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Directed by Ethan Margolis
Produced by Deborah Lawlor & The Fountain Theatre
Starring Cihtli Ocampo, Stephanie Amaro, Luis De La Toda, Maya Sykes, Reggie Hamilton, Diego Álvarez, Ethan Margolis
“Voces,” (meaning Voices in Spanish) proposes a daring, yet danceable journey through the vocal styles of Latino Boleros, Gypsy Flamenco and African-American Jazz and Blues. Authentic vocalists from these diverse cultural backgrounds will construct a soulful pathway for the dance of acclaimed Spanish dancer, Cihtli Ocampo. The concert showcases the talents of Ms. Ocampo as well as renowned bolero, flamenco and jazz/blues singers like Stephanie Amaro, Luis de la Tota and Maiya Sykes. Musical direction will be carried out by the All About Jazz featured artist, Ethan Margolis, and accompanying musicians will include Reggie Hamilton on upright bass and Venezuelan cajón virtuoso Diego Álvarez on hybrid percussion. The performance promises edgy choreographies laden with risk-taking improvisation and musical accompaniment of the highest level. Ms. Ocampo hopes to demonstrate that anything is possible when cultural awareness becomes a true life priority.
Nov 9 & 10 8pm
Director / Guitar: Ethan Margolis
Featured Dancer: Cihtli Ocampo
Singers: Stephanie Amaro, Luis De La Toda, Maya Sykes
Bass: Reggie Hamilton
Cajón / Percussion: Diego Álvarez
“The Gypsy school of Flamenco contains some of the most tasteful and elevated rhythmic concepts we have ever encountered. On the other hand, our love and respect for African-American spirituals and Cihtli’s Mexican Roots extend beyond words. We hope that this show demonstrates our respect and admiration for world culture. (Quote by Cihtli Ocampo and husband, Ethan Margolis)
Cihtli Ocampo “La Gallardí” (Featured Dance Soloist)
Possessing a mix of Spanish and Mexican heritage, Cihtli Ocampo is the granddaughter of a Spanish Civil War Exile and the daughter of Mexican Olympian, Walter Ocampo. She began dancing at the age of eight in San Diego, CA. At age seventeen, she moved to New York City to study under the Ailey School and Steps On Broadway. The first twenty years of her dancing was diverse and focused on Jazz, Tap, African, Modern and Ballet. Disillusioned by the commercial world of dance, Ocampo states that she may have withdrawn completely had it not been for the organic and emotional expression she discovered within the Gypsy style of Flamenco. In 1999, Ms. Ocampo was awarded the Fulbright Scholarship for Flamenco dance in Spain and that changed her career entirely. She immediately took to the new art form and after apprenticing under the Farruco Family in Seville, Spain, became a member of their company in 2004. She performed in Farruquito’s Alma Vieja and also as a soloist alongside La Farruca in Familia Farruco. She was a featured dancer in French director, Tony Gatlif´s film Exils, which went on to win best direction at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival. A live performance of Exils in Paris featured Ocampo along with many of the film’s performers. In 2006, Ocampo and her husband, Ethan Margolis, founded the touring roots Flamenco company, Arte Y Pureza (Art and Purity). It’s mission was to showcase the improvisational and roots qualities of Gypsy Flamenco and to feature the art of Cante Jondo Gitano (translated Deep Gypsy Song in English).
Currently Ocampo lives in Los Angeles, CA and works as dance faculty at Santa Monica College. She continues as a soloist and choreographer for other artists. Throughout her career, Ocampo has shared the stage with many of Flamenco´s most recognized artists such as: Manuel Molina, Farruquito, Montse Cortés, Miguel Funi, Inés Bacán, Concha Vargas, José Valencia, Román Vicenti and Antonio Moya. Mario Bois, the biographer of the great Carmen Amaya wrote of Ms. Ocampo; “…this girl is is truly exceptional…she danced with a man’s suit and I was reminded of Carmen Amaya. She is strong and astounding, something you do not see every day.”
