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Local flamenco student Iminah Kani shares her gratitude

Today we’re asking you to make an important donation to the Flamenco de la Isla student scholarship. Every year, the scholarship supports a Vancouver Island student in the study of flamenco, including dance, guitar, and singing. Donate securely online to help a struggling student.

Flamenco wasn’t subtle when it entered your life. When you first heard a siguiryas, it struck you to the core. When you tried your first dance shoes, you revealed something of yourself no one had ever seen. In time, flamenco became a source of resilience—and now, you feel the mountain beneath you wherever you land. Those of you who study flamenco experience these words: discovery, spontaneity, struggle, community, truth. Truth in its hard shine. Today, you can ensure someone else has this experience too.

Meet Iminah Kani, a 24-year-old guitarist from Salt Spring Island. In 2019, she won a scholarship from the Flamenco de la Isla Society. If you donate today, a student with financial need, like Iminah, can get to know flamenco—and be transformed by it.

Iminah was ten when she had her first guitar lesson on a tiny, electric guitar. At fifteen, she got into folk and rock n’ roll, and played in a few bands. Three years ago, she bought a classical guitar. She liked the sound of the nylon strings.

A search for rhumba on Youtube led her to Paco de Lucia, Gypsy Kings, Vicente Amigo. “I had no idea,” says Iminah. “I didn’t really understand flamenco until taking classes.” In October 2018, Iminah began studying with Victoria’s acclaimed flamenco guitarist Gareth Owen.

“Gareth never made me feel like I wasn’t good enough,” says Iminah. “I never felt intimidated. You can express yourself and feel comfortable in messing up. He made me feel so supported during learning. If I didn’t have a teacher like Gareth, I might not have been inspired to continue.”

With a donation of $18.60 to the flamenco scholarship, you can buy a single class for a student in financial need.

Word soon spread. With less than a year studying flamenco, an outstanding new guitarist was on the scene—and volunteered at many Flamenco de la Isla events.

Iminah’s favourite palo is bulerias. “It was so different than anything else I’d heard. I didn’t really get it, but I was intrigued. Bulerias has that playful, joking feeling. You want to move your body, fully, right away,” she says. “If you’re listening for a while, and you relax into it, something clicks. It’s in your body, it’s instinctual, and it pulls you.”

“Even now, every time, there’s a discovery,” says Iminah. “Bulerias is immense. There is this continuous journey. Nothing’s played the same way twice.”

When Iminah began her study of flamenco, she found a close-knit family-like community. “We need one another to get the magic out,” she says. “I like how people come together and start making music, knocking on tables, singing, or doing palmas. Casual instinctual engagement in such a cathartic musical form.”

For guitarist and Alma de España teacher Gareth Owen, helping students like Iminah as they explore flamenco is deeply rewarding. “Iminah has remarkable musicality. I can present something new—often without words—and she naturally picks it up. She’s great at improvising and feeling out the moment. She also easily connects with others on stage and in the audience,” says Owen. “She has such a good attitude. I love teaching her.”

Aficionados like you can help a student like Iminah deepen their commitment.

“Flamenco’s a life-long journey, so emotionally charged, so powerful,” says Iminah. “This is how I feel. This is what it is. You’re truly heard. The expression, the darkness,” she says. “It’s like nothing else I’ve ever experienced. Flamenco is epic.”

Be a part of this discovery. You can give securely online right here today.

A donation of
$18.60… buys one classes
$37.20… buys two classes
$55.80… buys three classes

In July 2019, Iminah performed for a crowd of hundreds in Centennial Square at the Victoria Flamenco Festival. “That was intense. I was so nervous… The spontaneity of it all,” admits Iminah. “In practice, if I mess something up, I redo it. In performance, I had to flow with the moment. I’d never done that before.” She adds: “As I left the stage, suddenly the emcee says, Iminah Kani, can you come back?

On stage, Iminah was named a winner of the Flamenco de la Isla Society scholarship. “I got a little teary-eyed… I was totally surprised,” she says. “My heart’s in this and I’ve learned so much. To be supported by the whole flamenco community? Amazing.”

Before the scholarship, Iminah was working part-time and struggling to afford lessons. “Financially, the Flamenco de la Isla scholarship was a relief,” she says. “I’m so grateful. You saw how much I love doing this and you wanted to support me. It makes me more inspired to continue doing it.”

Will you help a student in need right now by helping them go to flamenco class?

For the 2019-2020 school year, because of this scholarship, Iminah continued studying flamenco guitar. Her favourite artists? Diego del Morao, Israel Fernandez, El Perla, and Afra Rubino. “I’m committed. I can’t not do it. Not continuing isn’t a choice for me,” she says. “It sticks with you for life.”

You can be the reason a new student deepens their relationship with flamenco. Because of this scholarship, our community has a talented new guitarist. Donate now and you will help expand our local flamenco family and make more flamenco happen in Victoria.

We know this is a challenging time for everyone. Give if you can… you will provide a student exactly the help they need to go to class.

In this year of increased need, will you help a struggling student? You can donate securely online. If you prefer to give by cheque, make it out to “Flamenco de la Isla Society” at 2568 Vancouver Street, Victoria, BC V8T 4A7.