With Seville's main annual event, the Feria de Abril, fast approaching, and its accent on dancing Sevillanas all night long, I was excited to hear on the radio this morning of a new flamenco project starring two (seemingly unlikely) major names in entertainment: an A-list Hollywood film star, and one of the most respected singer-songwriters around.
For it is Charlize Theron, the sultry South African siren, and Canadian poet Leonard Cohen, who may well be starring in a new five-part TV series about flamenco song and dance by Spanish director Juan Lebron.
It is hoped the programmes will bring flamenco to a wider, more global audience, by using recognisable international stars. Cohen's participation is confirmed, but producers are still in negotiation with Theron.
The series will have a budget of 1.5 million euros, and will use remastered content from Carlos Saura's films, Flamenco Flamenco, and Sevillanas, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. According to Spanish press reports, Cohen will explain in English why he loves flamenco, and then, in short clips between 30 palos (songs), will explain about the art. As a fan of the art, as well as Garcia Lorca, and of Andalucia, Cohen was a natural choice for Lebron.
Apparently, Theron had lessons in her native Johannesburg from the ages of six to 12. Her teacher was a dancer from Sacromonte, the gypsy barrio of Granada.
The series will also star famous Spanish exponents of the art: bailaora (dancer) Sara Baras, and cantaor (singer) Miguel Poveda, both of whom appeared in Flamenco Flamenco.
The plan is to film the five programmes in October this year, to coincide with the Sevilla Bienal de Flamenco, for release in January 2013.
You can see Poveda singing a copla por bulería from Flamenco Flamenco here.
Interesting fact: in Theron's film, The Devil's Advocate, singers Tomatito and El Potito make a brief appearance together, in a scene which takes place in a flamenco bar.