Candida Mandarino loves Flamenco

flamenco

flamenco (Photo credit: Wasting Moments)

Flamenco (Spanish pronunciation: [flaˈmeŋko]) is a genre of Spanish music, song, and dance from Andalusia, in southern Spain, that includes cante (singing), toque (guitar playing), baile (dance) and palmas (handclaps). First mentioned in literature in 1774, the genre grew out of Andalusian and Romani music and dance styles.

In recent years flamenco has become popular all over the world and is taught in many countries: in Japan there are more academies than there are in Spain. On November 16, 2010 UNESCO declared flamenco one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

There are many assertions as to the use of the name flamenco as a musical term (summarized below) but no solid evidence for any of them. The word was not recorded as a musical and dance term until the late 18th century. Others have drawn an image of the Flemish courtiers of Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire (Charles I of Spain) from the word, who were known for their florid and exaggerated displays of courtesy at the royal court at a time when the native aristocrats patronised Gitano players and performers, more ready to satirize the despised but powerful incomers than any others. “Flama” in Spanish means flame or fire, and “enco” or “endo”, is a suffix which means a quality-of, or having a-similarity-to, or pertaining-to.

Flamenco performance has evolved during the history of this musical genre. In the beginning (the 18th century at the latest), songs were sung without any guitar accompaniment; during in the 19th century, the guitar was used to accompany songs, and since the second half of the 19th century, the solo guitar is played in flamenco concerts. [9] From flamenco’s beginning in the 18th century most performers were professional. For most of the genuine life of flamenco, a folk art that has remarkably conserved an extraordinary level of conservatism within the caucus of european folk music, with its unmistakable rhythmic patterns and tones that mark its varied forms, or ‘palos’, flamenco has actually been the concern, like speech itself, of non-professionals in the countryside: goatherders, charcoal-burners, miners, and fishermen, for example.[dubious – discuss]

Further to this, it must be asserted that it is recognised by widely respected figures of its diffusion such as Pepe Arrebola, former President of the Peñas Flamencas de Andalusia, that it is the product of a certain competition between ´payos´or non-gypsies, and gypsies or ‘Roma’, each with their own distinctive style, just as it is widely recognised by musicology itself that the lack of field-work in flamencology can truly retrieve the level of what intensity the non-professional impact of flamenco was and no longer exists, in terms of a community-wide spread and profundity: nevertheless, the subject matter of the songs themselves should alert them that the authors of the lyrics were not much concerned with urban themes, and this in turn should remind them of the land itself being the ‘author’ of the music.[dubious – discuss] Originally they learned from other performers in the manner of an apprenticeship, not in conservatories or dance schools. This lack of formal training led to interesting harmonic findings, with unusual unresolved dissonances. Examples of this are the use of minor 9th tonic chords or the use of the open 1st string as a kind of pedal tone. Today most guitarists undergo rigorous professional training and often can read and play music in other styles; many dancers take courses in ballet and contemporary dance as well as flamenco.

Flamenco occurs in four settings in the main – in the juerga, in small-scale cabaret, in concert venues and in the theatre, though a ‘zambra’ or spontaneous, and, for the most part ‘Roma’ celebration, can occur outside any place a tourist or ‘expert on flamenco’ would be likely to happen on it (and also quite without reference to musicologists in advance).

Candida Mandarino