Maribel Ramos "La Zambra" | Dancer
Maribel Ramos was born in Barcelona but raised in Almeria, Andalusia. At a very young age she started studying many forms of dance: Flamenco and classical Ballet, classical Spanish Dance, and folkloric dancing.
The featured artist of the 2010 festival
At the age of 20 Maribel moved to Madrid to study in the Dance Conservatory of that city. In the year 2000, she is offered a grant to study at the Fundación Cristina Heeren where she has the opportunity to study with some of the best known flamenco artists such as Javier Latorre, Israel Galván, Milagros Menjibar, and Antonio el Pipa. Meanwhile, she also took the opportunity to study with other world-class teachers such as Eva la Yerbabuena.
Maribel is an internationally renowned artist and has performed in Finland, France, United States, Russia, England, Germany, Jamaica, Australia, and Angola. She has dance with many acclaimed companies including those of Rafael Campallo, Pilar Tavora, Andres Marín, and Victor Ullate. When she is not on tour or giving classes in different countries, she teaches at the Fundación Cristina Heeren.
Maribel is known for the perfection and elegance of her movements. The quality of her footwork is equally striking for its power and precision. She has won two prestigious awards: “Premio Carmen Amaya de l’Hospitalet de LLobregat” in Barcelona for the most complete dancer, and the “Perla de Cadiz.”
In Pa’ Mi Se Quea (What Stays With Me), Maribel “La Zambra” will be supported by the following artists:
- Oscar de Los Reyes (dancer)
- Jesus Corbacho (singer)
- Vicente Gelo (singer)
- Tino Van der Sman (guitarist)
- Antonio Montiel (percussion)
Lisa La Mantia | Dancer
2010 Canadian Showcase Winner
Lisa’s flamenco training began in Hamilton, Ontario, under the tutelage of Canadian Flamenco dance pioneer, Paula Moreno. In 1997, Lisa began to intensify her studies with acclaimed performer and teacher, Esmeralda Enrique. In the past ten years, she has studied both in Canada and in Spain with many of flamenco’s greatest artists including, Andres Marin, Mercedes Ruiz, Juan Ogalla, Isabel Bayon & Torombo.
Over the past five years Lisa has performed with Toronto’s most prominent flamenco companies including the Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company and Compañia Carmen Romero. Lisa is one of the primary dancers for Canadian flamenco composer Jorge Miguel and his flamenco ensemble. She has worked extensively across Canada in venues such as the Michael J Fox Theatre in Burnaby BC, London’s Sunfest, Sanderson Centre for the Performing arts in Brantford and The Missisauga Living Arts Centre.
Lisa is the prominent flamenco presence in Hamilton. She teaches at the Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts, where she has fostered and grown a flamenco community that is not only dedicated to flamenco dance, but takes pride in its knowledge in the art of flamenco as a way of life.
Dustin Shaskin | Musician
Exceptional bass player and composer Dustin Shaskin is busy working in Toronto’s music scene. His first music lessons were when he was 6 years old on his mother’s classical guitar. Dustin was fortunate to grow up in a musical family who encouraged him to play the bass in his early teens. Within a month of playing the bass Dustin joined his first blues/rock band with school friends. While in this band they won school and community talent shows and began playing concerts.
As part of a middle school band assignment Dustin attended a concert that had a major impact on him. He attended and critiqued Canadian Latin-flamenco guitarist Robert Michaels and was amazed and captivated by the power of this music. It was this show that started Dustin’s love affair with flamenco music that continues to this day. A number of years later Dustin joined the band of Robert Michaels and performed internationally with him.
Dustin’s continued passion for music soon led him to study with John Hyde, a first-call bassist in Calgary and head of Mount Royal College’s jazz program. After graduating high-school Dustin continued to studied jazz at Mount Royal College with John Hyde. At the end of this 2-year program, Dustin graduated with honors and received an impressive 6 scholarships for his musical and scholastic achievements. In the fall of 2002 Dustin traveled 3430 kilometers away from his home in Calgary to Toronto, Ontario. Here Dustin spent 3 years studying at Humber College with Canadian jazz legends like Don Thompson, Mike Downes, and Hilario Duran. Outside of school Dustin studied flamenco guitar with Miguel de la Bastide. Again Dustin graduated with honors and received his BA in Music.
