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Out & About in Switzerland: Gypsy Flamenco in Appenzell

Bettina Castaño during a performance last year in Basel


The town of Appenzell is to be the stage for the first-ever fusion of Flamenco dance and Gypsy music. The Flamenco star, Bettina Castaño - a native of Appenzell - will perform with a seven-piece violin orchestra from Bratislava, starting on Thursday.

The world premiere of "Flamenco and Gypsy Violins" is yet another musical-dance experiment by one of the world's best Flamenco dancers.

Castaño believes art is an effective means of building bridges between the world's varied peoples. "In some way, we're all foreigners. We have something foreign in us, which can be frightening or fascinating," she says.

Her critical success with past experiments, from performing with Appenzeller string orchestras to Afghani musicians, has set the stage for this foray into Gypsy music.

It's an attempt to show the widespread influence Gypsy music has had on eastern and western culture, including Flamenco.

Some Gypsies, migrating from India and Persia, settled in North Africa before moving onto Spain. These "Gitanos" were responsible for discovering Flamenco.

Other groups of Gypsies travelled over the Bosporus before making parts of eastern Europe their home. The violin orchestra from Bratislava, the "Berky Devil's Violins", performs traditional Gypsy music from this region.

The various influences will meet on stage with Castaño's Flamenco quintet performing alongside the Gypsy orchestra.

"Flamenco and Gypsy Violins" will be performed on October 5 at the Casino in Herisau, on October 6 at the Kursaal in Heiden and on October 7 at the Gymnasium in the town of Appenzell. Tickets cost SFr40.


Out & About in Switzerland is updated regularly to keep you informed of upcoming events, which may provide a different insight into the country and its people.

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