Hidden down a dark lane, there is an unassuming little bar and restaurant called Alba Flamenca. Its warm presence is inviting: the place has a certain sense of character to it, formed by the enticing smell of delicious food from the kitchen and, of course, the flamenco music gliding through the air, creating a special Spanish atmosphere. Downstairs is an intimate basement performance space with frills on the ceiling, Spanish Marin dolls on the shelves and Andrew Robinson onstage with his three-piece band, delivering a mesmerising performance of freestyle flamenco.
Robinson’s incredible guitar skills are evident from the moment he touches the strings. Every pick, strum and slide can be heard as he tickles and caresses each string along the whole fretboard. His band – a vocalist, cellist and percussionist – do well in bringing all the instruments together within each piece, while still giving Robinson the freedom he needs with his guitar.
At first, the vocalist looks slightly nervous, but he quickly gets into the music, clapping along and adding little vocal accents here and there before it is his time to sing. When the time comes, his vocals and passion pour out, filling up the room and making everyone sit up to pay even more attention. With his raspy vocals giving the music an authentic Spanish feel, he explores his own vocal range, moving his hands and shoulders as he manipulates his voice.
A range of dynamics and techniques are explored by all four musicians, showing incredible talent both individually and collectively. Throughout their performance, the group are highly entertaining both to watch and to listen to. Robinson’s guitar skills in particular are jaw-droppingly good and the other three musicians are also great, helping to give his performance more scope and depth and consequently to deliver a very good show.