Note: This review is from the 2015 Fringe

@ Assembly George Square Gardens, Edinburgh, until 30 Aug 2015 @ 17:40

Starring Karen Ruimy and Youth (Martin Glover), the bassist of Killing JokeZIK’R is a show that seamlessly blends traditional instruments and exciting electronic elements, fusing them with powerful flamenco dance.

It is billed as a performance featuring original material alongside a wide range of contemporary re-interpretations from the likes of Groove Armada, 4 Hero and Mr Scruff. However, you would need to be a music aficionado to spot these, or even Youth for that matter.

Being invited to the Sufi Festival in Jodhpur was Ruimy’s inspiration for her concept for ZIK’R, which follows the ancient tradition of eternal music and flamenco’s journey from India to Spain. The mystical roots of Sufi and the out-pouring of flamenco, have been intertwined as part of a centuries-long journey. As cultures and traders made their way from India through the Middle East and North Africa and into Southern Spain, so flamenco absorbed the vibrant traditions of the places where it rested, pulling together the strands of cross-cultural musical practices to become a uniquely impassioned and inspiring art form.

A Moroccan born dancer and singer, Ruimy displays some impressive flamenco dancing and has some fabulous costume changes. She is joined on stage by a full band including Lola Rueda (singer/flamenco dancer), Javier Macías (flamenco singer), Tony ‘El Despeiano (flamenco guitar), Demi Garcia Sabat (Percussion/Cajon), Gerry Diver (violin, bouzouki, flute), Francisco Hidalgo (flamenco dancer), Michael Rendall (musical director) and Ash Mukherjee (Indian dancer).

Hidalgo is as impressive with his dancing as Ruimy, joining her in a number of el baile flamencos, while Mukherjee’s beautiful and powerful display of two Indian dances complements the Spanish style, allowing us to witness the similarities between the two art forms.

ZIK’R is a good vehicle for Ruimy, allowing her to display her technical skills as a dancer, and to some extent those of the other dancers and singers. However, a little less focus on her and little more focus on the other performers, would make this a more balanced offering.

Nevertheless, ZIK’R is a powerful both visually and sonically, which leaves fans of flamenco music and dance in for a treat.