Having the drive and the passion for the arts is an understatement when it comes to Rene Heredia. He is a true artist that didn’t have just the drive and passion to be an artist, he was born to be an artist. “I was born into a flamenco family,” smiles Rene “I come from a Spanish gypsy flamenco heritage. It is our music, our dance.”
Rene Heredia first arrived in Colorado November of 1967, he was contracted at the 3rd Eye Theatre on Broadway and 1st Street. This was to be a 4 week contract, but they held him over for 13 weeks. “I have seeded the area with flamenco guitarists and dancers ever since,” States Rene. Sabicas, a famous flamenco guitarist from Spain, who is now deceased once said of Rene “He is the leading figure in the development of Flamenco Guitar and Dance in the United States.”
Rene has a boyish shyness upon first meeting him, however, it is his strong voice and subtle accent that lead you on a journey of romance, then he lifts and plays his guitar. It is with his music that he caressing your inner soul, awakening the love and appreciation that you have for music.
It is this music that he also tells the story of his gypsy heritage. Being born into a flamenco family has shaped, influenced and created life long friendships. “My father, Jose Heredia was one of my greatest influences, as well as Sabicas, Carmen Amaya and Paco de Lucia,” says Rene.
When asked if there are any living or deceased artists that have struck that “awe” chord, Rene smiles and answers, “Carmen Amaya. She was the best dancer to ever come out of Spain. Sabicas was the “King of the Guitar” for 50 years, and now the “New King of Guitar” is Paco de Lucia.” Rene’s head tilts, he smiles again and continues, “ I worked with Carmen Amaya for many years and Sabicas was my friend and mentor. I knew him as a little boy and grew up with his music. Paco de Lucia is one of my best friends, we have known each other for 40 years. He is the best today, no exceptions.”
Rene Heredia isn’t so bad himself. He is, in my opinion the most humble performer’s I have ever met. His list of command performances is daunting, and this is only the short list; President Gerald Ford, President Jimmy Carter, Princess Noor of Jordan, Princess Grace Kelly and Prince Rainer of Monaco, along with Price Bander of Saudi Arabia.
His performances have also been televised with noted television artists as The Art Link Letter Show, Steve Allen, and The Ed Sullivan Show, as well as other artists Ann Southern, Peter Nero, Hal Linden, Eddie Fisher, George Gobble and Bill Cosby “have brought Rene to the forefront as one of the leading Flamenco Artists in the United States of America today. Rene is known as “The Godfather of Flamenco.”
A conversation with Rene Heredia is a magical journey of adventure, self-understanding and appreciation for the music and stories he brings to Denver. He recently played at the DL Parson Theatre, Broomfield Theatre, Lannie Clock Tower Cabaret and Swallow Hill Music Hall.
Upcoming shows include this Saturday, June 1st and the D Note Club, 7519 Grandview Avenue, Arvada, CO 80002, 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., $20.00 at the door, 303.463.6683. www.dnote.us and www.reneheredia.com. Having attended several of Rene’s shows at the D Note, you will want to arrive early, as this is a beautifully designed intimate setting.
Rene will also be performing at the Cherokee Ranch Castle, June 29th, 6113 Daniels Park Road, Sedalia, CO 80135, please call 303.688.4600 or 303.688.5555 for more information.
Rene will also be at The Mercury Café this summer, please refer to his web site for more information.
Rene has found it important to share his knowledge with others, and a difficult challenge has been “making a living from something you love. There is a saying about the definition of a musician, “Never give up your day job”, I have never had a day job. I have always lived off the guitar and the art of flamenco.” Rene then adds “The rewards of being in this industry has been recognition for your art and meeting new people. Passing on my knowledge to all my guitar and dance students. Spreading the art of flamenco music and dance, keeping it alive.”
Rene Heredia has contributed as “a performer, teacher, choreographer, educator, mentor, composer and recording artist. His performances, master classes and workshops for the last 40 years have won Rene the Governor’s and Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts for performance and education. Rene has seeded the Rocky Mountain Area with many flamenco guitar and dance students. Rene recently received the Carson Brierly Dance Library Award of “Living Legend of Dance in Colorado” and was nominated two times for the Life Time Achievement Award from the Colorado Dance Alliance. He has won the Grand Prix de Disc from France and just received two new awards from the Denver Musicians Association “The Distinguished Award Recipient for 40 years of Membership” and “Pioneering Work in the Music Industry”. Rene was also awarded the “Latin Music Hall of Fame” for his music in the Latin Community and he was also given the Keys to the City of Kansas City, Missouri the Sister City of Seville, Spain.”
In closing with Rene I asked what advise does he have for others heading into this industry and where does he draw his inspiration? “Have goals that you want to achieve. Discipline, practice, practice, practice. Surround yourself with good artists and learn from a good teacher,” Rene smiles “I find my inspiration from all my experiences and remembering all the great artists that I have known drives me to do more, make better music and dance.”
We are blessed in Colorado to have Rene Heredia as our local amazing musical neighbor so do not miss your opportunity to inhale his gypsy flamenco spirit at his upcoming events. D Note this Saturday, June 1st, Cherokee Ranch Castle, June 29th, and check Rene’s website for additional information.
Interested in learning more about Flamenco music and dance by taking lessons with the Master, contact Rene Heredia at www.reneheredia.com.
Please Note: Some Information and Quotes were gathered from Rene Heredia’s Bio.
Wendy L. Pitton R. is a culture writer for 303 Magazine and the owner of WENDO Productions. WENDO Productions is an artistic production and artist representative company. WENDOProductions.com