The whirling red dresses, rhythmic dancing and red-blooded guitar playing of flamenco is not something you’d typically associate with a quiet Aucklander.
Paul Bosauder’s from a family of musicians. He played in bands until he was 25 years old, when he was inspired to travel overseas – and ended up playing music in a theatre in Beirut. It was there he first experienced a live flamenco performance.
“I was blown away,” he says.
“It is such an intimate and powerful form. I had to leave, I had to go to Spain and explore it, so I did.”
That was almost 15 years ago and after years of study, including a stint with world-famous flamenco maestro Rafael Cañizares, Paul’s now fluent in both Spanish and the ways of flamenco music. So much so, many locals are surprised to learn he’s a New Zealander (though his Spanish is perfect, he says it’s the accent that gives him away).
“Rafael [Cañizares] is an amazing teacher; he changed how I play and encouraged me to write my own compositions and learn how to create my own language in this big world of flamenco.
“It’s such a big, rich, world – 150, 200 years of people sitting with a guitar and exploring what they can do.”
He adds that flamenco is a world of music that’s still developing (“It’s not ready for the museum yet!”), with ever more complicated ways of playing and of course, the addition of singing and expressive dancing.
“I’m torn between the two worlds,” says Paul, “there’s classical composition. When I play alone, it’s the whole thing: the rhythm, the harmony and melody all on one instrument, that’s why it’s so hard. But then there’s playing with a band and I do quite like that.”
Paul’s own compositions have seen him hailed as a ‘cultural ambassador’ who’s bringing modern influences to flamenco music, whilst still paying respect to the genre’s rich cultural heritage. When he last toured New Zealand in 2018, he topped the NZ Independent Album charts with his debut Tierra y Mar and his solo shows across the North Island and in Nelson all sold out.
This month, he’s bringing flamenco deeper into the South Island, with shows in Canterbury, Dunedin and Queenstown (9th February, Sherwood). He’ll be accompanied by percussionist Lito Manez, singer Thais Hernandez and multi award-winning flamenco dancer, Triana.
Words Bethany G. Rogers