This is the 33rd. posting on our blog, and yet we have managed to get this far with barely a passing reference to Flamenco, which for non-Spanish people is as Spanish as you can get. In the English city in which I now live, there is a restaurant called ‘La Flamanca’, where they advertise ‘paella and tapas on Saturdays together with ‘Flamenco guitar and a popular dancer’! It’s this combination of music, dance and song (sometimes food as well) that makes flamenco so distinctive and, indeed, as the restaurant claims, popular. Once – and still – the possession of Spanish people, flamenco has become an international art and entertainment.
The essence of flamenco is that it tells a story, and one that is often passionate, earthy, violent, plaintive and usually about love. Flamenco schools came into being in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s and originated in the areas of Cadiz, Jerez de la Frontera and Triana, near Seville in the region of Andalucia. Its roots are presumed to be in Gypsy and Moorish culture.
Flamenco began to be heard in regional coffee houses and taverns and entered its golden age of popularity in the late 1800’s.
There is Flamenco ‘Baille’ (dance), ‘Cante’ (song) and ‘Toque’ (guitar). But the accompaniment is not only musical, there is also the vibrant sound of clapping hands and stamping feet. Flamenco is full of intrigue with beautiful costumes, gritty voices, provocative posturing, and intense sidelong glances that can convey more meaning than any of the words that may be sung. From the stages of great theatres to the smallest bar on the Costa Blanca, long may it survive.