GESCHIEDENIS
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Flamenco or the flamenco song is a relatively new art form. In fact, there is much doubt as to exactly when and how it exactly began. All current and received opinions on its origin and creation are hypothetical. When flamenco emerged there was no one yet present with a notebook at hand to document the process. There are several assumptions, some closer to the truth than others It is however likely that its origin lays in Andalucia, and mainly in the south of Andalucia, in the harbours in and around the city of Cadiz. Seville too, and mainly the district of Triana, played an important role. Flamenco has been known there since the end of the 18th century and the last important contribuitions to the art form were made there towards the end of the 19th century. These last important songs were created by the singer Don Antonio Chacón, in the styles of Malagueñas, Granaínas, Tarantas and Cartageneras.

Although the flamenco as an art form is relatively young, its roots are found / can be traced  to a remote past very old and distant. Perhaps they stretch back until to the time of the Tartesos, people that lived on the river banks of the Guadalquivir at least 1000 years B.C. That town already had a lively character. A quality that can still be appreciated in the Andalusians ( Andalusian people ) . The Romans already contracted artists of Gádes, the present Cadiz, to perform to the emperor of Rome. There was already something that one might qualify as typical Andalusian what you could call typical Andalusian. The people of Andalucia, highly influenced by Arab and  gipsy presence, were to provide the unique climate in which an art form like flamenco could emerge and flourish the Andalusian way of life, with its strong Arab and gipsy influences was conducive to the birth of a certain atmosphere, a way of life which would prove fertile ground for the birth of an art like flamenco.

In this atmosphere  flamenco was bound to happen sooner or later. I often say that flamenco song is the purest experession of the Andalusian sentiment. Like when the water in the pot begins to boil. The steam  that came from the pot was what made flamenco song possible was the base of the flamenco song. Or better still, which such pressure all around there was no other way for people to express themselves. To let of steam than through spontaneous song. Maybe this description is a bit poetic but I believe it to be a good metaphor.

I also believe that out flamenco started in a spontaneous way and was not  premeditated. From the moment of its spontaneous incipience on that moment the ‘new’ flamencos very intuitively developed rhythms and melodies that already existed in the folkoric music of Andalucia, rhythms and melodic structures that one will find will find in the romances, tonadas, fandangos etc. The fandangos already existed before flamenco ( insert came into the world )  but I believe that flamenco artist took these basic structures and somehow transformed them into flamenco. I also believe that the fandangos of Huelva will have sounded almost flamenco. One does not know if this transformation from Andalusian folk music to flamenco was something slow or gradual,  or even abrupt.. It is clear however  that in the case of the of soleares, a basic song, we do not know ) where it came from because it does not have a predecesor. Be as it may, the fact is that flamenco exists, and that is most important thing.

More information on the history of flamenco will be added to this website in the future

 

 

 

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PRESENT
 

It is evident that flamenco has undergone great changes over the last 30 years. In line with to the great changes in the musical world in general. In Europe the change began with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and in the United States with Bob Dylan. In Spain for as far as the flamenco goes, the change set in with the flamenco singers Enrique Morente and Camarón de la Isla.

The one guitarist who left a distinctive mark on the flamenco guitar was Paco de Lucía. He brought the music of the flamenco guitar to the stages of the entire world. This does not mean that he was the first to play abroad. Ramon Montoya had already given concerts and accompanying singers in Argentina, France, Belgium and England. Sabicas lived and worked in the United States and famous dancers like Carmen Amaya, the great dancer Antonio and Vicente Escudero amongst others toured several countries. Flamenco singers also like Pepe Marchena, Juanito Valderrama, Pepe el de la Matrona had done the same.

But what Paco de Lucía achieved with his guitar does was unprecedented. His famous rumba was a radical change to the flamenco rumba. The way I see it is the transformation of  flamenco by Paco de Lucía and also by Camarón de la Isla and Enrique Morente in the flamenco song, was a change for the worse.  I do not see quality in everything what these great artists have done. For better or for worse, the flamenco was to change, just like all other things in the world.

I do believe that artists should re-evaluate the great artists the time previous to this era of dramatic change. In the words of Enrique Morente once said: Quotation marks needed to take a step ahead one has to take a step backwards sometimes.

 

 

 

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INFORMATION
 

Throughout this Website you will find information about on various flamenco activities.

If you are interested in seeing other interesting things live,  I would recommend the following : Is probably the best month for travelling through Spain: It is not as not as steep as in the high season and there is much less tourism. May is the month of Maria in Spain and especially in Andalucia this is celebrated a variety of ways, many of which have to do with flamenco / are closely related to the world of flamenco.

In many towns ‘romerías’ are organized. The purest forms can be found in the province of Huelva. You can find information on dates, times and locations in all local newspapers. In these romerías all the things normally perceived to be typical Spanish :  There are horse-drawn carriages and people in local dress singing and playing the guitar. Usually they stop somewhere in an open field to unfold the their little trestle tables and chairs for a meal folllowed by plenty of song and dance. The spectator, if  he approaches with due respect, will be welcomed into the group and be invited join  in and share the meal and the celebrations.

To be continued...

In Madrid you can find one of the most famous guitar builders of Spain, the Guitarerría of Santos Bayón. The guitars of Santos Hernandez were world famous in his time and continueto be so till the present day. Although the original builder Santos has died many years ago his family have followed in his footsteps, building both classical and flamenco guitars in the  tradition ofthe great Santos is still continuing the tradtion. They still use the old very workshop in which Santos Hernández once built his legendary instruments.

Every Tuesday evening they organize a gathering of guitarists.

If you are interested in flamenco guitar, it is a very nice place to visit. You will receive a very warm welcome. The address is: Guitarerría de Santos Bayón, calle Aduana 23, teléfono, 91 522 95 21, 28013 Madrid (see also photo's Humberto 2007).

They are closed on Saturdays and Sundays.You can find the shopright in the city centre of Madrid, close to the Puerta de Sol.

 

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