Paco Peña and friends

As gentrification continues across London, new spaces are created all around the centre. King’s Cross is no exception, the area has undergone major transformation in the past few years. About 10 years ago we went to a friend’s gig behind King’s Cross, and I remember the area as dark and dodgy. Now it is like a different universe. I am not aware of each and every change, because there must have been hundreds or thousands, but I saw how they created Canopy market, Granary square and it’s fun fountains, the renovated building on the square is now home of the famous art’s college Central St. Martins, a lovely walking/cycling space was created by the canal, with a projector showing Moana across the canal and the huge steps last year, providing entertainment for the younger ones (and their parents). In the back of King’s Cross, there is a space called Skip Garden, an amazing local project not only aiming at creating a green area among the new built towers for anyone looking for a calm moment in big city life, but it is literally a portable garden with apple trees, pumpkins and tomatoes, using the debris/material from the construction site next door, and all this with getting local schools and children involved to teach them about nature and its creatures (not to mention the delicious vegetarian/vegan food they offer and the room for small events). I guess you can tell I like the idea…

The area between Granary square and Skip garden is called Coal Drops Yard, it was opened in October 2018. What used to be once two coal drops sheds, it is today a retail space, home of designer shops, rooftops bars and restaurants (Flat white in one of the cafés £6……..), and for two weeks this summer, for the very first time it also gives home to a new (and free!) event series called Cubitt Sessions. The name comes from Lewis Cubitt, architect of King’s Cross, who also designed the building of Central St. Martins, which once used to store wheat for London’s bakers. Interesting facts that may help understand the transformation this area has undergone not only recently, but in 150 year scale too!

The long introduction leads to my one and only topic, of course:


On 27 July, as part of the Cubitt Sessions, we could enjoy the music of Paco Peña and his friends. Stage, sun loungers, Vermuteria nearby, free flamenco… it sounded like the perfect Saturday afternoon program, so I convinced my friends and family to go.

Paco Peña is a Spanish guitarist and composer from Córdoba, living in London since the late 1960’s. Today, at the age of 77, he is regarded as one of the world’s foremost traditional flamenco players.

I was happy to listen to him playing, even though I could only stay for the first half of the concert. I loved the fandango, and happily concluded that it’s not only “happy” flamenco they played with alegrías and bulerías. Unfortunately, the names of the accompanying artists were not shared, so I can only say I liked the singer. The dances were nice, but the Flamenco Festival is still too vivid in my memory, so better not compare anyone with those artists.

I love the idea of bringing flamenco to a wider public, especially for free (hence I am writing a blog, hello!), so it was great to hear the sound of the flamenco guitar and the flamenco heels in this brand new space of London!

Big applause to the organisers for thinking of flamenco!

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