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Cafe de Chinitas

“In an intoxicating combination that blends the best of two distinct cultures, the Café de Chinitas project combines the sultry exoticism of China and the fiery passion of Spain. Together, they form a classic “East meets West” scenario, but delivered in an art form that’s entirely all its own” – Georgia Straight

The Orchid Ensemble has been collaborating with Kasandra Lea and the Mozaico Flamenco Dance Theatre since 2006. This concert version performance, an extension of Mozaico Flamenco Theatre’s dance production, will feature theOrchid Ensemblewith flamenco choreographer/dancer Kasandra Lea. The repertoire includes the world premiere of Moshe Denburg’s “Petals of the Flame”, a new interpretation of Federico García Lorca’s Anda Jaleo, and Lan Tung’s blend of Beijing Opera and flamenco rhythms.

“Café de Chinitas” or “Chinese Café” referred to a classic singing coffee shop in the city of Malaga in Southern Spain in the mid 1800s. It was a typical Café Cantante (flamenco tablao or nightclub) where people could see artists perform. There was extensive commerce with the orient (primarily the Philippines, part of the Spanish empire) during this era. Many Asian women, commonly known as “chinitas” used to regularly attend the cafe so the name became Café de Chinitas. Today Café de Chinitas is immortalized as a traditional Petenera song form with lyrics bypoet, writer and musician Federico Garcia Lorca (1898 – 1936). Café de Chinitas along with songs like Zorongo, Anda Jaleo and Los Cuatro Muleros were used by the Republicans during the Spanish Civil War as rallying songs for the their cause. Federico Garcia Lorca spins a tale of a rivalry between two brothers at the Café de Chinitas.