenco related," Aguirre said on CBC K-W's The Morning Edition.

"So, it could be a flamenco workshop with some tasty tapas, or it could be a concert."

Festival continues through August

Berg said starting the festival "felt like a natural step to take" because they "wanted to do something for those people that we knew that already liked flamenco."

The festival started in June and is spread out throughout the summer.

On Wednesday, there will be a free flamenco rhythms and dance workshop in Elmira from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Woolwich Memorial Centre.

Participants will learn about flamenco's history, rhythms and cultural importance, while Aguirre will also share her journey into flamenco dance, influenced by her Latin American roots. The workshop will also feature a hands-on session where participants learn basic moves, including rhythms, clapping and dance steps.

The festival's main event is scheduled for July 21 with a concert featuring Maria Serrano.

"We try to have one concert where we bring in someone who's kind of high-profile if we can. Maria, luckily for us, is based in Toronto, but we're also flying in the singer to work with her [Yiyi] who is coming in from Washington," Berg said.

The concert will also feature Aguirre and Berg, who perform as CalúJules.

LISTEN | Claudia Aguirre and Julian Berg talk about Little KW Flamenco Fest:

There's also a free show on Aug. 10 in Waterloo Public Square, organized in partnership with the Uptown Waterloo BIA.

"Hopefully we'll get some food trucks to come out and it'll feel really festive. And for about two hours from 2 to 4, you'll get to hear more of the excellent and renowned local level flamenco guitarist, Juneyt, and his cousin on electric violin," Aguirre said.

"Following that, Julian and I will perform with some of our dance colleagues and flamenco colleagues from Toronto — a fab collab — so we'll bring in a dancer and a singer for that."

Berg said the people who have attended the festival over the years "really enjoy it."

"We put on very good performances, we put in a lot of effort into making them happen and we have people that come back year after year, so I think it's appreciated," Berg said.