With the experience of playing both jazz and flamenco, it was time for Dustin to express his own musical voice. Dustin began writing for his own group The Café Olé and brought together the best young musicians he had met in Toronto. On April 1, 2007 the group received a grant from the Ontario Arts Council to help record their debut album "Cuanto Tardaré." The album has tracked in the top 5 on Earshot Magazine’s music charts and won Best Latin-Jazz Album and Best Latin-Jazz Song (Café Olé) in the 2007 Toronto Exclusive Music Awards. The band also won 2 prestigious songwriting awards; “Cuanto Tardaré” won the 2007 Luis Advis International Songwriting Competition in Chile, and “Mujer de Ojos Color Triste” won the Song-of-the-year award from SongOfTheYear.com (best jazz/instrumental song). The album was nominated for Best Jazz Album at the 2007 Toronto Independent Music Awards and the 2007 Ontario Independent Music Awards.
In 2008 Dustin enrolled at York University and began working on his master’s degree in composition focusing on flamenco-jazz. During this time he met flamenco guitarist Ruben Diaz, a disciple of flamenco legend Paco de Lucia, who has been mentoring Dustin in Paco de Lucia’s technique and compositions. Dustin has just recently completed his master’s degree at York and continues to perform with Ruben Diaz, The Café Olé, and other flamenco and jazz groups in Toronto.
Benjamin Barrile | Guitarist
Rooted in the traditions of flamenco, guitarist Benjamin Barrile prefers to speak through his instrument, expressing emotion without words. A remarkable soloist, Benjamin also excels as both accompanist and composer. His compositions are rich, complex and progressive without straying too far from Spanish gypsy tradition that stretches back hundreds of years.
Born in Toronto, Canada to a French-Canadian mother, and an Italian father, Benjamin was raised to embrace different cultures having spent much of his childhood traveling throughout North America, Europe and Asia with his family. It was flamenco that first sparked his desire to play guitar. His interest was awakened at a young age by his mother who would play her extensive collection of flamenco records in their home. Though he became emotionally affected by music in his youth, it was not until Benjamin had reached late adolescence that he decided to actively study music on a more career-minded level. After a period of self-teaching, he decided to pursue formal training in the styles of the music that attracted him the most, particularly flamenco and jazz.
Upon early graduation from high school, Benjamin set off to Spain for an extended period of time, in search of flamenco and what would be the most self-defining journey of his life so far. He traveled to what is known as one of the major centers of flamenco in Spain today, Jerez de la Frontera, in the Province of Andalucía where he studied primarily under maestro Manuel Lozano “El Carbonero”.
Benjamin would continue his musical training in Canada at Mohawk College’s Applied Music Program in Hamilton, Ontario, where he graduated with honours. There, his guitar studies would continue under the direction of classical guitarist Jonathan Earp. Benjamin would then seek out more formal instruction in the art of flamenco through renowned flamenco guitarist, Miguel de la Bastide.
In recent years, Benjamin has performed and recorded for many artists including The Café Olé, a multi-award winning group that incorporates a unique mix of traditional flamenco and jazz, internationally renowned rumba flamenca group Gustavo Scolieri & Puente del Diablo, and jazz vocalist/composer Ashley St. Pierre just to name a few. In addition to leading his own group, El Mosaico, he is also a resident guitarist at Carmen Romero's School of Flamenco Dance Arts based in Toronto. Benjamin has appeared on numerous television and radio broadcasts including CBC, CityTV, Jazz FM, and Telelatino. Benjamin is also the co-founder of ModernToque.com, a website that has brought him a great deal of recognition amongst the international flamenco community. The site is dedicated to transcribing the complex intricacies of modern flamenco guitar to the music stave, an art that is very difficult to translate on paper and to which few individuals have attempted.
A skilled guitarist, who has participated in experiences of flamenco, jazz and other genres, Benjamin Barrile presents a convincing case of integration of musical schemes, which has come to be known as fusion. His songs express universal and deeply personal sorrows and joys. He continues to sustain a creative open mindedness towards new and different kinds of music, thus creating a unique style and magical blend of tradition and modernity.