Ethan Margolis (Musical Director, Guitar, Vocals)
Born in Santa Cruz, CA but raised in Cleveland, OH, Ethan Margolis comes from a family of musicians. In 1999, he moved to Seville, Spain and spent the next 11 years immersed in the Gypsy circuit of Andalusian Flamenco music. In 2006, with the desire to support roots Cante Gitano, Margolis premiered his Flamenco touring company ‘Arte Y Pureza’ (Art and Purity). Arte Y Pureza toured internationally for the following six years. In 2007, Margolis produced and played guitar on ‘Aires Gitanos’ the long awaited release of the iconic Flamenco Singer/Dancer, Miguel Funi. In 2009 Margolis composed an impressive two hour score for Spanish Day, The Flamenco Rock Opera which toured in the USA and featured artistic collaborator, Bill Watterson (creator Calvin and Hobbes). Since moving back from Spain to Los Angeles in 2010, Margolis has dedicated himself to furthering the investigations started by Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, and Sabicas as they all explored the essential ties between Jazz, Blues, and Flamenco. Margolis’s first cd release for a jazz quintet was in 2014 with Soleangeles. In 2016, he debuted his first original vocal album, Sonikete Blues, which was recorded in Andalusia and Los Angeles. The album was featured as an iTunes editor’s choice in the contemporary Blues category and received praise from producers like Ricardo Pachón (producer of Camarón de la Isla) and Larry Cohn (producer of the Robert Johnson Anthology and Sony’s Roots n Blues series). The respected jazz editorial, All About Jazz, released a feature article on Margolis’s solo career and his cd, Sonikete Blues. Margolis continues to perform and collaborate with top Jazz and Flamenco artists and is currently working on his second solo album with famed Spanish pianist and Blue Note artist, Chano Domínguez. Margolis is also in the progress of composing the original music for Tsigan, a poem by USC professor Cecilia Woloch, speaking of the Gypsy Holocaust in WWII. Margolis’s guitar playing was recently featured on Sufi artist, Omar Faruk Tekbiliek’s 2017 cd release. (www.arteypureza.com)
Maiya Sykes (Jazz/Blues Vocalist)
Maiya Sykes is a classically trained vocalist, producer, vocal arranger and entrepreneur. She studied independently with Nina Simone and Betty Carter. After graduating from Yale University, she went on to further her musical education at The Musicians’ Institute.
Maiya has provided back-up vocals for for The Black Eyed Peas, Macy Gray, Fantasia, Joss Stone, Michael Buble, Leona Lewis and Rita Ora. She was a featured backup singer for Macy Gray in her live show for more than five years. She recently provided backgrounds and was featured in the Oscar award winning film La La Land. Currently, Maiya has been busy as the lead singer of The Endangered. The band’s second release, produced by producer Steven Miller (Dave Mathews Band, Chaka Kahn), was released in early March 2012 to critical acclaim. Sykes is currently working on two new albums slated for release in early 2018.
Stephanie Amaro (Mexican Bolero Singer)
Latin Grammy nominated Mexican-American recording artist Stephanie Amaro displays a rare musical versatility, having performed and recorded on a variety of instruments and vocal styles with artists ranging from Lady GaGa to Natalia LaFourcade. As a solo artist, she brings a graceful stage presence reminiscent of the golden age of cinema together with a voice that has been described as “Eydie Gorme meets Ann Wilson”. She is, however, completely her own artist. She has been recognized and awarded for her ability and artistry by the Pasadena Art Society, the City of LA Mayor’s Office, and the The Angel Awards to name a few, and has performed for exclusive audiences that include President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and producer David Foster.
Luis de la Tota (Gypsy Singer/Percussionist)
Luis is a beloved percussionist, teacher and singer-dancer known for his ability to share the secrets of flamenco compás with endless energy, humor and grace. Born in one of the oldest Gypsy neighborhoods of Jerez de La Frontera, El Barrio de Santiago, Luis de la Tota began his career as a percussionist at the age of eight. He takes his artistic name from his grandmother ‘La Tota’, who has been an inspiration to him since his infancy. As a percussionist and palmero, Luis tours with flamenco’s top artists such as Antonio Del Pipa, Maria Del Mar Moreno, Fernando de La Morena, El Capullo, Moraito, Diego Carrasco and Angelita Vargas. As a Flamenco lyricist, his verses (letras) have been recorded widely and his work as a percussionist can be heard on many Spain-released albums.